Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student Bianca Crisp hopes her Aurora Study Symposium scholarship will help her gain entry to one of the world’s elite universities after she graduates from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Health Science.

“I aim to become an expert in my field and to give back to Australia’s Aboriginal Peoples by being a leader and role model to others,” Bianca said.

This opportunity could open doors to the likes of The University of Oxford.

“My passion for making a difference in the world, intrigue for learning and research, as well as aspirations to contribute to the scientific community has seen me develop the goal of pursuing a postgraduate degree before I begin studying medicine.

“The Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour is such an incredible opportunity, and I am so grateful to have been awarded this scholarship.”

Bianca says her family became disconnected from their Indigenous roots as a result of the Stolen Generation, and through her journey of reconnecting to her descendants and culture, she decided she wanted to help improve health disparity rates experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Experiencing first-hand the intergenerational effects of Australia’s past highlighted to me the need to make a difference, especially in the health field.”

“This has seen me develop the aspiration to assist Australia’s Indigenous community by contributing towards improving current health inequalities as a medical practitioner, and I aspire to work as a physician within remote Aboriginal communities in the future,” Bianca said.

Bianca hopes to combat these inequities by completing further research and believes an Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour (AISIST) may provide her with a platform to study internationally.

Nine years ago, there had never been and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander who had studied at Oxford or Cambridge.

Today, 44 have been accepted to these universities, and AISIST strengthens aspirations and demonstrates possibilities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

AISIST is usually a five-week academic tour of leading universities in the US and the UK – including Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, New York University, Cambridge and Oxford — but will this year be held as an online symposium due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Bianca not only hopes to use the symposium to set herself up as a future Rhodes, Charlie Perkins or Roberta Sykes Scholar, but hopes to make connections with academics and students alike.

“I feel this experience will allow me to investigate the options of future study abroad, as well as create valuable connections with academics, professors and students inspiring me to ‘dream big’,” Bianca said.

“I also feel it will allow me to connect with like-minded Indigenous students aspiring to achieve greatness, make a positive impact and follow their passions through postgraduate studies.”

Gemma Pol.

Meanwhile, a second Griffith recipient, Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Public Relations and Communication student Gemma Pol, secured full-time employment following her anticipated graduation this year as a Communication Coordinator for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation.

The start of her new role coincides with the symposium, which unfortunately means she will be unable to be there.

“When I told them I could no longer attend, I was told I am already part of the Aurora family and I will be maintaining communication with them,” Gemma said.

“I look forward to hearing all about the 2020 symposium from mob.”