I’m a former Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) mentee and, being an Indigenous person, I wanted to re-connect with my heritage and use my passion for life and animals to help other young Indigenous people. About six months ago I created the DeadlyScience program to provide remote schools with scientific resources, and to connect young Indigenous people with mentors to encourage participation in science and STEMM in general.
The thing I am most proud of is being able to provide books to Indigenous kids to help them learn, and empower them to believe they can be whatever they dream to be. We are also releasing a DeadlyScience podcast, so that everyone can learn about and share the history of Indigenous science, both past and present.
I currently work as an Animal Technician at the University of Sydney, but I often stay back and work on DeadlyScience - meeting with contributors from around campus, and talking to schools from all over the country. This year I’m hoping to meet with people like Bruce Pascoe who wrote the brilliant book, Dark Emu, about Indigenous food production and land management, and Professor Brian Cox. They have both been instrumental in helping me to build DeadlyScience.
Tough question: there are many people who inspire me, but my grandfather is someone I have always looked up to. Pop was from Kamilaroi country on the mid-North coast of NSW. He had to deal with a lot throughout his life; from not being allowed to vote or swim in the local swimming pool, to when he was a shearer and not being allowed to sleep in the shearers quarters. As a Kamilaroi man, he earned less than white shearers and therefore had to shear more animals to earn the same income. The best advice I took from him was to always do your best. It’s something that lives through me today whilst I work at the University and devote myself to DeadlyScience.
Another person who really sticks out for me is Paul Sinclair. Paul worked as an Indigenous Zoo keeper at Taronga Zoo back in the early 2000s. I was lucky enough to meet him through AIME and school. He was the first person I truly felt believed in me and encouraged me to chase my dreams. We are still in contact today and I really hope I can have the same effect on other Indigenous kids out there.
It's a little bit corny but I love Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. I feel that in life you can be faced with many barriers tht you need to learn to overcome, and I think the way we remove those barriers is by chasing our dreams and being the change to break the cycle.
I’m really keen to grow the program this year, so I’ve started a philanthropic drive with a DeadlyScience fundraising page. Every donation will help pay the transport costs to send books to remote schools and to buy a copy of Dark Emu for each school. I also collect donated books from amazing people from around campus, you can drop them off to the mail room at the Physics building, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.