Australian Catholic University has awarded Kate Gavin, a third-year bachelor of nursing student, the 2018 Francis Xavier Conaci scholarship, which will assist her to study at the university’s Rome campus.
Ms Gavin, an Indigenous student at ACU's Brisbane campus, was presented with the scholarship overnight at a ceremony in Rome hosted by ACU and the Australian embassy to the Holy See.
The Francis Xavier Conaci scholarship enables an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student to undertake study in Rome.
Ms Gavin’s grandfather was part of the Stolen Generation and knew little about his biological family. He was taken from his mother and raised in an orphanage in Perth. Despite this, Ms Gavin and her family have managed to stay connected with family in Perth and their Indigenous heritage.
She aims to secure a position in a paediatrics, cardiology or oncology ward when she graduates this year and plans to return to university in the future to study midwifery.
Director of the First Peoples and Equity Pathways Directorate at ACU Jane Ceolin said she was pleased that a female student was chosen this year in light of the NAIDOC theme for 2018, "Because of Her, We Can!"
“Kate was selected to receive the Francis Xavier Conaci scholarship due to her strong academic record as well as her willing contribution of her time to supporting other students at the Weemala Indigenous Higher Education Unit at the ACU Brisbane Campus,” Ms Ceolin said.
“It is fitting that such an inspiring young Aboriginal woman has received the scholarship with the NAIDOC Week theme reflecting the importance of Aboriginal women in our communities and families. Kate serves as the ideal role model to her fellow students.”
Ms Gavin said she was delighted to receive the award and that she was excited to be studying at the ACU Rome Campus.
“I feel honoured as a woman of Aboriginal heritage to receive this scholarship and to engage in a unit of study that looks at the disadvantage experienced by people all over the world, in particular indigenous communities,” she said.
The scholarship was established in recognition of an Aboriginal seminarian, Francis Xavier Conaci, who travelled to Rome in 1849 from New Norcia in Western Australia to study in a Benedictine monastery.