Harvard to Oxford – an inspirational trip for Broome student

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 16-11-2012

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Publication Place



A whirlwind trip to five of the most prestigious international tertiary institutions has reaffirmed a commitment by Notre Dame Education student, Sharon Davis, to deliver quality learning outcomes for Indigenous students in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The 2012 recipient of the Governor-General's Indigenous Student Teachers Scholarship for WA described the experience as "mind-blowing" and something she never imagined having the opportunity to experience.

Ms Davis from The University of Notre Dame Australia's Broome Campus was one of 17 high achieving Indigenous students from around the country invited by the Charlie Perkins Scholarship Trust and the Aurora Project to tour universities and colleges in the USA and UK. She was the only student studying Education who took part in the trip.

This year's tour included visits to Harvard, Columbia and New York universities in the USA, and Oxford and Cambridge universities in the UK. The purpose of the trip was to inspire talented students to pursue postgraduate study in their fields at top overseas universities.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Broome, Professor Lyn Henderson-Yates, said the Broome Campus was proud to have supported Ms Davis in her successful application to participate in the international tour.

"The Broome Campus' financial contribution and application support provided Sharon with this marvellous opportunity to seek excellence in learning at some of the world's most prestigious institutions," Professor Henderson-Yates said.

"Sharon's commitment to the pursuance of delivering the highest quality of education to children in the community and her excellent academic record at Notre Dame resulted in her being encouraged to apply for Masters' programs at both Oxford and New York universities."

One of the highlights for Ms Davis was learning more about the Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP). She had the opportunity to speak with Native American people about their daily struggles in education and how that translated into lifestyle challenges for their communities.

Ms Davis also interacted with academics at New York University who oversee a program which teaches English to students from a Caribbean background where Leeward Caribbean Creole is the predominate language spoken.

"I've always known what I was going to do. Even if I didn't achieve the necessary grades to get the opportunity to go away, I would still be a primary school teacher to give as many children as possible in my community the chance to succeed," Ms Davis said.

"Returning from the trip has given me a clearer focus and has made me want to research new methods of assisting children in remote communities.

"I want to be able to teach children whose second language is Australian English, but at the same time place value on their current spoken language which is important to their culture and community.

"Sitting in a lecture theatre at Harvard University made me feel so proud as a student and as an Indigenous person. That experience gave me so much encouragement and inspiration to know that I am capable of achieving my potential at a globally renowned institution such as Harvard."

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Ebbs: Tel (08) 9433 0610; Mob 0408 959 138 Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093