Apunipima has long believed that to make real change you need to start at the grassroots level. Any change needs to be community led and community driven and what better way to do that than support young people from Cape York to reach their full potential. Each year the Bernie Singleton Scholarship is awarded to a young Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander person from Cape York who is embarking or currently undertaking university education in Health or Management related studies. The scholarship provides financial assistance to the young person with the aim ease the financial burden higher studies can bring.
We recently caught up with Nathan Geno, the 2017 recipient of the Bernie Singleton Scholarship, in his final weeks at home, before he returns to Brisbane to begin his second year of study.
Nathan is currently studying a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane. Apunipima is very proud to support Nathan in his aspirations to be a physiotherapist and come back home and share his knowledge with his family and community.
Nathan’s summer holiday has not been all relaxation, beaches and fun, he has been working at Thursday Island Hospital, assisting the administration team in patient records and reception. “I am working at the Hospital on Thursday Island during my holidays so that I can concentrate on my studies during semester.”
The scholarship funds have offset the cost of accommodation in Brisbane and are also covering the cost of course materials and textbooks. “Living at the college means that I am close to all of my classes and I get study assistance from the college tutors.” Nathan said.
2017 was a very busy year for Nathan. It was his first year at university and he played for 2 football teams in his downtime. He played for Emmanuel College’s Rugby Union side and their Touch Football team.
His first year at university wasn’t quite what he expected. “When I was at boarding school in Cairns, you had the support and encouragement of your teachers. At uni, it’s up to me to get the work done. That’s fine though, I’m doing well and really enjoying the classes.” He said.
In a few short weeks Nathan heads back to begin his second year at UQ. “What I am looking forward to this year is practical classes in strapping. I think it will come in really handy with footy.” He said.
Nathan plans on staying in Brisbane immediately following his graduation to gain some hands on experience, but in the long term, he will return home. “Once I have some experience I plan on returning to Thursday Island to work as a Physio.”
Nathan is passionate about helping his people improve their long-term health through good access to allied health services and proven preventative strategies like exercise and physical activity. “I want to help my people suffering from musculoskeletal disease or injury to have a better quality of life and show them ways that they can prevent chronic conditions.”
A keen sportsman, Nathan also wants to be a positive role model to the people if the Torres Strait, “If I can encourage people to be more active, I know that will help to reduce chronic disease and injury and improve the overall health of my people.”
Nathan’s 2018 goals include continuing to get good grades, develop his practical skills and playing club football.