Wayne Cawthorne - a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

Education is the key for our mob to achieve our dreams...

Firstly, I am a proud descendent of the Waggamyi peoples of Stone River near Ingham, and the Jdiddabul peoples of the Tablelands Region of Far North Queensland.

My greatest achievements in high school were definitely being award a Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education, becoming the first Aboriginal school captain of my high school and also being awarded a Silver Creativity in Research, Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST) award from CSIRO.

I had to overcome many challenges in high school. Quite possibly the biggest challenge was my own motivation and at times it was very easy to give up instead of pushing through. Overcoming this was very difficult and required the constant support from my network of family and friends to pick me up and help me through tough times.

The advice I’d give to younger students would be to understand the part high school - especially the final two years - plays in the big picture of your life. Education is the key for our mob to achieve our dreams, so being committed and persisting in your studies will set yourself up for wherever you want to end up, whether it’s at university or elsewhere. I’d also highly recommend others to take every opportunity that comes your way - there were so many opportunities I was given in high school that I was too lazy to participate in and I will never know what new experiences I could have learnt from them.

Receiving a QATSIF scholarship relieved some of the financial burdens that I faced during high school. The scholarship primarily went towards paying school fees, but having that issue taken off my shoulders definitely made senior high schooling more comfortable.

In the future I hope to finish my undergraduate degree, then complete an honours then achieve a PhD. From this, I hope to then gain employment in medical research and discover something that helps our mob and the rest of Australia in one way or another. I am very passionate about science and helping others, and I know medical research is the way I can fulfil my own personal goal of helping our mob in ways they cannot help themselves.

Wayne Cawthorne

Wayne Cawthorne