The Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre at Murdoch University has supported and contributed to the lives of more than 500 students since its creation in 1988.
It is a significant milestone for the Murdoch community, showing the importance of representation, a supportive network and equal opportunity.
The recent round of graduations saw 12 students receive the coveted Kulbardi graduand sash, designed by Kulbardi alumni Bianca Willder. The students graduated from a range of disciplines including, Biomedical Science, Engineering, Veterinary and Animal Science, Law, Forensics, Creative Media and Biological Sciences.
Recent Screen Production graduate, Sasha Ihms, said receiving the Kulbardi graduand sash was a special moment for her.
After making my way through university and online classes due to COVID in 2020, an especially difficult situation when your degree is heavily practical, receiving the Kulbardi sash was an incredibly special moment.” Sasha Ihms, recent Kulbardi and Screen Production graduate
Miss Ihms began her studies through the K-Track enabling program and then moved into her undergraduate course in Screen Production.
"The most impactful moment of my university journey was the people I met along the way, both at Kulbardi and in classes, making friends that I will be staying in contact with for years to come through shared experiences and similar life goals.”
Miss Ihms is planning to move abroad to begin her career in film and creative media production.
“One of the most important things for us at Kulbardi is showing our community that not only do Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people belong in higher education, but we absolutely thrive here,” Sharna Walley, Manager of the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre at Murdoch University, said.
We always say ‘you can’t be, what you can’t see’ and so our mission is to show the opportunities available and provide them with a space to succeed.” Sharna Walley, Manager of the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre at Murdoch University
Marshall Tye, Noongar man and Kulbardi alumnus, has been a source of inspiration for our students after his journey through K-Track, his work as a K-Track mentor and student ambassador, through to honours and now as a K-Track tutor.
“When I first came to K-Track as a student I was driven, but I had never finished high school. The Kulbardi family showed me that I really could succeed at university and pushed me to my highest potential. This passion for education was new to me and is what drew me to teaching K-Track,” he said.
If centres like Kulbardi didn’t exist, many people including me would never get the opportunity to follow their dreams." Marshall Tye, K-Track Tutor and Kulbardi alumnus
“Seeing so many Aboriginal students succeeding builds us all up and creates a space where we can strive to do our best academically and be the best people we can be.”
Mr Tye said academia gives the Aboriginal community a voice, an opportunity to develop academically and personally and then go on to do great things at Murdoch and in the community.
Pro Vice Chancellor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Leadership, Chanelle van den Berg said the increase in Indigenous student numbers is direct result of Kulbardi’s dedication and support towards the students.
The staff at the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre are committed to providing opportunities for our Indigenous students and it is exciting to see more students join our alumni community.” Chanelle van den Berg, Pro Vice Chancellor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Leadership
To commemorate 500 graduates, the team is working on the creation of an alumni display at Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre.
Every student that walks through will be able to visibly see the fantastic group of achievers that they are joining when they become part of the Kulbardi community.
There will also be a spotlight area inside the centre where they will share stories of all the amazing work by their staff and students.
Photo: Recent Kulbardi graduate Sasha Ihms at the mid-2022 graduations ceremony.