Raby teen has taste of university life as part of Indigenous student program

On campus: Emma-Leigh McGuinness enjoys the surrounds at the University of Sydney. Picture: University of Sydney
On campus: Emma-Leigh McGuinness enjoys the surrounds at the University of Sydney. Picture: University of Sydney

High school student Emma-Leigh McGuinness had a taste of university life – and she loved it. 

The Sarah Redfern High School student was one of 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across Australia who attended a University of Sydney camp in January.

The week-long Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu (WMBB) summer program aimed to give the students a taste of university life, and to encourage them to continue their studies after year 12.

Emma-Leigh said after a week at the university, she was convinced.

“After being here I know I want to go to university – particularly this one,” she said.

The 17-year-old said prior to the camp she had her sights set firmly on a career in midwifery.

While that will still likely be the career path she follows, the WMBB program has opened her eyes to other possibilities.

“There were people studying for jobs I’d never heard of,” the Raby teen said.

“One of the stranger ones was veterinary physiotherapy.”

Practical: Emma-Leigh McGuinness gets hands on with some of the state-of-the-art technology at the University of Sydney. Picture: University of Sydney

Practical: Emma-Leigh McGuinness gets hands on with some of the state-of-the-art technology at the University of Sydney. Picture: University of Sydney

She said the entire experience made “me think a lot more” about career options.

Year 12 students, like Emma-Leigh, who took part in the summer program will also be invited back to the for the winter program which aims to help prepare the teenagers for HSC exams.

Acting deputy vice-chancellor of Indigenous strategy and services, Professor Juanita Sherwood, said the program lasted for a lot longer than a week in January.

“The WMBB Summer Program is the culmination of the university’s work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students that begins in early high school and ends when our proud graduates leave to join the workforce,” she said.

“We have 21 alumni from the summer and winter programs currently studying with us, with many more indicating a preference to study at other higher education institutions – a demonstration of the program’s impact.”

This story Indigenous student has taste of university life first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.

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