Griffith law student, Victoria Blundell, has been awarded a $30,000 QIC Indigenous Tertiary Scholarship in her first year at university.
The scholarship could not have come at a better time for Victoria, 18, who is embarking on her degree in a year when students are studying off campus and facing a shrinking job market during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think I screamed when I found out. I was just ecstatic. I couldn’t believe my ears. It’s such an incredible opportunity,” Victoria said.
“The scholarship will drastically change my life as a new university student, positively affecting my mental health, my ability to work harder and in the long run, my career.”
Studying from her studio apartment in Brisbane, Victoria, has taken on five subjects in her first trimester. She will also buy a new laptop allowing her to embrace online learning and confidently cover her living expenses.
A proud Gunditjmara woman, Victoria plans to use her degree to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system and hopes to one day move into human rights and politics.
“I think there needs to be a holistic understanding of Aboriginal culture in our education system and would like to see more cultural awareness and learning introduced in Australian schools,” she said.
Victoria’s interest in law began when she started competing in high school debate competitions where she discovered her passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.
Her success led her to be one of three Australian high school students selected to travel to some of England’s most prestigious universities.
“It was a good opportunity to learn how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history in Australia has been told. I was surprised to learn many people did not know much about the history,” she said.
The QIC scholarship supports undergraduate students at university and in their careers. It also allocates recipients with a mentor for the duration of their degree and beyond.
“It is an amazing opportunity to have access to a mentor who is also a lawyer. I’m set now and can fully focus on university and my career,” she said.
“The QIC scholarship is not only incredibly generous but it will have a positive impact on my studies and future, and what I plan to do to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The ripple effect is huge.”