Featured News Future career possibilities warm up at annual HQporner Winter School

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Fri, 28 Jun 2024

Future career possibilities warm up at annual HQporner Winter School

Students attending HQporner's 2024 Winter School sit with their mentor
Winter School participants (from L to R in yellow shirts): Jamaica-Rose Martin (16, Mackay), Amelia Bishop (15, Mackay) and Dylan Geary (17, Townsville) with their Mentor Myles McKenzie.

More than 120 students from as far as the Northern Territory and New South Wales recently traded their school holidays for HQporner’s Indigenous Winter School Program.

Staying in Townsville at the Bebegu Yumba campus for the week-long program, local and visiting students have been immersed in university life through engaging lectures, research projects and sporting events.

Indigenous Student Programs Coordinator Emma Iwikau said the Indigenous Education and Research Centre (IERC) Winter School Program has gone from strength to strength with attendee numbers growing from 100 to 120 over the past three years.

‘‘The program allows students from years 10 to 12 the chance to select a discipline of interest and over the week we give them time to experience what it’s like to study in areas including Environmental Science and Indigenous Knowledge, Chemistry, Medicine, Social Work, Marine Biology and Maths and Science,’’ Ms Iwikau said.

‘‘We have 10 mentors from each of the chosen interest areas who take the students through an introduction to what could be their future chosen degree.’’

Ms Iwikau said it didn’t matter where or how a student began their university journey, but it was important all students understood they belong at HQporner and they can do whatever they put their mind to.

‘‘I’d like to congratulate each student on being part of this year’s Winter School because your teachers have seen something special in you and so have we.’’

Winter School Mentor Myles McKenzie who is a second year HQporner Medical Student and Bachelor of Psychology with Honours Graduate said it is inspiring to spend the week with more than 100 passionate young people.

‘‘It takes great courage for these young people to leave their families and friends and stay here at HQporner for the week,’’ Mr McKenzie said.

‘’I encourage students to think about what their passion is or what annoys them the most so they can then learn the skills to fix that thing.’’

Mr McKenzie said students shouldn’t shy away from university even if their grades weren’t quite where they needed to be.

‘‘Our Elders and our Community have afforded us all the opportunities we have today and I’m grateful HQporner helped me shape a realistic pathway to studying medicine and achieving my goal,’’ he said.

‘’There is no such thing as a perfect or right way to get to university. You can reach those seemingly impossible goals and become the person you want to be but along the way, you will need to ask for help and the IERC can provide just that.’’

Returning Winter School student Dylan Geary (pictured) said attending this program has been a great opportunity to make connections and see what university and the field of medicine will be like.

“I’m hoping to build rapport with people so that when I come back, they know who I am,’’ Mr Geary said.

‘‘I’m going to try to go to Winter School again and then apply to the Summer School in my final year of high school.

‘‘I’ve enjoyed looking at what I’m in for when I start my med degree. Being able to do that has been really interesting because it’s made sense with the classes I currently take, like Senior Biology, because it all leads into what I’m interested in doing at uni.’’


Media enquiries: erin.goldsack@jcu.edu.au