Anaiwan woman Grace Gillard may study in the United States of America and the United Kingdom after she receives her Bachelor of Science from the University of New England.
"My dream has always been to study at Cambridge University," Grace said.
"I know they have a great zoology department, but being able to visit such a world-famous university to learn firsthand about what options they have available, is beyond belief."
An Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour scholarship from the Aurora Education Foundation may take her there.
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"I found out about the scholarship last year when I saw a post about the previous recipient on the Oorala Facebook page," Grace said.
"I knew it was something I wanted to do. I am so grateful to staff from the Oorala Aboriginal Centre for supporting me in the application process."
The five-week Aurora Study Tour develops postgraduate study opportunities for high-achieving Indigenous scholars overseas. It takes students and graduates to leading international universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, the London Business School, and the London School of Economics in the UK; and Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, New York University, and Stanford in the US - six of which recently ranked in the top 10 universities in the world.
Students are encouraged to meet academics, administrators, and postgraduate students in their area of interest.
"I did a lot of research on academics who work in the fields I'm interested in - mostly conservation biology and ecology, herpetology, and ornithology - at Cambridge and Oxford," Grace said. "I emailed them to set up meetings and have had plenty of positive responses, especially from Oxford."
Grace is in the USA, and impressed with the university programs on offer.
"A highlight was to meet the Native American graduate students at Berkeley," Grace said. "We shared our personal stories and life experiences to gain an understanding and appreciation for the parallels between our cultures.
"The campus environment was welcoming and seemingly diverse, which made me feel as though I belong. It definitely exceeded my expectations."
Grace is the second UNE Indigenous student to receive the Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour scholarship after Eliza Barnett in 2018.
Grace won the Oorala Merit Prize for students in the Faculty of Science, Agriculture, Business and Law in 2018. She is also a talented violin and piano player, and was, until recently, a member of the Tamworth Musical Society Orchestra.