Ashleigh' who is a sole full-time mother of two young children from Cairns' enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work after her partner took his own life on ANZAC Day in 2019.
"I decided I wanted to become a social worker at 30 after my former partner' an Afghan Veteran suffering from complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)' became a statistic and took his own life on ANZAC Day in 2019'" she said.
"The rate of our returned service men and women returning from conflict losing their battle at home is at a heart-breaking high.
"On completing CQU's Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) program in 2021' I registered for my degree with a solid vision to work to support returned veterans in readjusting back into civilian life' giving them a sense of purpose again'" she said.
"I am now in the second term of my first year. I have also taken an interest in the social injustices of our First Nations People and the inequality within our disability community."
She said receiving the CQUniCares BHP Indigenous Scholarship was a significant boost.
"As a solo parent of two children and not having paid employment' being selected for this scholarship takes a massive weight of financial stress and guilt off me'" she said.
"I can afford textbooks and office supplies' such as a new printer' ongoing ink supplies' and a new laptop' and assurance that I could pay my internet bill monthly.
"In addition' being selected for this outstanding scholarship has given me much more confidence and belief that I am worthy and capable of this career I have chosen to study. Along with providing peace of mind while I am working towards a better life for my children' I am not taking away from them.
"I am beyond grateful and thank CQU and BHP from the bottom of my heart."
If you or someone you know needs to speak to someone' consider the following National Support Services:
Lifeline 24 Hour Crisis Line: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732
Women's Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
Mensline Australia: 1300 789 978
Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
Headspace: 1800 650 890
SANE Australia: 1800 187 263
The CQUniCares Scholarship program changes lives and CQU is grateful to partner with organisations like BHP who share the University's passion for making a difference in the lives of our students' their families and our communities.
Ashleigh was one of four students to be awarded a CQUniCares BHP Indigenous Scholarship in Term 2' 2022' joined by fellow scholars Zhanae Dodd' Crue Hoskins and Stephanie Pasco. Tayla Greenalsh was also awarded a CQUniCares BHP Community Scholarship.