Having overcome obstacles of her own, Charles Darwin University lecturer Tanya McDonald hopes to inspire other Indigenous people to help serve their communities.
Ms McDonald is one of the first female First Nations vocational and educational training lecturers to join the university in Alice Springs.
The mother of four, a Kirrae Whurrong, Gundijitmarra and Gunai Kurnai woman from East Gippsland, wants to improve the rates of Indigenous students working in the community services sector to help reduce family violence.
She brings experience as a survivor of violence whose grandmother was part of the stolen generation, taken from her family and placed in missions in Victoria.
Ms McDonald studied diplomas in community services and family therapy and taught at a TAFE in Victoria before relocating earlier this year to join Charles Darwin University as a workplace assessor in children, health and community.
In an article released by the university on Monday, she said she hoped to see more Indigenous students following in her footsteps.
"There was a real determination to get myself out of the situation I was in, and when I saw that there weren't many Indigenous people in my field, that gave me the extra push I needed to finish my degree, and move into teaching," she said.
"As Indigenous people, we have to work a bit harder and try a bit harder to overcome the obstacles, but it's possible to overcome what you've been through and find a better path."
More than 4500 Indigenous students took part in Charles Darwin University's higher education and vocational courses last financial year.
The yearly increase of almost 600 students came despite a decline in overall student numbers.
Work is also under way to attract and retain more Indigenous staff.
Australian Associated Press
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