Success Stories
Meet Emily Sharp

Emily Sharp is a proud Arrernte Aboriginal woman who is currently in her third and final year of a Bachelor’s Degree Environmental Science, majoring in Ecology and Conservation at Griffith University.

As a Calleo Indigenous Scholarship recipient she writes:

“I was born and raised in the regional town of Darwin within a multicultural family. Being raised in this environment allowed me to connect deeply with my cultural heritage, giving me a huge appreciation and understanding of the diverse nature of Australian First Nations cultures.

Whilst attending school in regional Darwin I severely struggled in an academic setting leading me to leave school at a young age, entering the workforce with my highest completed schooling at a grade 8 level. As an adult, I have since been diagnosed with learning disabilities (ADHD and dyslexia). Despite this, in 2013 I completed my Certificate Three in Hairdressing at Charles Darwin University where I was awarded the most improved student. I worked as a hairdresser until late 2018 when I gave birth to my son, Elvis, whom since pregnancy I have had full-time sole responsibility and care of. I made the choice to further my studies to gain meaningful employment in a career that not only aligns with my personal values, but will also aid me to provide adequately for my child.

Due to my limited schooling and parental responsibilities, adjusting to university has come with numerous challenges academically, emotionally, and financially. Recognising the extended learning process due to my disabilities, I have made the conscious sacrifice of a paid job whilst I undertake my studies. Actively seeking support through accessibility and disability services, as well as utilising the Gumurrii student success program on campus, has been instrumental in overcoming these constraints.

Additionally, receiving this scholarship has improved my life both personally and academically, enabling me to study with minimal financial hardship. It has enriched my university and life experience in the way I do not feel as though my studies are affecting my family financially, keeping me enrolled and able to complete my degree.

This scholarship has aided me to have a much greater sense of autonomy, significantly helping me to be more self-reliant and has allowed me to reach my full potential, this has given me great pride and a sense of freedom within my studies making it a more positive experience.

My aim in my future career as an environmental researcher is to empower, not exploit First Nation people, aiding to mend the gap for adequate recognition within western society for the profound knowledge held by our peoples.”