Marni Mason never believed she would be able to share the graduation stage alongside her son Tyrone Mason-Jones' but thanks to the financial support received through CQUniversity scholarships the proud mum made her dream a reality.
Both Marni and Tyrone received scholarships which helped them to balance their work and family responsibilities' take away some financial pressure and allow more time to focus on study.
"I received the CQUniCares BHP Indigenous Scholarship which was amazing'" Marni said.
"Without it I would have struggled financially. Thanks to the scholarship' I was able to not only attended classes but also have what was required to complete my Bachelor of Information Technology assessments and exams.
"It helped me to purchase textbooks' maintain my laptop' purchase software programs and even everyday necessities like food and petrol for the car."
With a renewed confidence' the proud Bidjara and Ghungalu woman explained she has even enrolled in postgraduate study to further her career in the IT industry.
"After the amazing experience I had in my degree' I decided to enrol in Graduate Certificate in Information Technology just to add that little bit extra knowledge and qualifications under my belt while working part-time."
Tyrone also has his sights set on further study and he is now one step closer to working with the Australian Federal Police or ASIO.
"I received the CQID Scholarship in 2020 which was a big help to me financially' especially last year with the COVID-19 pandemic'" he said.
Marni and Tyrone encouraged other Indigenous people to seriously consider university education in 2021.
"My advice to any mums' Indigenous students and even mature age adults who are thinking about going on to study is' it's hard. You can't sugarcoat that' but with support from the Indigenous team' scholarships and other students' you can do it!" Marni explained.
"While believing in yourself is certainly true' I think in many cases believing in yourself is easier said than done. It helps to know that there are people out there who want to see you succeed and go places that you yourself might not have even thought about'" Tyrone agreed.
CQUniversity Deputy Vice-President Indigenous Engagement and BHP Chair in Indigenous Engagement' Professor Adrian Miller explained that the scholarships provide more First Nations students with opportunities to attend university.
"I would encourage anyone who thinks university is out of reach due to financial barriers' to contact the University to find out more about the diverse range of scholarship opportunities available.
"A common misconception is that only high achieving students are awarded scholarships' but with support from many generous donors' we are proud to provide scholarships and bursaries tailored to meet the diverse needs and circumstances of our students'" Prof Miller said.
"I encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to look beyond the First Nations-focused scholarships and apply for any scholarships in their area of study.
"Many scholarships are designed to specifically assist Indigenous students through their studies and our simplified application process means you can apply for multiple opportunities with a single online form.
"While several Term 1 scholarships are closing shortly' others' are open later in the year so check the website regularly."
For more information on CQUniversity scholarships or to apply visit: https://www.cqu.edu.au/courses/future-students/scholarships