My name is Robyn Phillips, I am 50 years old and I am an Indigenous woman from Cairns, Queensland. Unfortunately, I don’t know my mob but I am exploring my family background as it is a personal passion of mine. So far, I have discovered that my maternal grandfather has links to the Yarrabah Community in Far North Queensland and this has helped me feel a stronger connection to culture and to country than ever before.
I feel that there is a huge gap within the psychological field in Australia and the more Indigenous psychologists we have, with a cultural understanding of what our people need, the better we are able to facilitate mental health awareness, support and healing within communities. My main passion is working with Indigenous youth and doing assessments that are culturally appropriate like the WASC-Y assessments developed by Dr Tracy Westerman. I hope to one day develop, through conjunction and collaboration with Torres Strait Islander Elders and community members, to design a WISC-Y assessment based in their culture.
I am extremely honoured to receive the Dr Tracy Westerman scholarship – her passion, drive and vision is inspiring and resonates deeply with me. The scholarship will not only assist me financially in completing my degree to become a clinical psychologist, but having Dr Tracy Westerman’s mentorship and guidance on this journey is beyond any money figure.
My final goal is to become a school psychologist to better assist Indigenous students and families in completing their schooling career with success – whatever that may be. Currently, from my work with Indigenous high school students I am able to see the massive barriers and obstacles that are having a profound effect on their schooling. This is one of my biggest drivers in achieving this goal as I believe education should be fair for all students while not being exclusive of their backgrounds, cultures and experiences.