From a young age, Justin Stankovic looked towards the Latrobe Valley power stations eager to discover what made them tick.
This curiosity drove Justin to pursue an interest in science and education. This lifetime pursuit not only led him to become a primary school science teacher but rewarded him with the AGL Loy Yang Jungarra Wannik Scholarship from Federation University.
The name Jungarra Wannik was supplied by the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and means ‘to find your footprint’. It represents finding your footprint in education and remaining strong in your culture to achieve your goals through support, to know who you are and return to make your footprint seen in the community.
The scholarship, awarded to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander tertiary student who is also an Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) Mentor, provided Justin with the support needed to help him complete his Bachelor of Primary Education degree.
“Not only is the financial support provided by the scholarship incredibly helpful in alleviating the many obstacles a university student faces, but also the boost to self-esteem when being awarded a scholarship can help to make you feel that other people care about and believe in you,” Mr Stankovic said.
“Nothing can improve your life more than a good education – it is the most powerful tool of our mob, and knowledge is sacred amongst our Elders.
“If you’re thinking about going to university or TAFE, get into contact with the Koorie education officer at the facility. They can help you with not only your tertiary needs but also provide cultural and spiritual support as well.”
The Toongabbie Primary School science teacher thanked Federation University and AGL for their support and credited his time studying as helping to change his life.
AGL Loy Yang Head of Mine and the chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sub-committee in the Loy Yang Diversity and Inclusion group, Jeff Hobson, said AGL was proud to have helped Justin reach his goal.
“Justin has displayed a tremendous amount of passion and commitment to both his chosen field and the Aboriginal community,” Mr Hobson said.
The AGL Loy Yang Jungarra Wannik Scholarship was established to support an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander tertiary student with their education goals.