Masters of Aboriginal Studies student and Administrator: UniSA Indigenous Support Services
As a shy teen Sophie approached the University's Indigenous Support Services and had a tour of UniSA with her family to see what her tertiary options might be. From there she has completed a full circle and immersed herself back into the UniSA community; as student, scholarship recipient and staff member. Sophie is an active member of the Deadly Alumni Chapter, and as one of the 25th Birthday Enterprising Faces.
Sophie’s enthusiasm for education was instilled in her at a young age by both of her parents. Sophie’s late father and her mother - who is a primary school teacher - both valued the importance of education.
Sophie completed a Bachelor of Sport & Recreation Management in 2013 with the support of two scholarships; the Business School Indigenous Scholarship and the Indigenous Access Scholarship.
“These scholarships were incredibly helpful for my studies. I lived two hours away from the Mawson Lakes Campus and the financial assistance covered my petrol costs. I learn through conversations, so to be able to afford the petrol to attend my classes was essential.”
“I believe that everyone should look into their opportunities and apply for scholarships and grants. Anything is possible regardless of who you are. Study your passion and find out about your pathway options.”
While Sophie was studying she worked as a Community Development casual employee for the Port Adelaide Football Club. When she graduated from UniSA she was offered further employment with Member Services throughout the Adelaide Oval transition and continued involvement in Indigenous and Multicultural Engagement.
“Working for Port Adelaide Football Club is like working with family. However, I realised that I am community minded and wanted to spend more time working with youth and support services.”
Sophie started working with Mission Australia's Youth Drug and Alcohol Services providing support for five different programs, and also found time to volunteer for Green Team, which is an Encounter Youth Services program, to increase her skills. While the experience was highly valuable for personal and professional development, Sophie decided to return to UniSA and study her Masters in Aboriginal Studies.
“I was seeking new challenges and this was something I had wanted to pursue for a while.”
As well as her studies, Sophie is also employed at UniSA’s Indigenous Support Services and is providing advice to potential and current students – just as she previously received.
“It is important to me to make sure other people are supported when considering tertiary education and while studying at UniSA, like I was.”
She is also an active member of the Deadly Alumni Chapter, which is an initiative for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander UniSA graduates to connect with each other. Sophie is hoping to draw upon her community experience and assist in establishing a mentoring service within the Chapter. She is also working on new events for Chapter members and encourages others to join.
Sophie Murray’s personal and professional motto is inspiring; “if you have an opportunity to help others, then take advantage of it.”
Sophie’s advice for new graduates is, “Always say ‘yes.’ Volunteer your time and work as a casual to gain experience and find out about what you want to pursue. Find an organisation that you admire and start small to gain the relevant skills and network. The opportunities are endless.”