Chrissie Young was the first indigenous student this year to graduate from USQ Fraser Coast with a Bachelor of Human Services (Counselling).
Chrissie Young was the first indigenous student this year to graduate from USQ Fraser Coast with a Bachelor of Human Services (Counselling).

Mum wins scholarship for Masters

CHRISSIE Young knows how life can change in just a few years.

If someone had told her five years ago that she would receive a letter from the Deputy Prime Minister she would never have believed it.

Nor would the Hervey Bay woman have believed that she would receive a scholarship worth more than $36,000 to study a Masters degree at the University of Southern Queensland next year.

The 39-year-old mother of two said she was absolutely over the moon after receiving the good news last week from Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Julia Gillard.

“Five years ago I was struggling to make ends meet as an undergraduate student,” Chrissie said. “Now I have a job and am able to do post-graduate study. Things are so different.”

The scholarship enables Chrissie to take 12 months leave from full-time work at USQ Fraser Coast so she can study a Master of Professional Studies degree.

She was one of just five recipients of the scholarships, which are presented each year to indigenous staff working in the higher education sector. Ms Gillard congratulated Chrissie on her success.

“By supporting successful indigenous staff, particularly those who have actively encouraged indigenous students to participate and complete their courses in higher education, the Indigenous Staff Scholarships contribute to improved educational outcomes for indigenous Australians in the higher education sector,” Ms Gillard said.

Chrissie said she was awarded the scholarship because of her role as an Indigenous Student Support Officer at USQ Fraser Coast.

“The research I am doing for my Masters is based on the recruitment and retention of indigenous students in higher education,” Chrissie said. “But I’m not going anywhere.

“I will continue to work one day a week in my current role because it ties into my research and I’m also passionate about encouraging indigenous kids to further their education.

“I know it can be a struggle because I’ve been there myself. But it’s important for them to go on to higher education when they leave school and not wait like I did. I was in my mid-30s when I went to uni and I wished I had done it when I was younger.

“I must say though that I could not have done this without the support of my husband, Darren, my children or USQ Fraser Coast.”

Chrissie was the first indigenous student to graduate with a Bachelor of Human Services (Counselling) degree from USQ Fraser Coast this year.



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