Josh Cubillo | Alumni | Master of Education

After completing the research pathway of the Master of Education, Josh is now embarking on a PhD with Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE). On completing his PhD he hopes to secure a role that helps to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous students. Josh shares, "the education afforded to me at MGSE has empowered me to disrupt curriculum that has worked to silence Indigenous knowledges."

Q: Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?

I was born and raised on my ancestral lands of Darwin before making the move to Adelaide to begin my teacher training at the University of South Australia.

Q: Do you mind sharing your Indigenous heritage with us?

The Larrakia and Wadjigan people are neighbouring clans of the Darwin and outer western region of Darwin. We are commonly known as the saltwater people because our daily lives are heavily influenced by activities involving the sea. The Larrakia people are made up of 8 major family groups and claim the dangalaba (crocodile) as their totem.

Q: Why did you choose to study your program?

I initially headed down the teaching path because I had really good teachers throughout my schooling who wanted to see me do well. I thought if I could emulate the same characteristics and belief my teachers had in me, I would be able to help Indigenous students reach their full potential. As well as being a current employee of University of Melbourne, my boss was the one to give me the nudge and support I needed to enrol into a Masters of Education Research course. I chose the University of Melbourne because it is my current workplace and I know the people and campus very well.

Q: Do you mind sharing which Scholarship you were awarded?

I was fortunate enough to receive the Lochrie Indigenous Leadership Scholarship. I received the scholarship in the last year of my graduate course which is essentially the research component of the degree. This was extremely helpful because I was able to purchase a laptop which allowed me the flexibility to study and work from home. The scholarship also provided the flexibility needed to alter my working arrangements so that I could put the necessary time and energy into completing my thesis and achieving the grades needed to successfully transition into doctoral studies.

Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for your scholarship?

As an Indigenous person I would encourage you to apply for scholarships to help you on your academic journeys. In my case, being a recipient of the Lochrie Indigenous Leadership Scholarship has eased the financial strain of managing a reduced workload, fulltime study and family commitments. We need Indigenous students to keep taking up these opportunities to show there is still a need for the financial assistance as we endeavour to take up tertiary studies and improve the socio-economic status of Indigenous people in Australia.

Q: Are you enjoying studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education? If so, what do you like about it?

I enjoyed my Masters so much that I enrolled into a PhD once completing. I found the research process to be really addictive, particularly because I was able to research a topic I was really passionate about. As a research student, I also enjoy the independent responsibility of getting the research done and meeting deadlines.

Q: What’s the most valuable/rewarding aspect of your program?

I think the most valuable aspect of the program was learning how to cast a critical lens over everyday occurrences, structures and events. Learning to be critical and applying the appropriate theory gave me the words and explanations I needed to describe what I have always felt about education in Australia. I feel like the education afforded to me at MGSE has empowered me to disrupt curriculum that has worked to silence Indigenous knowledges.

Q: Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?

I play local footy in Essendon. This has been a good outlet during study and work commitments. I also occupied the position as co-chair of the Indigenous Graduate Student Association which helps coordinate academic and social events for our cohort.

Q: How do you hope your course will help your career progression?

I think having a PhD will allow me to pursue an academic path or be in a position to influence education policy. A PhD will also compliment the professional skills I have which will allow me the flexibility to work in diverse environments.

Q:  What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?

I hope to complete my PhD in a timely manner and fill a position that helps to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous students.

Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting your course?

Be prepared to read and commit 100 percent. There is much more freedom and independence in research so make sure you select a topic that you’re passionate about and will drive you for the duration of your course.

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