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From dump truck driver to student ambassador, studies delivering big results for driven Jasmin

Published:21 September 2022

CQU student Jasmin Minnecon wears black, smiles at camera

CQU Digital Media student Jasmin Minnecon.

She’s determined to design a big-impact career, and CQUniversity Digital Media student Jasmin Minnecon is growing her opportunities to drive change.

The proud Gooreng Gooreng woman is studying at CQU Bundaberg, after completing Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) in 2021.

The free CQU enabling program ensures students are ready for university, and successful completion provides direct entry into a CQU degree.

Prior to studying, Jasmin had spent three years operating dump trucks in the mining industry, but had been looking for a way to use her design talent.

“I’ve always had a passion for graphic design, and I want to start an online service and work with small and Indigenous businesses,” she said.

While Jasmin was prepared for hard work to make it happen, she wasn’t expecting the support available to help.

“I knew you had to be an independent learner at uni, so I went in determined to figure it all out on my own,” she said.

“But then I heard from Bundaberg’s Indigenous Engagement Officer Savana Little, who explained what support was available, and it was like, oh my gosh, there’s people here I can talk to!”

Jasmin began accessing CQU’s Academic Learning Centre and tutor program for referencing and research support, and successfully applied for a scholarship to fund a laptop.

She also joined the Dare to be Deadly (D2BD) Student Journey, CQU’s culturally safe program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, connecting online and on campus to provide supportive services and tools.

Jasmin is now a Student Ambassador, and this month, she’s also taking on CQU’s free iActivate Bundaberg initiative, a 13-week course taking local social entrepreneurs from idea to project design and impact.

“I was so excited to be accepted into iActivate, it’s going to make a big difference to starting my business and what I can achieve,” she said.

CQU is Jasmin’s first experience of university, and she says adjusting has been a challenge.

“There were a few times when I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this’, and wanted to throw in the towel – but just having the confident support from Savana and the Indigenous Engagement team, and from all the lecturers and tutors, it makes a huge difference.

“They really get around you and push you forward.”

Earlier this year, Jasmin even exhibited her photographic work, as part of her studies.

“That project was really interesting – I was nervous at first, but it’s great to get a professional photographer’s advice about creating emotions in an image, and I’m discovering myself in the art too,” she said.

Jasmin said her passion for storytelling was linked to her Indigenous culture and family experiences.

“We spend a lot of time yarning up, telling stories – over the years moving around I’ve had a bit of disconnection from my culture, but being here and connecting to mob through things like NAIDOC Week at CQU, it’s really brought me back.”

Jasmin is especially enjoying the opportunity to inspire young people to think about their careers.

“As a Student Ambassador, it’s so good getting out there seeing the next generation wanting to invest in their future, and seeing how engaged they are and how much they want to create their own path!” she said.

CQUniversity has countless pathways for students, including Start Uni Now for high school students to get a head start on university units, STEPS, and vocational education and training as well as degrees.

To explore support available, visit cqu.edu.au/indigenous.