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Indigenous graduate off to Canberra after inspiring dad to become a teacher

Published:15 May 2019

TOP: Emma Dunrobin celebrates her graduation. BELOW: L-R Avril Van Zyl and Brian French (representing Glencore), uncle Kelvin Dunrobin, Emma Dunrobin, Emma's mum Sophia and her dad Chris.

It’s been a case of one Indigenous scholarship benefitting two members of the same family, both descendants of the Wangan and Jagalingou People, with ties to the Clermont area of Queensland.

Recent CQUniversity Business graduate Emma Dunrobin prospered so well thanks to her Wangan and Jagalingou Clermont Aboriginal Community Development Fund (ACDF) Scholarship, that her father Chris has taken up the same scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) study and career pathway.

Established in 2016 (through the ACDF) by Clermont Coal Operations Pty Ltd, part of Glencore, the generous scholarships are valued at $12 500 each year for the duration of the students’ programs. Emma is the first scholar to graduate, with several other scholars expected to follow in her footsteps.

Fresh from her CQUniversity Mackay graduation ceremony, Emma has departed to Canberra to take up a graduate business analyst position with management consulting firm Accenture.

“I chose to major in Management and Human Resource Management as these directly relate to my passion for working with people and I particularly liked that both majors are full of variety and are constantly looking to improve people and business," she says.

“While my Canberra role is yet to be decided, I expect to be contracted into projects involving government and health services.”

Emma says she is proud of how far her dad has progressed since he completed a CQUniversity Tertiary Entry Program on his way into the Education degree program.

She has also expressed gratitude for the scholarship program alongside other support she received during her study with CQUniversity.

“I don’t think I’d be where I am without the scholarship which gave me peace of mind to concentrate on my studies,” Emma says.

“I also had a great experience in 2017 through a Human Resources (HR) internship at the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation in Brisbane.

“My internship was a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on workplace experience relevant to my studies.

Emma also credits her successes to being encouraged to challenge her self-belief, break through mental barriers and exceed her expectations.

“My CQUni lecturers (in the School of Business and Law) have been amazing and full of encouragement; always pushing me to take on new challenges,” she said.

"As students we were constantly encouraged to ‘get involved’ in the many opportunities that CQUni Mackay had to offer to build confidence and acquire transferable career skills, many of which were initiatives of the School of Business and Law. There was a real focus on ‘can do’ approaches to help us realise a future with endless possibilities and to transform our futures.

“Our learning was about so much more than just the classroom; the extra activities organised by the SBL lecturers, including industry networking, and professional development events, helped us realise our potential and that we should seize opportunities to become business professionals, whether regional, or further afield."

CQUni Mackay Lecturer Maree Franettovich said Emma’s positive experience was a reflection of CQUni’s focus on encouraging students to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities available to them at the University, including scholarships, work experience and business networking.