National Environmental Science Program: Luke West

My name is Luke West, and as a recipient of an Agilent sponsored scholarship I have been able to pursue both my university studies and other professional passions beyond what I had thought I would be able to. Throughout the last year whilst studying a number of opportunities have opened up for me, and without financial stress I have been able to take these opportunities head on.

One such example, was I was able to travel to Canberra thanks to the National Environmental Science Program, to attend and assist in running talks called “Indigenous Science Conversations in National Science Week”.

The trip to the National Environmental Science Program conference on Indigenous conversations in science was a very poignant trip. I have learnt much about problems that Indigenous people and communities are facing in modern science, but also it has allowed me to reflect on how as a young palawa man I am able to help my own communities in the face of these issues.

I have learnt plenty from the Indigenous speakers who I was lucky enough to be able to spend plenty of time listening to, both on stage and off. From these people, who serve as role models for Aboriginal people coming into the sciences, I learnt about my responsibilities as an Aboriginal man, with respect to knowledge sharing and ensuring my community can be properly represented in the scientific studies.

This trip has impassioned me about ensuring Indigenous science is shared with both young Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, this is so all Australians can recognise the contributions Aboriginal knowledge has added to science, as well as show young Aboriginal people that they have a place in modern science.

I have also gained valuable contacts through the trip, that have lead to a number of opportunities already being opened up to me in the past week. From joining a ‘Science Delivery’ roadshow team where I have been asked to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into the show that will be visiting rural schools with high Indigenous populations, to an interview to join an international tour of some of the world’s most prestigious universities.