Griffith University criminology graduate Krystal Lockwood will be awarded a prestigious 2012 Charlie Perkins Scholarship in Canberra today(May 30).

Krystal is one of just three Australians awarded the scholarship to be presented by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research Senator Chris Evans.

The scholarships enable outstanding Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander graduates to study at Oxford or Cambridge universities.

Krystal said she wanted to contribute to finding social justice for her people.

“The Charlie Perkins Scholarship is a privilege and hopefully will help me to achieve my goal to reduce Indigenous overrepresentation in the criminal justice system,” she said.

“Indigenous people’s involvement reverberates throughout the whole system, from disproportionate amounts of victimisation rates through to unacceptably high rates of imprisonment.

“My aim is to develop the skills necessary to contribute to evidence-based policy development while studying in the UK.”

A descendant of the Gumbangerri and Dhungetti people, Krystal grew up in the rural town of Armidale, NSW.

With a keen interest in social justice issues, the National Indigenous Cadetship Program recipient first studied law but soon realised her passion lay in criminology.

As part of her cadetship, Krystal studied full-time, while working part-time at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

“I am drawn to criminology for a number of reasons,” she said.

“I am intrigued by the multi-faceted approach to addressing deviant behaviour.

“Throughout my studies, I have come to appreciate the need for evidence-based research in the implementation of criminal justice programs that address Indigenous involvement in the system.

“The GUMURRII Centre, of course, played a key role in my applying for the degree and helping me with my studies.”

Krystal will complete a MSc in Evidence-based Social Intervention before going on to do a PhD at Oxford University.