A new University of Newcastle scholarship is aiming to provide educational opportunities to Indigenous scholars going into the field of speech pathology.
The scholarship will provide students with $12,000 over a three-year period, open to first year students enrolled in a Bachelor of Speech Pathology.
University of Newcastle Associate Professor in Speech Pathology, Sally Hewat, said the scholarship was a great way to support Indigenous students in higher education, and aid them in making a difference to their communities.
“There is a high demand for speech pathologists in Indigenous communities across rural NSW, especially amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who often have higher rates of middle ear disease and other associated speech, language and literacy difficulties,” Associate Professor Hewat said.
“By supporting our Indigenous students, we hope ultimately to see an improvement in health outcomes in Indigenous communities across rural NSW by having a greater number of Indigenous speech pathologists working within and addressing the needs of the community.”
The scholarship is funded through The Vonmiller Foundation, an organisation founded in 2009 to support education, science, technology, and health.
The foundation’s spokesperson, Dr Julia Vonwiller, said the scholarship would give Indigenous students support in a critical field for their community.
“Speech and language development are a necessary foundation for education,” she said.
“This is especially critical in early-stage education, so we are excited to partner with the University of Newcastle on this scholarship to try and address some of the gaps in the health needs of Indigenous communities across NSW.”
University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Strategy and Leadership, Nathan Towney, stressed the university’s commitment to improving Indigenous educational opportunities.
“By providing financial support in the form of scholarships, students can be relieved of the financial burden that often comes with full time study and instead have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in their studies.”
Scholarships will be awarded in March 2021.