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‘Like a dream’ for top award for Torres Strait Islander graduate  

[by Lisa Ditchield]

Image supplied

A Charles Sturt University Torres Strait Islander student who is the first in her family to attend University will receive the University Medal for outstanding scholarly results when she graduates.

Ms Sophie Pitt, a proud Erub woman from the Torres Strait, grew up in Shellharbour NSW and now lives in nearby Horsley.

She completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Mental Health), Djirruwang Program in the Charles Sturt School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health over three years full-time study, while working as a Aboriginal Mental Health Trainee.

“As I am the first person in my family to graduate from university, the University Medal feels like a dream,” Ms Pitt said. 

“I feel like the hard work I have put in over the past three years is being acknowledged, which is a wonderful feeling.”

Now that she has completed her training Ms Pitt is working as an Aboriginal mental health clinician.

“The bachelor’s degree helped me to develop skills in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, which I am able to take back to my community, to improve mental health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Ms Pitt said.

“In the future, I would like to begin research into how to better deliver culturally appropriate mental health services, as well as improve social and emotional wellbeing determinants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Ms Pitt completed her degree online, and she said the teaching staff and the Indigenous support staff were very supportive.

“Their support was a major factor in me being able to achieve the outcomes I have,” she added.

Ms Pitt’s dream career is working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health policy development, though for now she will be celebrating this ‘dream’ University Medal and graduation with her family.

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