Young leaders score in NAIDOC awards

USQ Fraser Coast students Tor-quaisia Robe-Broome and Kassandra Waia have been honoured in the 2015 Fraser Coast NAIDOC Week Awards.

Ms Robe-Broome, who completed the Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program (IHEPP) in Semester 1, 2015, received the Young Leader Award which recognised a young person who has through employment, education or training been active in taking the lead on Indigenous Australian issues.

Ms Waia, a USQ nursing student, won the Deadly Choices Award which recognised a person who had taken the time to promote health and well-being throughout the Indigenous Australian community via their own example, education or awareness.


Tor-quaisia Robe-Broome shows her NAIDOC Week Young Leader Award .

USQ Vice Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas congratulated the young women on their successes.

“NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians such as Tor-quaisia and Kassandra make to our Country and our society,” Professor Thomas said.

Ms Robe-Broome, 18, said winning the Young Leader Award was “very exciting”.

“It feels good to be recognised – it means a lot,” she said.

“I didn’t realise how much I wanted to do stuff like this for the community. Winning this award has made me more determined to keep doing it.”

 Fraser Coast NAIDOC Committee Chairperson Leon Nehow said Ms Robe-Broome was a positive and inspirational role model to young people.

“This year Tor-quaisia successfully completed a Traineeship and Certificate lll in Community Services at the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

“Since completing this certificate, Tor-quaisia enrolled in further studies at USQ and has also gained employment.

“She has also been nominated in two categories as finalist for the 2015 Queensland Training Awards, which is the highest State level of recognition of excellence for trainees.

“Tor-quaisia is an inspiration as she has undertaken these achievements at a young age, while also being a young mother.

“She maintains a steadfast belief that she is doing all she can to provide the best opportunities in life for her young family.

Mr Leon Nehow said Ms Waia also deserved to be recognised as she had excelled with distinction by studying nursing and promoting her findings to expand Indigenous people’s health and well-being.

“Kassandra is a fantastic role model and also teaches Indigenous young people about culture.

“She presents a positive role model by sharing her knowledge, sets a high example by mentoring and is a quiet achiever.

“Kassandra, we commend your hard work and dedication.”

During the award ceremony, USQ Executive Manager Brett Langabeer presented Acting Police Sergeant Vanessa Rudloff with the Acknowledgement Award in recognition of her dedication to education within the community.

Mr Nehow said Acting Sergeant Rudloff had entered into the local Indigenous Australian community without prejudice and educated the people.

“She also attends meetings regularly and her efforts are commended.”



Photo:  USQ Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program (IHEPP) student Tor-quaisia Robe-Broome proudly shows her 2015 NAIDOC Week Young Leader Award.

Deadly day at USQ Fraser Coast

“I HAVE no suggestions for improvements because it was already too deadly! Keep doing a deadly job!”

That was just one of the many positive comments gathered from attendees after Indigenous Connections at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast yesterday.

Deadly is an Aboriginal slang word meaning excellent, very good or cool.

About 40 students from five Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Bundaberg high schools attended the annual event, which was designed to excite and inspire students about their education and career aspirations.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said yesterday’s Indigenous Connections event in Hervey Bay was very engaging with a good balance of cultural and educational activities.

“The feedback speaks for itself,” Mr Langabeer said.


Zac Hubbert (left) and Bradley Smith from Maryborough’s Aldridge High School at Indigenous Connections.

“It was all positive and teachers talked about the students seeing the value of coming onto campus and being involved with the university.

“They relished the opportunity to talk with Aboriginal Elders and students to get first-hand insights into what they need to do, the decisions they will need to make, and how they can be supported to achieve their career goals.

Mr Langabeer said USQ put on a good display for the schools, showcasing the University’s strong cultural orientation and Indigenous respect.

“There is a strong mutual respect between USQ and the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.


Enjoying the Deadly Wise quiz are Urangan State High School students (l-r) Tayla Iszlaub, Sam Raveneau and Taliah Geiger, supported by USQ Student Ambassador Mitchell Brunke.

“It was just fantastic. I watched the workshop from beginning to end and some students who were shy at the start were really involved by the end.”

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said the annual Indigenous Connections event was a great opportunity for Years 8 to 12 students to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activities and academic sessions.

“There were plenty of chances to learn more about tertiary study with a mixed mode of academic and career development sessions available.”





Celebrating their win in the Deadly Wise quiz are Aldridge State High Schools students (l-r) Anita Waterton, Emma Paterson, Teleah Rainbow and Eybonnie Maker with USQ Professor Tracey Bunda (centre).


Featured photo: Aldridge State High School students Bethany Blackman (left) and Paige Hatherell learn about sound and hearing with USQ’s Ruth Newby and Dr Michelle Adamson at Indigenous Connections in Hervey Bay.

Proud moment for 52-year-old graduate

IT WAS a proud moment for Annette Seymour of Maryborough when she graduated from the Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program (IHEPP) at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast in February 2015

“I’m very excited about graduating and am looking forward to the future,” she said after receiving her certificate from USQ’s Head of College for Indigenous Studies Professor Tracey Bunda.

Ms Seymour, 52, said doing the six-month IHEPP program had opened up endless possibilities for her future, starting with her university studies in archaeology that gets underway in early 2015.

“It will be so much different to the day-to-day work I was doing previously.”

Professor Bunda said the IHEPP graduation ceremony was the first of its kind at USQ Fraser Coast.

“Today is a day of celebration for the graduation of Fraser Coast IHEPP students. It’s a momentous occasion as it’s the first time such a ceremony has been held at USQ Fraser Coast,” Professor Bunda said.

“It is important to be able to bring family and friends together with the graduates and members of the community.

“For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the value of education might not necessarily be understood while at high school.

“To return to learning is about having confidence and feeling secure about coming into the university to get started.

“That’s a big ask for people who have been disengaged from education systems. The IHEPP program is an opportunity to build educational success.”

IHEPP Co-ordinator Dr Michael Gardiner said the program’s completion rate had increased significantly since it underwent a major restructure last year.

“In 2013 the completion rates for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were between 10 and 15%. Since the restructure in 2014, the completion rates are in excess of 60%.

“For USQ Fraser Coast, that has meant that for the first time it has been worthwhile to have an event such as this because we now have sufficient numbers graduating.

“To have six from a single cohort in the second half of 2014 graduate is exciting.

“It can only get better as word gets out in the community and people see more of the mob graduating and going on to undergraduate studies.”

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Caption: USQ’s Head of College for Indigenous Studies Professor Tracey Bunda (right) congratulates Annette Seymour on graduating from the Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program (IHEPP).