Announcing the Diana Ryall Scholarship winners
We are delighted to announce that Nicole Peyton-Smith and Kumudika de Silva are the very worthy recipients of the inaugural Diana Ryall Scholarship 2020.
We received 28 applications from Indigenous and CALD (Culturally And Linguistically Diverse) women from across Australia. The applicants were diverse and the calibre of applications was outstanding, making it very difficult to select our two winners. In fact, based on the exceptional quality of the applications, we have offered all of the scholarship applicants with a complimentary place at an Xplore Career Resilience program. The virtual programs have been scheduled; all scholarship applicants invited; and Diana Ryall is booked as the guest speaker for each program, ensuring that all of the women benefit from her sharing and wisdom.
Please join us in congratulating Nicole and Kumudika.
Nicole is a proud Gunggari woman from South West Queensland. She has worked tirelessly as a Social Worker for the past 20 years and recently completed her Law degree as a mature age student. She is now an admitted Lawyer in Queensland.
During her career, Nicole has worked in the care, intervention and case management of Indigenous communities, families and people. Her work has always required a high level of cultural sensitivity, advanced conflict resolution skills and a great deal of emotional resilience.
Nicole’s lived experience and history as a Social Worker has given her deep knowledge and a unique perspective on the complex system of the range of issues that impact Aboriginal people.
Nicole’s mother was a member of the Stolen Generation and a passionate advocate for Aboriginal issues. Nicole is now following in her footsteps and is determined to create a legacy herself by playing her part in the advancement of Aboriginal rights.
Indigenous rights and racial equality are issues that are finally on the agenda in Australia, and Nicole believes that this scholarship will assist her to become a key player in bringing about equity and justice for our First Nations People.
“I am greatly frustrated and fascinated at how the workings of the justice system impact on Aboriginal people. Not just due to our over-representation within the prison system and deaths in custody but as a whole over-arching cycle of systemic disadvantage. This is something which I wish to challenge and change.” – Nicole Peyton-Smith
Kumudika de Silva
Kumudika is an Immunologist by training and a graduate of the Australian National University (ANU). Today, she works as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney.
Kumi first arrived in Australia as an international student and has now made her home here. She describes herself as “a woman, a mother, a migrant with a ‘difficult’ name and someone who perhaps doesn’t look Australian”.
Over the past few years, Kumi has found opportunities to use her diversity as an asset to influence change. She joined the University of Sydney’s committee, which wrote the successful application for addressing gender equity in science (SAGE) and was a voice and an advocate for issues related to CALD women, as well as for those on precariously funded research contracts. To further campaign for CALD staff, Kumi co-founded ‘Mosaic’,which is a staff network that not only provides networking support but is actively seeking to influence the university’s policies and practices.
Diana Ryall is a huge supporter of women in STEM, and the Xplore team feel it is perfect to have an Immunologist – a medical scientist – as a scholarship winner in 2020, as the world experiences the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Cultural diversity within leadership in Australia is abysmal – for both men and women – and I want to be part of the force that facilitates a much-needed change. This cannot be done just by appointing a few individuals into select positions. There must be systemic change. But we also need to encourage and support people from under-represented groups to appreciate that they can aspire to leadership positions and lead the change that is essential for more inclusive communities.” – Kumudika de Silva
Virtual Career Resilience: Our in-house programs