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Indigenous students supported in quest for careers in health

David Prestipino -

Indigenous university students Kanisha Wills and Shenea Tipungwuti have been announced as the 2024 Dr Evelyn Scott Scholarship recipients.

Ms Wills and Ms Tipungwuti will receive $15,000 each to help support their university studies and ambition to establish careers that will improve health outcomes in First Nations communities.

The Bupa Foundation scholarships were first granted in 2018 to support future First Nations health professionals and continue the legacy of Dr Scott, a proud Indigenous leader and former resident of Bupa's Mt Sheridan aged care home, who spent her life fighting for the rights of all people.

Ms Wills, a psychological sciences student at the University of Adelaide, was recognised for her commitment and passion to address prejudice and unjust stereotypes about First Nations people in the community.

"I want to support young ones to be healthy, get a good education, find their passions, discover the joy in life, connect to culture and learn safe and healthy coping mechanisms for the hard times," she said.

"I hope this scholarship helps me gain as much knowledge as possible, so that I can make real change and we can be strong, proud and deadly."

Ms Tipungwuti, a Bachelor of Science student at the University of Melbourne, wants to undertake a PHD in medicine after completing her initial degree to research Indigenous genetics and immunology.

"It was only the influence of other First Nations peoples around me who went through university that pushed me to where I am today," she said.

"I want to be able to do the same; I want to inspire others and influence them in a positive way."

Roger Sharp, chief sustainability and corporate affairs officer for Bupa APAC, congratulated Ms Wills and Ms Tipungwuti for their passion, energy and talent, and said the scholarship was integral to the insurance company's RAP, which included goals to advance the careers of Indigenous health professionals.

"Our vision for reconciliation is an Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enjoy equity and equality and are living longer, healthier, happier lives," he said.

"We hope that through these scholarships, Kanisha, Shenea can develop distinguished careers and make meaningful impacts in their local communities and around Australia."

In addition to Ms Wills and Ms Tipungwuti, two additional students each received $10,000, while another two received $5000, in recognition of the quartet's high-calibre applications and commitment to improving health outcomes for First Nations people:

- Rebecca Haynes, Masters in Speech Pathology at Flinders University ($10,000)

- Jess Jeffery, Bachelor of Medicine at the University of Western Sydney ($10,000)

- Tahnee Towers, Bachelor of Biomedicine at Victoria University ($5000)

- Lilliana Abel, Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine at Australian Catholic University ($5000)

Bupa has given more than $220,000 in scholarships and prizes since 2018 to Indigenous students participating in the CareerTrackers internship program.

More information on the Dr Evelyn Scott scholarships is available online.

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