A childhood scarred by alcoholism and domestic violence can prove crippling in later life, but not for a young Wiradjuri man from Dubbo who is on track to become a doctor.
Kieran Shipp, 25, has completed a University of Newcastle pathway program called Yapug, which supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enter degree courses.
He is enrolling in the university’s Joint Medical Program which has helped produce “one third of Australia’s practicing Indigenous doctors”.
As a Ma & Morley scholar, the graduate of Dubbo College Senior Campus has joined the ranks of University of Newcastle students “who want to change the world”.
But the former Group 11 premiership winner with Dubbo CYMS has had to pull himself up by his bootstraps to get to where he is today.
“My early childhood had all the right ingredients for a failed adulthood, including alcoholism, domestic violence and the Department of Family and Community Services,” Mr Shipp said.
“I wanted to break this cycle and be a good, strong male role model for my kids when I have them, and to my siblings coming up behind me. Becoming a doctor is something I never thought possible.”
Mr Shipp felt compelled to take the tertiary education plunge after seven years as a public servant “doing some good work in the community”.
“My main motivation for entering the Yapug program was that I wanted to be more than what I was becoming at home and I wanted to have a greater impact on my community,” he said.
Famiy members have already been motivated by his determination.
“My sister will be studying teaching this year while my aunty will be studying a human resource course,” Mr Shipp said.
“I’m really proud to be doing something that empowers the people around me.”
Mr Shipp’s advice to others looking to go to university is “enrol in the course you want to do and not the one you think is easier”.
“You don’t want to look back and think that you settled for the degree you got because you didn’t believe in yourself,” he said.
The University of Newcastle reports that Yapug is one of its three “enabling” programs which have helped about 30,000 students pursue degrees since 1974.
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