ELLENBROOK university student Mikayla King has been awarded the 2016 Edith Cowan University Vice Chancellor’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Scholarship.
The 21-year-old is in her second year of the Bachelor of Education degree at ECU and works as an Aboriginal and Islander education officer with the Department of Education.
Ms King, who is a Kalkadoon woman, also finds time to manage the Miss NAIDOC Perth leadership and empowerment program for Aboriginal women.
She said her goal was to help improve education for Aboriginal people.
“I love all aspects of the course and curriculum, but I’m probably most interested in the psychology behind behaviour and learning,” she said.
“A big part of my university life is constantly thinking of ways to support our Aboriginal children’s academic progress, and ways to incorporate Aboriginal elements into day-to-day literacy and numeracy.
“The gap for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people is far beyond an academic gap in education, there are gaps in opportunities and in knowledge when working with Aboriginal children and families.
“I want to impart my knowledge and understanding about Aboriginal education and learning styles and needs. In return this will support schools in ensuring culturally responsive programs that connect and empower our children will be embedded in day-to-day practise.”
The scholarship, which is ongoing and worth $2500 each semester, is based on academic merit and demonstrated leadership and contribution to the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Island community or University community.
Ms King said juggling Miss NAIDOC with work and study had been challenging but very rewarding.
“I was a participant in Miss NAIDOC in 2013 and won the title of Miss Kwobardak (Nyoongar for beautiful), as voted by my peers,” she said
“From there the committee members asked if I would be part of the working group, and in 2016 an Elder of the program has asked me to step up and manage the program.”
Ms King will receive her scholarship at a flag raising ceremony at ECU Mount Lawley on July 4 to mark the beginning of NAIDOC Week.