A FORMER student of St Columban’s College, Caboolture, has been awarded a $60,000 scholarship set up by the Federal Government to increase the number of professional indigenous health practitioners.
The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship was established in recognition of Dr Arnold “Puggy” Hunter who played a significant role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
The competitive scholarship was awarded to aspiring indigenous health professionals, like 2013 St Columban’s senior student Tanayha Turner.
Proud of her indigenous heritage, Tanayha was also selected to represent Queensland at Canberra’s Parliament House in 2013 following the Queensland Constitutional Convention for Indigenous students.
She was also involved in a program led by her former high school visiting indigenous communities on Melville Island and Bathurst Island, near the Northern Territory.
Tanayha is ready to represent indigenous Australians in the health industry as she begins her course in Paramedicine and Nursing at the Queensland University of Technology in March.
She said the scholarship showed great “indigenous encouragement” from the Government, and she encouraged more students to apply.
“A lot of people don’t apply, and money goes to waste,” Tanayha said.
She said the scholarship would help to remove stereotypes of indigenous people as unemployed or not committed to tertiary studies.
Tanayha is the first person from her father’s indigenous family to go to university.
St Columban’s College senior learning and pathways co-ordinator Kate Ruddy informed Tanayha about the scholarship last year.
She said Tanayha should be proud of her achievements, and the scholarship was a reward of her hard work at school.
“She is a hardworking and conscientious student, who has always shown a commitment to learning,” Ms Ruddy said.
“She is an outstanding role model for other students and she should be very proud of her achievements.”
Ms Ruddy said Tanayha had a “real heart for working with others” and would excel in a health career.