Graduate aims to help Indigenous kids realise dreams

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Graduate aims to help Indigenous kids realise dreams


Published on 1 June 2015

Torres Strait Islander Alister Bartholomew has realised his dreams by going to university and is now working to help others experience the transformational power of education.

Alister, 41, of Buderim recently completed a combined Arts and Education degree at USC and gained employment as a Community Partnerships Officer with the Department of Education and Training in Maroochydore.

“My current role is to help teachers embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the school curriculum and also develop and strengthen partnerships between schools and the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families,” he said.

“My mother was born on Saibai Island in the Torres Strait but I grew up in Brisbane where there is a strong TSI community attached to the Anglican Church, and attended Kelvin Grove State High School.”

Alister was working as the leading hand at Tondoon Botanic Gardens in Gladstone when he decided to create better prospects for his wife and children, then aged 6 and 4, by undertaking a degree at USC.

“I chose to study at USC so my family could live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast and we could be closer to extended family in Brisbane and because I knew USC offered great support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students,” he said.

“I’d had a few conversations with family and friends about the commitment required to complete a degree. It wasn’t easy and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my wife Kylie, but I’m very glad I did it.”

Alister made use of USC’s Buranga Centre, a drop-in centre and study space for Indigenous students, and the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS).

“I made wonderful friends at the Buranga Centre and accessed some wonderful tutors through ITAS then went on to help fellow students as an ITAS tutor myself,” he said.

“My ultimate goal is to encourage, to mentor, to help and serve my community via the noble and rewarding profession of teaching.”

Applications are now open to start studying at USC mid-year. For more information visit or contact Student Administration at or 5430 2890.

— Jane Cameron

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