Currently undertaking a Bachelor of Development Studies, Zoe is learning how to collaborate with communities to create meaningful change, recognising that what works for one culture or peoples may not be the best solution for another.
“Development studies is about learning how to ethically work towards social, global and cultural equality and environmental sustainability.
“Every community is full of passionate people, and I am excited to help these people realise their potential by working to dismantle the barriers they may currently face.”
Zoe was inspired to specialise in Aboriginal studies and sociology through her experience working in Darwin boarding school for Aboriginal students from remote areas – as well as her time working with refugee year 11 and 12 students in Newcastle.
“I am passionate about working and engaging with young people, specifically Indigenous youth and youth from marginalised cultural backgrounds, with the aim of self-determination.
“The impact of colonisation, institutional discrimination, racism and social inequality have meant that Indigenous and refugee youth are not given the same opportunities as the majority of Australian young people to achieve.
“As I am fortunate enough to have so many of these opportunities that others do not have, such as being able to attend university, there is nothing else that I would want to focus my studies, and future work, on.”
Zoe says the University of Newcastle has allowed her to pursue her passion, expand her skillset and be mentored and inspired by those already working in the field.
“The staff are all passionate and dedicated to creating a more socially just and sustainable world.
“This is evident through their work with organisations in the local community and remote parts of Australia. They inspire me with their dedication to social justice, and how their work, life and practices embody what we learn about in Development Studies.
“So far, I have gained a greater understanding of the origins and continuation of social inequality. This includes learning about working with Indigenous communities in a way that promotes self-determination, and the inherent strengths a community already possesses.”
As part of her degree, Zoe has embraced opportunities for global experience, including a New Columbo short course trip to South Korea.
Through the Bachelor of Development studies, Zoe Lewis is learning how to ethically work towards social, global and cultural equality, and environmental sustainability.
I am passionate about working and engaging with young people, specifically Indigenous youth and youth from marginalised cultural backgrounds, with the aim of self-determination.