SYDNEY, Australia, February 15 /PRNewswire/ --

Dr Janelle Trees, a descendant of the Daingadi clan, is the first indigenous student to graduate with Honours at the University of Sydney's medical school through the graduate entry program. A sole parent, Dr Trees believes one of the most important effects of the scholarship has been an insight into the long-learned 'poverty mentality.' "I have been able to show that it is possible to study medicine when you come from different circumstances," she said.

For Annette Duggan, a Bachelor Degree in Education has enabled her to become a role model for children, adults and family members of her community. "I have seen that education has been empowering," she said. "As a person it has given me the ability to be more confident."

A University supervisor made the following comment about the many students who have come from the remote communities in the Kimberley in Western Australia. "As they progressed through their degree programs they grew in their sense of self-worth to become successful and confident teachers, nurses, business people, policymakers and men and women of influence in their own and mainstream society. They have encouraged their children and others to pursue university studies and find positive ways out of the cycle of poverty."

The Mary MacKillop Foundation's Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarship program currently funds 15 students in their studies in a wide range of fields.

With many indigenous students working part-time or surviving on limited Government support, a scholarship can make a real difference to their lives and the lives of their family. Supporting a doctor or a teacher is an investment in the future of indigenous children as it provides positive role models.

To ensure the continuation of the scholarship program, the Foundation is seeking financial partners. The cost to educate a doctor is approximately AUS$10,000 per year for four years. The cost to educate a teacher is approximately AUS$7,000 for three or four years depending on the university. If you would like to become a financial partner, please contact the Mary MacKillop Foundation.

For further information, please contact: Pip Denhart Mary MacKillop Foundation Australia Email:

Web site:

Pip Denhart, Mary MacKillop Foundation Australia,