A passion for education and its role in the empowerment of Aboriginal women has driven Jessa Rogers' career.
Currently an ANU PhD candidate researching the socio-emotional wellbeing of Indigenous students, Jessa is a role model for younger adults.
Born in Canberra and raised in Queensland, Jessa's personal education nearly ended aged 16 when she fell pregnant. She was sure she wouldn't be allowed to continue her studies but her school, to her surprise, allowed her to stay. She didn't look back and graduated with an ATAR of 92, before securing two degrees at the Queensland University of Technology. She also became a teacher.
In the community, Jessa wants to lift the standards of education for Aboriginal women and her PhD focuses on the experiences of Aboriginal girls in boarding schools. Furthering this, she is an active member of the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative and founding director of the Australian Indigenous Lecturers of Initial Teacher Education.
Jessa is regularly invited to speak to young Aboriginal communities across the country and she is also the youngest member of the NAIDOC Council, which is appointed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
While studying full time at ANU during the past two years, Jessa has also worked for the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy and Research, including as part of the team developing the University's first undergraduate Indigenous studies course.
Among Jessa's previous accolades are the National NAIDOC Young Person of the Year, the ANU Vice-Chancellor's Award for Reconciliation and the 2015 Minoru Hokari scholarship, recognising her cross-cultural work. She was also nominated for the Pride of Australia Medal.