A new era of inspiration for Indigenous high school students

15 Jun 2022

After two years of disruption due to COVID-19, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (ATSIS) Unit’s Outreach and Engagement team is looking forward to a new era of InspireU camps at The University of Queensland.

InspireU camps have a focus on networking.

The InspireU program is designed to engage and inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students to further their studies at university and broaden their career possibilities.  The program aims to break down the barriers preventing students from pursuing higher education.

UQ’s Outreach and Engagement team also visits schools across Queensland and Northern New South Wales, providing information to students to assist them in making informed decisions about their future study options.

The Outreach and Engagement team also invites schools to visit a UQ campus for a Tertiary Experience Day (TED).  These days allow school students and their administration to have a taste of what a camp could be like, while also providing students with information about tertiary education and what services and options are available to them.

The InspireU program was developed in 2013 and since then has contributed to increasing the awareness of the University in the broader Queensland community, as well as improving the participation rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Years 11 and 12 students.

While on camp, InspireU students can:

  • experience the vibrant student life on campus
  • find out about study areas of interest and hear from expert staff and industry partners
  • learn about the success and support services available to students
  • participate in fun and interactive workshops
  • connect with current Indigenous UQ students and learn about their university experiences.

Thanks to support from UQ’s philanthropic and other partners, InspireU camps are delivered at no costs to the students – including accommodation, meals, transport and activities.

Between late June and September this year, UQ’s ATSIS Unit will host the InspireU Health Science, Junior STEM, Senior Engineering and Spring camps.

InspireU alum Juliet Biemann said the InspireU Law camp of 2019 sparked her journey at UQ and cemented her decision to focus on a Law degree.

InspireU alum Juliet Biemann.

“InspireU was vital in finding out what financial support and other cool opportunities were available,” she said.

“I was able to secure a LEAD Scholarship and the UQ ATSIS Unit encouraged me to secure internship opportunities via CareerTrackers, including Origin Energy and two law firms.

“The social connections I made at InspireU included other new students, older students who were helping, and key staff members of UQ. It was great to see familiar faces when I started out at UQ.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement), Professor Bronwyn Fredericks said UQ aimed to help students take their first steps on a journey towards achieving their goals and aspirations, through a world-class university education.

“We are committed to inspiring students and providing opportunities for them to become game-changers and future leaders, ready to join our strong and growing network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alumni who are doing extraordinary work in their communities and across the globe,” Professor Fredericks said.

“Students have access to outstanding teachers and they learn from research leaders who are pioneering positive change locally and internationally.

“The University acknowledges and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians. We value and celebrate the uniqueness of knowledges, cultures, histories and languages that have been created and shared for at least 65,000 years.

“InspireU students’ study among some of the best and brightest Indigenous scholars in the country, and have fun being immersed in a positive, enriching environment.

“We are doing transformational work, in partnership with Indigenous communities and our growing community of supporters, to build a better and brighter future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Through UQ’s InspireU program, we empower students with the skills and confidence to excel, no matter where life leads."