The journey to pulling on a cap and gown was long and full of hurdles but worth every minute for Charles Darwin University (CDU) graduate Imogene Briston.
Larrakia woman Imogene is graduating with from CDU with a Bachelor of Laws this week. She’s one of 95 First Nations people receiving a qualification this semester.
The mother of three enrolled in the Bachelor of Law later in life, inspired by her love of legal studies and debating from high school and the desire to pursue a new professional path.
Imogene said while the lifechanging decision to begin a degree came with its challenges: juggling motherhood, sports, and work around studying – being a role model to her children and the possibility of making a difference drove her persevere.
“It was a real learning curve, figuring out what best work for me and my family,” she said.
“There was always a motivating factor to show (my kids) that you can achieve in higher education, you can get these jobs, you can be a voice at the table for Aboriginal people, speak up for the ones that are disadvantaged and advocate in times of crisis when they need your help.”
Imogene, who currently works for the North Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Service, has a passion for youth law and family law. She plans to continue using her skills and now qualification to support and advocate for vulnerable Territorians.
She urged other First Nations people to consider a qualification and career in law.
“It seems like a big marathon at the start but take it at your own pace,” Imogene said.
“We need more Indigenous lawyers in the NT advocating and speaking for our people.
Although it was a long process it has been a learning journey, at the end of it been able to use these skills in not only my working life but everyday life with advocating for family and friends.”
This semester CDU is celebrating 1,023 students graduating: 661 in higher education and 362 in vocational education, including seven students becoming Doctors of Philosophy.
This semester also marks the first time in 12 years CDU has hosted the Darwin graduations at the Casuarina campus, at the newly refurbished community hall.
CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman congratulated this semester’s cohort on their academic achievements.
“This week we’re celebrating the hard work, perseverance and dedication of the Northern Territory’s next generation of leaders and changemakers,” Professor Bowman said.
“We cannot wait to see how their brilliant minds and skills will help to shape the Northern Territory, Australia and beyond."