Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle Foundation.
My name is Murray and I have currently been a scholar with The Pinnacle Foundation since 2019. I grew up in the Blue Mountains upon the lands of the Darug and Gundungurra people. It was during High School when I was involved in advocacy for the Safe Schools Coalition Australia that I first heard about The Pinnacle Foundation. A few years later, prior to commencing my third year of undergraduate study, I applied for The Pinnacle Foundation program.
I am now in my fourth year of a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney. Throughout my studies I have had the opportunity to complete internships with various non-government organisations, as well as having undertaken a field school in India on economic and environmental development. Whilst not entirely clear on the path ahead, I look forward to further exploring my interests in public policy and social research as well as forging new experiences.
What have you gained from being part of the Pinnacle program so far?
Being a part of The Pinnacle Foundation program has had a strong positive impact upon multiple aspects of my life. I have been connected with an incredible group of queer people, some of whom I have developed strong relationships and look forward to knowing for years to come. The Pinnacle family, including all scholars, mentors, staff and volunteers, are an incredible group of people who continuously support and inspire one another.
The financial assistance offered by the scholarship has allowed me to access educational resources and health services I otherwise would have forgone. It also allowed to access opportunities that would have otherwise not have been feasible – such as spending two weeks in Darwin undertaking a placement with the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission during July 2019. The financial support also aided my ability to relocate to the city so that I am much closer to university.
What has your experience with your mentor been like?
My relationship with my mentor has provided invaluable support. He has assisted me in navigating a range of academic and personal challenges for which I am very grateful. The ability to discuss ideas or decisions with someone with shared life experiences provides me with information and insight. The ability of The Pinnacle Foundation to match scholars with mentors of backgrounds and areas of study is a testament to their comprehensive support.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about applying for The Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship Program?
There is no shame in asking for assistance. We all emerge from different backgrounds and will face unique challenges along life’s journey. Individuals and organisations can offer incredible support, and I strongly encourage anyone contemplating making an application to The Pinnacle Foundation to do so.