Nura Gili stellar student Owen Walsh became the first Indigenous student with a UNSW degree in Information Systems, when he graduated last week with his dual degree (Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Information Systems).
Owen, who now works for the Cyber Security Practice at KPMG, won the top academic award for an undergraduate Indigenous student studying business 3 years running (2014-2016) in the
Nura Gili annual awards.
Owen has had a passion for technology for many years and chose to study at UNSW because of the calibre of its teaching in Information Systems. While at UNSW, he advocated for the course as an essential part of business studies for Indigenous students. As a result, Information Systems is a core part of the UNSW Indigenous Pre-Program in Business.
Owen was a Student Ambassador, a guest lecturer and mentor for Indigenous students (UNSW Indigenous Winter School program and UNSW Indigenous pre-program, both in Business). He also secured internships at Tourism Australia and KPMG. He continues to give back and is employed by Nura Gili as a tutor for Indigenous students studying Commerce.
Dr Daniel Schlagwein, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems who taught and mentored Owen, says: “I have been very impressed with Owen’s substantial improvement and development over time, becoming an academic high-achiever and personally increasingly confident in himself.”
In addition to academic success, Owen has made significant impact as a cultural spokesperson at key conferences, seminars, training, competitions and events. He was a panellist at the inaugural Indigenous Business Month event in Sydney in 2015.
“As an Indigenous man in business, I have come to learn that every day, throughout my work and my studies I have followed the footsteps of my ancestors, paying tribute to the long-standing business practices that have been part of my culture for over 60,000 years,” says Owen. “I believe the wider business and technology world can learn so much from the deep and continuing traditions of Aboriginal Business.”
Rebecca Harcourt, Program Manager Indigenous Business Education at UNSW, said: “Owen’s journey from Wagga Wagga to studying at UNSW Sydney was not an easy transition and his success is a testament to his perseverance and the support provided by his family, Nura Gili and UNSW Business School.”
“Here at UNSW we strive to foster an environment where we can add real value and support to the growing numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people embracing and navigating the currencies of business knowledge and practice to strengthen, improve and determine their lives, the lives of their families and their communities.
“Sitting with Owen’s Mum Jen and Dad Barry at Owen’s graduation, we all shed a tear. They are so proud of his achievements to date and know this is not only a beginning for Owen but also for many more generations to come.”
Contact: Rebecca Harcourt, Program Manager Indigenous Business Education UNSW Business School +61 2 9395 9746
More about Owen:
To listen to the podcast with Owen at our Indigenous Business Month event and learn more about UNSW Indigenous Business education, students, graduates and programs