Ms Ashum Owen, a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman and first-year Flinders University student with a passion for making a difference has been awarded the 2013 Terry Roberts’ Memorial Scholarship for Aboriginal South Australians.
The scholarship was established in 2007 in memory of Terry Roberts, who was a long-serving Member of Parliament in South Australia and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation who was well respected by Aboriginal communities.
Ms Owen is undertaking a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) but is about to embark on a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice as well, prompted by an interest in criminology which she studied in her first semester.
“I’m keen to continue learning so that one day I can use my knowledge to not only assist change in government policies to provide better opportunities for Aboriginal people, but also change attitudes towards Aboriginal people in Australia,” Ms Owen said.
“Combining legal studies alongside psychology is something that could lead me along that path,” she said.
“I’d like to make a positive impact for Aboriginal people to benefit my community and the nation as whole. By understanding more about people’s behaviour and development, as well as the laws and legal system, I believe I can make a difference.
“Winning the Terry Roberts’ Scholarship will help my studies by enabling me to buy a new laptop, or I might invest it in my law text books.”
Minister for Higher Education Grace Portolesi said the scholarship supports Aboriginal people to take up full-time undergraduate study by providing financial assistance for study-related costs.
“I congratulate Ms Owen on her achievements and am very pleased to present her with the first instalment of her scholarship,” Ms Portolesi said.
“The value of the scholarship is $2,000 per annum for up to four years of full-time study,” she said.
“The scholarship is an important aspect of helping students to excel and achieve success in their tertiary education and beyond.”
Ms Portolesi said Ms Owen is a true role model for young Aboriginal people and the broader community, as was the scholarship’s inaugural winner in 2007, Rebecca Richards, who was Australia’s first Aboriginal Rhodes Scholar.