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Inspiring the next generation of women in STEM

Name: Tahlia Prior
Age: 22
Graduated: Year 12, 2015, St Peters Lutheran College
Studying: Bachelor of Engineering at Curtin University
From: Perth, WA

When she was in Year 11, Tahlia’s mother enrolled her at St Peters Lutheran College in Brisbane. She wanted her daughter to enjoy the benefits of being at a school that could provide a quality boarding school education.

“I loved school. I loved learning, loved seeing my friends every day and having the opportunity to live with them. I didn’t realise that boarding school would be the best experience of my life so far.”

Proudly Wadjuk Nyungar from the Ballardong Nations in WA, Tahlia believes attending boarding school helped her build more independence and responsibility. “It definitely allowed me to learn more about myself.”

Her favourite subject was Maths, and Tahlia also participated in the cross-country team. “I love running so that’s something I would do a couple of times a week after school.”

At the same time, Tahlia couldn’t wait to finish Year 12 and start university. “Engineering is something I’ve wanted to do since I was 15 years old. I couldn’t wait to begin my journey to becoming an engineer.”

Tahlia committed to her studies and decided to go down the path of construction; she is now working as a project engineer. As a young woman working in the male-dominated STEM industry, Tahlia is also passionate about helping others achieve their goals. “I would like to become involved in mentoring programs for Indigenous high school students.”

Tahlia is also passionate about supporting her family’s organisation, which provides low cost rental housing in the community. “As I get older I’ll take over the management from the Elders, so my mother has been teaching me how to run the corporation. I hope to build the company up to help more of our family and community.”

Tahlia’s advice to other young Indigenous people is to persevere and reach out for support.

“Never give up on your dreams and goals. It can be hard sometimes, but just know it won’t be like that forever. You are more than capable of achieving your goals. It’s about building a strong work ethic and applying yourself.”

Tahlia sees receiving her AIEF Scholarship as a case of perfect timing.

“AIEF is such a great organisation and they have the most amazing, genuine and supportive team who are passionate about their jobs. AIEF has helped so many Indigenous students and continues to do that by increasing the number of students completing Year 12 and going into higher education. It’s so important that organisations like AIEF exist, because we need to eliminate the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

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The mentors have all played a wonderfully positive role in the lives of our students, and we've been enormously grateful to them for their commitment, energy and time.

Staff member at an AIEF Partner School


The AIEF Scholarship Program and the AIEF Pathways Program are supported by the Australian Government in collaboration with individual, philanthropic and corporate supporters from the private sector.