Tamina Pitt, a proud Meriam woman (Torres Strait) and a Wuthathi woman (Cape York Queensland) is the recipient of the NAIDOCs 2018 Youth of the Year Award.
The Sydney-born and raised Murri is a self-confessed "tech geek", completing her HSC with an ATAR of 95.75. She is now studying Computer Engineering at the University of New South Wales.
Because of Her, She Can
Tamina told NITV, “When I got to the end of High School, I knew I was really into science and math but I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it; and I thought it would be really boring to be a scientist.”
Tamina said that her math teacher motivated her to continue on this path.
“She was a Doctor (of Mathematics), and I thought it was so cool that she was the only Doctor that was a teacher in the school, and she just made me feel so inspired.”
However her biggest role model is her mother, lawyer and public speaker, Terri Janke. Tamina has a wall of quotes in her room and her favourite one is from her mother.
Along with her mother, Tamina was a published book Author at the age of five.
Tamina says there have been time she has wanted to drop out of university, but her mother, an outstanding academic, wouldn’t let her.
Tamina said that, “She always tells me to ‘shine my light’ and I read that everyday and that kind of inspires me to shine my light and I think that’s about being myself and allowing myself to excel.”
She currently works for her mum’s company, Terri Janke and Co. as an online marketing manager where she runs the website and social media, writing blogs, researching issues and editing content.
Tamina has had two summer internships with Google and a cadetship with the ABC, but the tech giant is truly where her heart lies. She told NITV about her experiences at Google. “The first (internship) time, I worked in a group project and we kind of made an whole app together. It was an image processing application; I was learning all this new technology that I had no idea about. I knew that I liked it but I didn’t think that I would be capable of completing such a huge project.
“When I was younger I didn’t really see anyone that looked like me doing Technology, and I kind of never really thought that that was something I could possibly do. I saw myself as a user of technology more than a creator of technology.”
For the People
Being very community driven, Tamina has wanted to be an advocate for Indigenous people all her life. By working with her mum was able to see how she was able to use her expertise and help community.
Through technology, Tamina tries to help the Indigenous people in any way she can. One of which is collaborating with non-profit organisation Indigitek, an organisation where Indigenous people who have interests in technology get together.
Tamina believes that “our people are really capable of doing technology.
“I think there’s this impression from whiter community, whiter Australia that Indigenous people aren’t really capable of doing things like science and technology.
“I really struggled with thinking I wasn’t good enough to do engineering.”
“It was difficult to kind of get to where I am today, and so to have somebody recognise me and say that that was worthy of an award, really makes me feel honoured and proud.”
The National NAIDOC Awards 2018 broadcasts live on NITV (Ch. 34), Friday 13 July at 7.30pm and will be available On Demand after broadcast.
For all NAIDOC Week stories and features head to our website.