Courtney Kelly.
23 July 2015

The first female Indigenous student to graduate in the 65-year history of The University of Queensland’s mining engineering program will do so at a ceremony on Friday, July 24 at 2pm.

Courtney Kelly – the first in her family to attend university - will receive her Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) before swapping the sandstone of UQ’s St Lucia campus for a position at Woodside Petroleum in Perth.

“I feel like I’ve come full circle,” Courtney said, who studied on a three-year scholarship from natural resources company Glencore.

“I always aspired to study at UQ while at high school, and relocated from my hometown of Innisfail to follow that dream,” she said.

“And now I have the opportunity to follow my next dream.”

“Throughout my studies at UQ, I became extremely interested in the natural gas industry, so I am incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with industry leader Woodside.” 

Her graduation bolsters UQ’s Women in Engineering program, which aims to provide a balance of outstanding engineers.

UQ’s Head of the Division of Mining, Professor Peter Knights said Courtney entered the Australian mining employment market at a challenging time due to lower minerals commodity prices.

However the cyclical nature of prices meant that students entering the mining engineering program this year would most likely graduate into a rising market scenario.

“Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore and coking coal,” Professor Knights said.

“Any upswing in global economic activity will drive demand for qualified graduates from our engineering programs.

“With a significant increase in the amount of students graduating from mining engineering as compared to mid-semester 2014, the latest cohort of students will be in demand as the resources market recovers.”

Media: Madelene Flanagan + 61 7 3365 8525, or