As an Indigenous Australian Jason decided to study the Yapug program, designed specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, as a pathway to study environmental science.

Having been several years since he had studied and with nobody in his family having attended university, Jason took the leap and enrolled in the Yapug program at the University of Newcastle as a way of getting into his dream degree.

"As a mature-aged Indigenous student, finding out I got into the Yapug program was one of the best moments of my life - my mum and my sisters were so proud. I completed the Yapug program through the Wollotuka Institute, they provided me with so much support and encouragement to help me go on to further study and I am now studying a degree at the University of Newcastle” said Jason.

After completing the Yapug program Jason was awarded a Ma & Morley Scholarship and is currently studying a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management. “I am the first person in my immediate family to attend university, I never believed I could do it. Words cannot express how much my life has changed after studying Yapug, but more importantly it is what it has done for my family that matters most” he said.

Jason has faced many challenges to study at university but has remained persistent in his pursuit of completing his degree. “University has been very difficult for me, I suffer anxiety and panic attacks and the stress of uni exacerbates the anxiety, I have had to learn everything from scratch, so this has meant working twice as hard as everyone else,” said Jason.

Jason hopes to inspire other Indigenous students to attend university to help protect Indigenous knowledges. “I hope completing university will inspire my Indigenous brothers and sisters to come to university. After all, if I can make small changes in people’s mindset around how important Indigenous knowledge is to the survival of our planet I would of have done my job”.

Learn more about Yapug
Jason Connor

Jason Connor

Having been several years since he had studied and with nobody in his family having attended university, Jason took the leap and enrolled in the Yapug program at the University of Newcastle as a way of getting into his dream degree.

I am the first person in my immediate family to attend university, I never believed I could do it. Words cannot express how much my life has changed after studying Yapug.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.