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New scholarships to train the next generation of Indigenous psychologists

Media release

Curtin graduate and Western Australia’s Australian of the Year for 2018 Dr Tracy Westerman, in collaboration with Curtin University, has launched a unique scholarship program for Indigenous students to study psychology.

The Dr Tracy Westerman Aboriginal Psychology Scholarship Program will support Aboriginal students to study psychology at Curtin University in undergraduate or postgraduate courses.

Dr Westerman, the Managing Director of Indigenous Psychological Services, will personally donate $10,000 per annum over five years, totalling $50,000, to launch the new scholarship program.

“The Dr Tracy Westerman Aboriginal Psychology Scholarship Program will aim to foster the development of the next generation of clinicians committed to researching and delivering evidence-based, best practice into our high-risk communities,” Dr Westerman said.

“As a proud Njamal woman from the Pilbara region of Western Australia, my vision is to support students with remote and rural connections through their university studies with the aim of becoming Aboriginal psychologists skilled in Indigenous-specific mental health and suicide prevention and intervention programs.”

Dr Westerman invited private, corporate and government organisations to support the new scholarships by donating to the program.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry thanked Dr Westerman for her generous support for Indigenous education and encouraged other organisations to support the worthy cause.

“This scholarship program offers a unique opportunity to invest in Aboriginal education and the future wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable regional and remote communities,” Professor Terry said.

“The University remains committed to supporting more Indigenous young people to further their education and the Dr Tracy Westerman Aboriginal Psychology Scholarship Program will help train future psychologists to make a real difference in regional and remote communities.”

In 2003, Dr Westerman became the first Aboriginal person to complete a combined Master/PhD in Clinical Psychology, after completing her postgraduate studies at Curtin University.

Applicants will be required to meet eligibility criteria, including connections to and a desire to continue their work in rural and remote communities on completion of their studies.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the scholarship program can contact Natasha Allchurch on (08) 9266 3080 or visit