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Newly established scholarship to help Malcolm improve students’ literacy outcomes

Published:26 July 2019

Geraldton Universities Centre (GUC) Chair Steve Douglas this week presented CQUniversity Bachelor of Education (Primary) student Malcolm Maloney with a CQUniCares Kate Mullin Indigenous Scholarship.

Malcolm Maloney’s dream to help improve the literacy outcomes for all students is becoming a reality, thanks to the help of the newly established CQUniCares Kate Mullin Indigenous Scholarship.

At an official ceremony held this week at the Geraldton Universities Centre (GUC), Western Australia, Malcolm spoke of the life events that led him to study a Bachelor of Education (Primary) with CQUniversity and expressed his gratitude for being awarded such a scholarship.

“When I learned that my scholarship application had been successful, I sat in shock and disbelief. I was absolutely thrilled, but I could not believe it. I am so excited and honoured to be the selected person to receive this scholarship,” Mr Maloney said.

“Being a mature-aged student, I came to university with my life already well-established – also known as a lot of debt. I have a mortgage, bills, loans, and now the added pressure of study costs. If it wasn’t for this scholarship, I don’t know whether I’d be able to continue with my studies or not.

“The scholarship will assist me to cover the cost of living expenses while I’m on professional practice, as part of my course, and some of my other University costs. I am now able to continue my studies with my head held high.”

A proud Quandamooka person of the Nunukal clan from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, QLD), Malcolm works as an Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer (AIEO) for Champion Bay Senior High School. As part of his role, Malcolm assists with the low literacy classes, which include a large proportion of Aboriginal students.

“Seeing these students come into high school with low literacy skills has made me want to focus on improving literacy outcome for all students, especially Aboriginal students. It is very difficult for students to catch up on literacy in high school - I speak from experience - so I want this to be my main focus when I become a teacher,” Mr Maloney said.

“Throughout my early childhood, I was always engaged in school work and did well. However, when I began high school, I become disengaged and left during year ten. I began working full-time at a seafood factory and believed that it was all I could amount to.

“It wasn’t until I met my partner and moved to Geraldton, Western Australia, that I realised my full potential. I began volunteering with Beachlands Primary School, where my love for education started, and contract work shortly followed.

“Although I wanted to undertake the Bachelor of Education (Primary) with CQUniversity, I wasn’t able to straight away given that I was a mature-aged student who did not complete year 10. Luckily for me, CQUniversity offers a STEPS program, through GUC, which provided me with a pathway.”

Throughout the trials and tribulations of becoming a teacher, Malcolm realised the importance of utilising the support services around him. Now, he encourages his fellow students to do the same.

“Don’t give up on your studies. If times get tough, speak to someone. Whether it be someone in your family, friends circle or even CQUniversity, letting someone know can make a difference,” Mr Maloney said.

“Also, scholarships are there to help. Do not think that you are unable to get one or not worthy. Everyone deserves a chance and the least you can do is apply.

“Without the support of the Kate Mullin Association, I have no idea what I would be doing with regards to my University studies. The association is contributing to my University success and my future success as a fully qualified teacher, and for that, I am extremely thankful.”

Chairman of the Kate Mullin Association, Dr Ken Mullin said Malcolm was an outstanding candidate.

"His commitment to improving literacy outcomes for Aboriginal students is excellent and perfectly in line with the objectives of the Association. We wish him every success with his studies and future career," he said.

Dr Mullin said that his late wife Kate Mullin had been a passionate and dedicated worker in the Aboriginal literacy field, and the scholarships were a tribute to her memory.