School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Record number of Indigenous PhD students graduate from UNSW

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Four Indigenous students are graduating from UNSW with PhDs, with three receiving their doctorates during ceremonies on the Kensington campus this month.

It’s a record number of doctorates awarded to Indigenous students in one year.

Dr Megan Williams has just graduated from UNSW Medicine, Associate Professor Sue Green is graduating from UNSW Arts & Social Sciences on Thursday (18 June) and Cameron Fitzpatrick-Ramirez will become the first Indigenous student to graduate with a PhD from the UNSW Business School on Friday (19 June).

Megan Williams

Megan Williams

A fourth Indigenous PhD student, Shane Ingrey, will graduate with a PhD in biomedicine at the end of the year. This comes on the back of Narrunga man Simon Graham graduating with his PhD in Medicine last year.

“This is unheard of anywhere in the country,” says the Director of UNSW’s Indigenous Programs Unit, Nura Gili, Professor Martin Nakata, who was the first Torres Strait Islander to complete a PhD. “We are thrilled that we have such great students graduating in the one year.”

59 Indigenous students graduated from UNSW in 2014, building on the result in 2013, in which 41 Indigenous students became alumni.

“This is a particularly encouraging result as the students come from diverse disciplines,” says Professor Nakata. “Some 43% of our Indigenous enrolments are now in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, as well as Medicine.”

As part of the celebrations, Sue Green will wear a possum skin cloak on top of her graduation gown. In Wiradyuri tradition, the cloak is worn at major life events. 

suegreen.jpg

PhD recipient Sue Green with possum skin cloak.