Guy Cameron

PhD, Bbiomedsci(hons), Bmedsci

Indigenous Student Engagement Committee: Reflecting on our progress and website launch

May 16, 2024

As I reflect on the significant strides we have made through the Indigenous Student Engagement Committee at the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, I feel a profound sense of pride and accomplishment. As a co-chair of this committee, alongside the esteemed Dr. Lizzie Manning, my journey has been both enriching and enlightening.

Our committee was established with a clear mission: to make our programs more inclusive and welcoming for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. We aimed to support these students not just academically but also in navigating their future careers. This mission resonates deeply with me, not only as an academic but as a Wailwan man who has navigated the complex pathways of higher education.
The past year has been pivotal. We've overseen a range of activities, from managing Indigenous Student Research Fellowships to actively engaging students through various community and academic events. One of our key achievements has been the progression of the indigenisation of our curriculum. This endeavour ensures that our courses reflect a deep respect for and understanding of Indigenous knowledge, bridging the gap between traditional wisdom and academic learning.

Our committee has also been instrumental in directly supporting students. Whether it was through awarding research fellowships or providing mentorship, we have seen tangible improvements in the engagement and success of our Indigenous students. For example, one of our committee highlights was organising a seminar series that connected students with Indigenous leaders in science and medicine, fostering inspiration and real-world connections.

The feedback from students has been incredibly positive. Many have expressed how these initiatives have not only enhanced their academic experiences but have also instilled a greater sense of belonging and identity within the university community. It is this feedback that drives our committee's ongoing efforts and reinforces the importance of our work.

Looking ahead, we are committed to building on this momentum. Our plan includes expanding our fellowship opportunities, further enhancing the curriculum, and
increasing our outreach to ensure that more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can benefit from our programs. We also aim to deepen our community connections, which are vital in understanding and addressing the unique challenges and needs of our students.

Our work is far from done, but the progress we've made so far gives us a solid foundation to build upon. It's a privilege to co-chair a committee that not only talks about change but actively participates in making it happen. The engagement and achievements of our students are the true measures of our success, and their voices will continue to guide our efforts.

As we move forward, I am excited about the future of the Indigenous Student Engagement Committee. With the support of our university, colleagues, and the communities we serve, I am confident that we can continue to make a significant impact on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The journey towards a more inclusive and equitable educational environment is ongoing, and I am committed to leading this change, ensuring that our students not only succeed in their studies but thrive in their careers and beyond.


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