Bronte Haynes is a Murrawarri, Nyemba and Wiradjuri woman, and one of WIC’s 2020 graduates.
Following her passion for Indigenous issues, Bronte moved to Wollongong from Forbes in 2017 to study a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in Indigenous health.
“In high school I was passionate about Indigenous issues, and I felt that Indigenous health was very poor in Australia and nothing was really being done about it. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health is one of the worst in the world, and I wanted to change that for the future generations of our mob,” Bronte said.
“I was also a dental assistant in my gap year. I feel like that’s why I chose to do health.”
Her time at university and the education she’s received not only equipped her with the skills to join the workforce but also reaffirmed that she’d made the right decision about what to study.
“I definitely got more passionate about [Indigenous health]. I understood more of the bigger picture, and the passion got stronger. I was fighting the good fight.”
Although being away from home was challenging at times, Bronte found plenty of opportunities to get involved in various mentorship programs, as well as becoming a student leader at her student accommodation.
“It wasn’t just about the opportunity and putting it on your resume, it’s about meeting people. Meeting with young kids is eye-opening, especially because I’m not from here. It was interesting to meet kids with a different upbringing to me.”
Bronte says the highlight of her studies was participating as a mentor in In2Uni’s Learning Through Culture program where she was able to mentor a group of Indigenous high school students.
“Learning Through Culture was about giving them the inspiration to be proud of their culture. You shouldn’t be ashamed of where you come from, and there are so many different ways you can be proud of your culture and be a leader in your community. It was teaching the kids how to step up and become a leader.”
Bronte now works as a research assistant at the Australian Health Service Research Institute’s Ngarruwan Ngadju research centre, a role she credits her dedicated in-class work for securing.
“I was fortunate enough that one of my uni tutors was my [now] boss. I think that I did well in my classes and spoke up, and she saw that I had that drive. She asked me if I needed a job after uni, and I took it.”
“My advice for students is to have perseverance and push through, you will get there in the end. It doesn’t matter how many years it takes you or what challenges you go through, it only makes you stronger!”