In July 2019, the Norman Beischer Medical Research Foundation was delighted to present Deakin University with a $320,000 gift. 

The gift will support two Indigenous students every year from 2020 to 2023, while they complete up to four years of study within the Faculty of Health.

The Ernie Williams Indigenous Scholarship program honours the intentions of Ernest Daniel (Ernie) Williams, a real estate advisor to the Norman Beischer for many years, before his death in 2014.

In 2024, the Foundation is delighted to introduce the successful recipients of the Ernie Williams Indigenous Nursing Scholarship 


Growing up in the community, I developed a huge passion to become an Indigenous health worker in my home community of Yorke Island in the Torres Strait. Eventually as I have grown older, I started to gain the interest to become a registered nurse practitioner.

Since leaving high school in 2009, I started my first vocational education training in Brisbane at an Indigenous Education Training Facility studying a Certificate III in ATSI Primary Health Care. Due to limited employment opportunity on the Island, I ventured off to work in various other organisations in the community for sustainable reasons.

Later in 2016, I recommenced further training in Primary Health Care studying at Certificate IV level qualification at TAFE QLD. Once I gained this qualification, it gave me insights into the practical component of primary health and the vital role it plays in the community.

Since gaining this experience, I started to practice in the areas of prevention and promotion to focus on the main issues that are affecting our people in this region. In 2021, I enrolled to study a Diploma in Primary Health Care at TAFE QLD and successfully completed this course in 2023.

Having this diploma qualification has equipped me with additional knowledge that has enabled me to become an advanced senior health worker. Although being an Indigenous Health Worker was my initial goal,

I am ready to accept the challenges of undertaking tertiary education to obtain a board-certified qualification in becoming a Registered Nurse Practitioner.

After weighing out my options as to which tertiary educational institution may be suitable for my needs, I have decided to enrol in the Bachelor of Nursing degree at NIKERI Institute at Deakin University. I decided to study at Deakin University simply because of its delivery mode. As tertiary education can be daunting at times, Deakin allows me to study full-time through flexible learning via Community Base Delivery mode.

NIKERI Institute will enable me to maintain focus on study and a seamless personal and study life balance. I will have the opportunity to study at home and travel to campus to attend a week-long intensive residential block. These blocks will give me the opportunity to engage with the students and lectures in my cohort as well as being trained in a state of the art simulated practical lab.

My main goal is to complete this course and work in the Emergency Department in a hospital. I would like to learn as much as I can working in emergency medicine so that I am capable working in a rural and remote setting. Working in an ED will give me the knowledge and understanding to work under pressure without a medical officer present.

Seeing how registered nurse practitioners operate in a PHC setting requires them to have on-going training in emergency medicine, which specialises in remote and rural communities.

They inspire me so much that I feel emotional believing in myself that one day, I will fill their shoes and be a role model to my people in the Torres Strait. Because this course is my first priority, I resigned from Queensland Health as an Indigenous health worker to commit three years of full-time studies.

This scholarship will take care of my financial burdens from living situations to funding study resources and also contribute to the costs of setting up my home study space. At the moment, all I have is a corner desk and my laptop. I am looking at purchasing desktop monitors, printers, a study desk and other essentials to support me for the duration of my study period.

I grew up in a small country town in New South Wales. Living in a rural area has significantly impacted both my personal life and my academic pursuits in profound ways. The unique challenges and opportunities presented by rural living have shaped my approach to education, my perspective on the world, and my aspirations for the future. I also grew up without a father. Being raised by a single mother has helped me grow into the resilient and determined individual I am today. While my childhood was marked by challenges and obstacles, it was also defined by strength, perseverance, and the never-ending support of my mother. Growing up in a rural community meant that resources and opportunities were often limited, but it also fostered a strong sense of community and belonging. Despite the absence of my father, I was surrounded by a network of supportive people, including my family and friends. Their encouragement and guidance instilled in me a deep appreciation for the value of community and the importance of extending a helping hand to those in need. Being raised by a single mother taught me the true meaning of resilience and self-reliance. My mother worked tirelessly to provide for our family, juggling multiple responsibilities without ever losing sight of her dedication to my brothers’ well-being and mine. Her strength and love served as a constant source of inspiration and motivation, empowering me to overcome adversity and pursue my dreams despite the odds. While the absence of a father figure left a void in my life, it also taught me the importance of resilience, adaptability, and the power of perseverance in the face of adversity. My upbringing has instilled in me a deep sense of empathy and resilience, qualities that I carry with me as I navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I am determined to honour the sacrifices made by my mother and the support of my community by striving to make a positive impact.

I have chosen to pursue Nursing, because of the desire to make a difference in the lives of others, providing compassionate care and support during vulnerable moments. The field of nursing also presents opportunities for continual learning and professional growth. Each day brings new challenges to learn, to adapt, and to grow into the best possible version of myself. From a young age, I’ve felt a desire to make a difference in the lives of others and to be a source of comfort and healing during tough times. Nurses run in my family, so by having such early and continual exposure to the career and hearing the stories first hand, I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do.

My actions have a direct impact on improving someone’s well-being, whether it’s comforting a distressed patient or simply lending a listening ear, every interaction holds the potential to make a meaningful difference. Nursing also offers a dynamic and diverse career path. The field encompasses a wide range of specialties with endless opportunities for growth and exploration. I’m drawn to the ever-evolving nature of nursing, where each day presents new challenges to overcome and new skills to master. But most importantly, I chose nursing because of the profound sense of connection and empathy it fosters. Nursing isn’t just about treating symptoms or administering medication; it’s about forming genuine bonds with patients and their families, providing comfort and support during their darkest moments. I chose nursing, because it’s more than just a career, it’s a path that resonates deeply with my values and aspirations and I couldn’t imagine pursuing any other profession.

Receiving this scholarship is a transformative opportunity for me as I pursue my nursing degree. As a dedicated and passionate student, I have encountered various challenges throughout my academic journey, particularly in managing the financial burdens associated with higher education. This scholarship would provide crucial financial support that would significantly alleviate the burden of study costs, allowing me to focus on my studies and clinical experiences. Beyond the financial assistance, receiving this scholarship will also serve as a validation of my hard work, determination, and potential as a future nurse. It will inspire me to continue striving for excellence in all aspects of my academic and professional endeavours, knowing that my efforts are recognized and supported by generous individuals.

Ultimately, this scholarship will not only help me to complete my nursing degree but will also enable me to fulfil my dreams of making a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and communities. I am incredibly grateful for this scholarship and am eager to continue my journey towards becoming a compassionate and competent nurse. Growing up, I have witnessed firsthand the barriers to healthcare access and the impact of geographic isolation on health outcomes. I am keen to work remotely in the Northern Territory among these communities with my Nursing degree. As a proud Wiradjuri woman, I bring cultural insights, empathy, and a deep understanding of community dynamics to my future nursing practice. I am committed to building trust and rapport with patients by acknowledging and respecting their cultural beliefs, traditions, and experiences.