Fifty Indigenous students from schools around Alice Springs were hosted at Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Alice Springs Campus as part of the Taste of Uni program held on Wednesday, 23 May.
Indigenous students from years 9 to 12 travelled from Yirara College, Centralian College, Anzac Hill High School and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College to CDU’s Alice Springs Campus to undertake ‘tasters’ in vocational subjects including children’s services, art, automotives and information technology.
The Taste of Uni program is part of CDU’s commitment to increasing Indigenous enrolments at the University and offers students educational and career pathways through participation in vocational and technical education (VTE) and higher education courses.
Lorraine St Clair, Indigenous liaison officer, said the Indigenous guest speakers at Taste of Uni were very popular with the students. Graduate student John Rawnsley, who has a double degree in law and Indigenous studies, and current student Veronica Ecenarro, who is in her third year of a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning, spoke of their experiences as Indigenous people in the higher education sector.
‘John and Veronica’s stories were a real inspiration for students who heard first hand about the challenges and motivations associated with undertaking university studies,’ Lorraine said.
Mandy Cawthorne-Crosby, pathways coordinator, co-organised the event and said the day started a process of potential future students engaging with CDU and gaining an interest and understanding of what CDU has to offer.
‘The Taste of Uni event provides opportunities for students, staff and course lecturers to interact and in that process highlights the huge opportunities they have on campus here in Alice Springs,’ Mandy said. ‘The day emphasised the choices that are available to young Indigenous students in a friendly, culturally safe and supportive environment.’