Empowering Indigenous students, by commemorating loved ones

07 Apr 2020

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students come from all walks of life, with diverse experiences that make each of their university journeys unique. The individualised support will ensure that each and every student will receive the help they need.

Makayla Brinckley was relieved to be awarded the Joseph and Lindsay Croft Memorial Scholarship.

"For Indigenous students like me, financial pressures can often limit our ability to perform well at university," she said. "So I knew the scholarship would help me perform my best in my Honours year."

The scholarship assists undergraduate Indigenous Australian students to undertake study at ANU. It was established by Brenda L Croft and her brother Timothy in 2000 to honour the memory of their late father Joseph and brother Lindsay. Joseph was the first Aboriginal person to study at an Australian university. Lindsay was an Aboriginal student advocate and Harvard University postgraduate student, who tragically lost his life in a car accident in the US. Both felt passionately that further education was the key to Indigenous self-determination and direction.

Makayla has come a long way since graduating high school in the rural NSW town of Cootamundra. She is passionate about the social, emotional and
cultural wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

She says the quality of support she received at ANU had a positive and tangible impact on her student life.

"Receiving the scholarship meant I could reduce my paid work hours to focus on my Honours studies and research project. It helped with my living expenses, travel, and buying my textbooks. It gave me freedom and helped me take another step in my journey to becoming an Indigenous psychologist.

"Whether it was financial or pastoral support, or just a safe space to go to on campus, my student years were really enriched by the Tjabal centre. They listen without judgement and help you with any difficulties you may have."

Brenda believes philanthropy plays an essential role in supporting Indigenous students and the wider community.

"Many Australian First Nations students come from lower socio-economic backgrounds, often being the first in their family to reach tertiary education. Their expenses are manifold and can really affect their capacity to fully participate and engage with tertiary study," said Brenda.

"My brother Lindsay was very aware of these expenses as a student and desired to set up something to ease that burden for other Australian First Nations students."

Honouring Lindsay's and Joseph's work with First Nations communities throughout the country motivated Brenda to make a positive impact on the lives of Indigenous students. She is also grateful for all the support in her own life and wants to pay it forward.

"Giving back is a great way for me to acknowledge the support I have received throughout my life from so many people, Australian First Nations and non-Indigenous."

Kambri Scholarships - enriching lives and communities

ANU has established Kambri Scholarships to support Indigenous students from across the country.
These scholarships will ensure that all Indigenous Australian students at ANU will receive the financial, academic and pastoral support they need to thrive. The endowment will fund at least 30 scholarships per year.

Brenda believes the scholarships show the University's commitment to making a meaningful impact on Indigenous communities.

"Kambri Scholarships is a big step in providing diverse pathways for Australian First Nations students with undergraduate and higher degrees opportunities. Making mainstream education pathways work for Australian First Nations individuals and communities is key."

Makayla feels the model of support offered in the Kambri scholarships is especially important.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students come from all walks of life, with diverse experiences and each of their university journeys is unique. The individualised support offered in Kambri Scholarships will ensure each and every student will receive the help they need."

Page Owner: Philanthropy