Law scholarship is providing pathways for First Nations students

30 May 2023
L-R: Vanessa Maruna, Dionne Singleton and Nareeta Davis stand together to promote the Indigenous law Scholarship offered to a Cairns CQU student. All three women are dressed in corporate attire and stand in front of corporate banners in an office.

After initially applying for a scholarship in the hopes of receiving a small bursary to purchase some textbooks, CQUniversity Bachelor of Laws student Dionne Singleton said she could not be more grateful to receive the inaugural CQUniCares Holding Redlich Indigenous Law Scholarship.

The scholarship, which provides recognition and financial support to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander student studying a laws related undergraduate course in North Queensland, will provide Dionne with up to $5000 to help with her study expenses.

“I was so excited to be chosen, I know that there are many worthy recipients and am very appreciative to be selected,” Dionne said.

“Now I can buy my textbooks, and will also have the funds to purchase a laptop!

“I have always prioritised my children's education, so now I can look forward to doing something for myself.”

As a descendant of the Kalkadoon people of Mount Isa and Jirrabal people of the Tablelands, with strong connections to the Yirrganydji people of Cairns through marriage, Dionne said she hopes to utilise her law studies to give back to the community.

“I have worked in the legal industry for 15 years and I have always had an interest in helping people but felt limited by not having formal legal qualifications.

“Completing my bachelor’s degree at CQU will help me to take the next step in my career,” she said.

“Initially I had planned to practice in criminal law, however once I commenced studying, I came across many other areas of interest.”

Holding Redlich Pro Bono Lawyer and First Nations Advisor, Nareeta Davis congratulated Dionne and said the scholarship is intended to help support First Nations students to enter the law profession as graduates.

As a CQUniversity alumnus and casual academic at the University’s Cairns campus, Mrs Davis is an advocate for First Nations education in regional Queensland.

“Australia’s legal profession is in need of more First Nations voices. In the years to come, it’s vital that universities, government and law firms invest in a clearer and well-supported pathway for First Nations law students," Mrs Davis said.

“Holding Redlich is deeply committed to this outcome and partnering with CQUniversity to offer this scholarship is just one step we are taking to support and work alongside First Nations law students.”

CQUniversity’s Head of Course for Law, Dr Lance Rundle thanked Holding Redlich and acknowledged Mrs Davis’ instrumental role in the implementation of the scholarship.

“CQUniversity and The School of Business and Law are very proud to work in conjunction with Holding Redlich to launch this scholarship,” he said.

“This scholarship will greatly assist First Nations law students to have a more equitable pathway into the legal profession.”

The CQUniCares Scholarship program changes lives and CQUniversity is grateful to partner with organisations like Holding Redlich who share the University’s passion for making a difference in the lives of our students, their families and our communities.