A university in Victoria has announced the first recipients of a new scholarship which celebrates the activism of Australia’s Aboriginal and Jewish communities.
The William Cooper Indigenous Scholarship Fund will provide two students each year with comprehensive financial support during their studies at Monash University.
The scholarship was made possible by a $1 million donation from Melbourne philanthropists John and Pauline Gandel.
It honours the life of the life and activism of Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper and is designed to support high-achieving Indigenous students with leadership potential.
Monash University announced that this year’s recipients are Jaya Blandthorn, 19; and John Singh-Nagyivan, 26.
Ms Blandthorn grew up in Swan Hill in northern Victoria and shares a family connection with William Cooper. She is studying a bachelor of nursing degree and hopes to work as a midwife in remote Indigenous communities.
"I want to work in really remote and rural areas of Indigenous communities, to help with birth on country and improve survival rates," Ms Blandthorn said.
"I really want to change that and be able to help my people more.”
Mr Singh-Nagyivan, originally from the Dandenong Ranges, is studying a bachelor of science degree and believes advocacy can improve public health.
"Advocacy is one of the only catalysts for change and changing health initiatives," he said.
"It’s important to step up, have your voice heard and address some of the fundamental health.”