A Curtin University Indigenous law student will be studying a Master of Laws at Columbia University in the United States of America next year after being awarded the 2020 John Monash Scholarship.
Noongar woman, Chloe D’Souza, was the first Aboriginal person to graduate from the Curtin Law School in 2015 with a Bachelor of Laws. She has since returned to complete Honours in law, researching on the topic of self-determination for Indigenous peoples. Between leaving Curtin Law School and returning, Chloe was admitted to the Supreme Court of WA as a legal practitioner after working in commercial law and has since transitioned into heritage at BHP.
The John Monash Scholarships are awarded every year to exceptional Australians who have the qualities to contribute to a positive future. The Scholars possess exceptional leadership skills, intelligence, tenacity, courage and talent, and hold a vision of how their studies and future careers will benefit the nation.
Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated Ms D’Souza on being recognised for her work with Indigenous Australians.
“As part of the scholarship, Chloe will be attending Columbia University to focus on human rights law for First Nations’ peoples and constitutional recognition. She then plans to return to Australia to help bridge the gaps between government, the private sector and Indigenous communities,” Professor Terry said.
“Chloe is an inspiring example of the amazing difference our students can make and I would like to wish her all the best for her studies in the United States, as well as in her future career.”
Ms D’Souza said she was thrilled to be included in the 20 Australians chosen for the prestigious scholarship.
“I studied law because I knew from a young age that Indigenous people are so heavily affected by the law, including overrepresentation in the justice system, and a lack of meaningful consultation about laws and policies that affect communities. To link my identity to my study and career makes it that much more important to me,” Ms D’Souza said.
“A Master of Laws at Columbia, with such a prominent human rights program, will equip me with the academic engagement and experience to return home and positively contribute to this area. I also want to represent my family and community, who have been denied opportunities for a tertiary education.”
Chloe was also a participant in the 2018 Aurora Indigenous International Scholars Study Tour and recipient of the 2019 Neville Bonner Memorial Scholarship in support of her Honours study.
The 2020 cohort will undertake their postgraduate studies at world leading institutions in the UK, USA, Asia and Europe, such as Oxford, Cambridge, University College London, Kings College London, Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, INSEAD, MIT, and Sciences Po.
Further information on the John Monash Scholars can be found online here.