Two University of Wollongong students are the inaugural recipients of an indigenous health scholarship.
The $20,000 MaryAnn Bin-Sallik Cancer Council NSW Indigenous Health scholarship has been awarded to final year Bachelor of Nursing student Marcelle Skimmings, and final year Bachelor of Medical and Health Science (Honours) student Jacob Stephenson.
Ms Skimmings, 50, a Torres Strait Islander woman living in Wollongong, is a mature age student who has been raising three Aboriginal foster boys while working part-time and completing her degree full-time.
Ms Skimmings said her career goals included remote nursing, and to help in closing the gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
“My number one goal is to get up and do a few months every so often at Thursday Island Hospital,” she said.
“I also want to contribute and advocate for indigenous people, and to make a contribution to closing the gap.”
Mr Stephenson is completing the final year of his degree. He has a particular interest in oncology research and men’s health.
Professor Bin-Sallik attended UOW’s Innovation Campus for the presentation on Thursday.
The initiative is part of a new partnership between UOW’s Woolyungah Indigenous Centre and Cancer Council NSW to support Aboriginal students as they enter into medical professions, in a bid to build the Aboriginal health workforce.
The naming of the scholarship recognises Professor Bin-Sallik’s significant achievements in health and academia.