AT JUST 13, Rebecca Hawkes already knows what she wants to be when she grows up.
"I want to become a counsellor because I love to help people and don't like seeing people unhappy or sad," she said.
The Bellbird Park State Secondary College student was eager to experience what university life was all about at USQ's Indigenous Connections event last week.
She was among more than 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students to visit USQ Springfield for the one-day event aimed at inspiring and exciting students to the possibilities of university study.
"I enjoyed learning about the University and the different paths you can take to end up with your dream career," Rebecca said.
"I was surprised by the amount of opportunities and activities offered at university. I'm happy that I now know studying counselling at university is a realistic option for me after high school."
Indigenous Connections provides an opportunity to interact with USQ students and staff and show that the University is a place where students are supported and able to succeed.
The event included sessions on USQ study opportunities, pathways and hands-on cultural activities, as well as stories from current students and Indigenous Elders.
The students from schools across Ipswich, Brisbane and Logan also heard from Indigenous psychiatrist Dr Derek Chong, who spoke about overcoming challenges and the importance of education.
For Rebecca, the event provided her a chance to connect with her Indigenous roots.
"My Indigenous heritage comes from my mother's side, my great aunt," she said. "I am very proud of my heritage and I enjoyed spending the day learning more about the culture and history."
USQ currently offers a range of programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through the College for Indigenous Studies, Education and Research (CISER).
For more information about the college, visit www.usq.edu.au/about- usq/faculties-sections/ciser.