Turning dreams into reality through strong identity and learning
Tuesday 26 May 2015
At 19, Daniel Hamilton has already shown his leadership qualities and an enthusiasm to give back to his community.
In 2014, Daniel was awarded one of Bond University’s prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Elite Scholarships which saw him relocate from his home in Darwin to the Gold Coast to commence a double degree in Law and International Relations.
“Daniel is highly driven, well-liked by his peers and a great asset to the Nyombil Centre” says Jason Murray, Manager of the Nyombil Centre at Bond University.
Each year, year 12 students from around Australia are chosen to receive the full-fee Vice-Chancellor’s Elite Scholarship. Recipients are chosen through a selection process, based not only on the students’ ability to excel academically, but also on their leadership skills and commitment to their community.
“(The scholarship) has encouraged me to pursue my dreams. It has also made me realise that who you identify yourself as, what you know and what you’re willing to learn, is what it actually means to be Indigenous in this day and age.”
Applications for Bond University’s Vice-Chancellor’s Elite Scholarship are currently open and will close on 31 July. Find more information and details on how to apply here.
Early leadership and community service
In 2011, Daniel was selected to take part in the Foundation for Young Australians’ IMPACT program, a three-year Indigenous leadership program which begins in Year 10 and supports students to complete Year 12 and embark on their transition into work, study or volunteering. Daniel reflects,
“Overall I think the IMPACT program has been an excellent experience for me. What it’s done is given me the chance to do things that I wouldn’t have normally done, like stepping outside of my comfort zone.”
While studying for his HSC, Daniel also held positions with a number of local community groups and organisations. These included the National Youth Advisory Committee for the Australian Red Cross and the United Nations Youth Association, which connected him with other young Australians pushing for positive change and solidified his interest in foreign affairs.
In 2014, Daniel was one of three finalists for The Minister for Young Territorians Excellence in Youth Leadership Award.
Applying for his scholarship
“My school in Darwin was a collegiate partner of Bond University. A member of the Bond University staff came and spoke to students at a school assembly about scholarships and I knew straight away that it was something I wanted to apply for."
“The Bond university scholarship application process was very simple. You fill out a general application form and they assess you for all scholarships you might be eligible for.”
Daniel offers the following advice for other Indigenous students looking at applying for scholarships:
“Just be persistent. There’s a lot of information out there it’s just a matter of finding it. Don’t be afraid of asking questions because it pays off in the end.”
Support at uni
“The biggest challenge of university was time management and finding the self-discipline to study but I’m interested in what I’m studying and I had a lot of support so that makes it easier.”
Part of that support came in the form of Bond’s Mentorship program. The program, which commenced in 2014, pairs recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Elite Scholarship with industry leaders based in their relevant field of study.
Through this innovative program, Daniel was matched with Tony Hickey, owner and manager of Hickey Lawyers, one of the largest legal firms on the Gold Coast.
“Tony is a really great guy. The first time I met him we had family dinner at his house. He’s been a great support. Whenever I need help or support I know I can just call him”.
He found further support at The Nyombil Indigenous Support Centre which provides a dedicated study, personal, professional and cultural support environment for Bond’s Indigenous students. Staffed by an Indigenous Cultural Support Officer and Centre Manager, it also serves to connect students with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, fostering their sense of cultural pride and identity.
“The Nyombil Centre is a quiet place to sit down and relax and study. Jason and Narelle [Urquhart] are really helpful and it’s a great place to network and connect with other students.”
In addition to the Vice-Chancellor’s Elite Scholarship, Bond also offers Indigenous scholarships to a number of successful first year students each year. Scholarship recipients are selected based on their contribution to their community, connection to culture and interview performance rather than on academic merit alone and all Indigenous students are encouraged to apply.
Applications for Bond University Indigenous Scholarships are currently open and close on 31 July 2015. Find more information and details on how to apply here.
Plans for the future
After completing of his undergraduate degree, Daniel plans to continue his studies and is looking at undertaking his Masters in Arts or Political Science.
‘‘My main goal after university is to work for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and, ultimately, for the diplomatic corps.’’
Having recently commenced a cadetship with the Department of Attorney-General and Justice, Daniel seems well on his way to achieving his goal.