27-YEAR-OLD Lilly Brown has graduated from Cambridge University in England with a Masters of Philosophy in Politics from prestigious Trinity College. Ms Brown is the first indigenous Australian to complete a degree at Cambridge.
Identifying with the Gumbangerrii people of the NSW mid north coast, Ms Brown became the first in her extended family to pursue a tertiary education when she completed a degree in history and anthropology at the University of WA.
This was followed by Honours at Melbourne University in indigenous studies focusing on activism, racial literacy and anti-racism within higher education and a secondment to McGill University in Montreal in Canada to work with the Mohawk people.
Ms Brown, originally from the Eastern Hills of Western Australia, was a 2012 recipient of the Charlie Perkins Scholarship, a scholarship to assist indigenous Australians pursue postgraduate study at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
The scholarship program is supported by the Australian and British governments, Rio Tinto, the Pratt Foundation, the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, the Cambridge Australia Trust and The McCusker Foundation.
Ms Brown told The Australian she is looking to return to Australia to help others follow in her footsteps into tertiary education.
“I see education as really being a vehicle where we can think about change,” she told The Australian.
“I am intrigued as to that process that can trigger more indigenous participation. The levels of indigenous education, the disparity is ridiculous. I really want to take a step up and specifically to close that gap.”