Indigenous Alumni

Charles Sturt University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year – Indigenous Alumni

This award recognises outstanding indigenous leaders in their industry, profession or field of research who have made or are making a significant difference in both local and/or wider communities


Name: Mr. Peter Matsumoto
Career: Community Engagement Coordinator
Studies: 2016, Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health)

Peter supports his local indigenous community through counselling and gatherings that take place in a cultural way. He provides Cultural Awareness training to the Non-Indigenous community to contribute towards building stronger understanding and connection between both the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous community members.

Peter Matsumoto

Highly Commended

Name: Mrs. Erica Smits
Career: NSW Aboriginal Land Council
Studies: 2020, Bachelor of Business (Management)

I left school in year 10 and started a family young which meant I had to put my career aside to get a job to support my family. I finally found myself after working my way up to a place I could finally go to uni. I then started my career at NSW Aboriginal Land Council as a Project Officer and during my time with the organisation have completed a number of courses at TAFE, as well as a Bachelor of Business with Charles Sturt, to progress her career.

I am currently the Director of the Sydney/Newcastle region for the NSWALC – a career goal i set out to achieve 5 years ago. I now hope to continue my work with the organisation to one day become CEO. I was also a finalist for the 2020 Dreamtime awards.


This award recognises young alumni (under the age of 35) who are having an impact and inspiring others through their professional achievements or service to community.

Other criteria

  1. Applicants must be 35 years or younger in the year of the award.
  2. Alumni (local on international) who demonstrate:
    1. exceptional success in their chosen industry or field; and/or
    2. the significant positive impact they have had on their community.
  3. Alumni who demonstrate through their work, professional or community, alignment with one or all of the University’s values of insightful, inclusive, impactful and inspiring.
  • Process guidelines and policy


    The Alumni Award nominations will be assessed by an internal University committee.  Award recipients who have been nominated by someone else will be contacted to ensure they are happy to formally accept the nomination prior to formal advice being sent out.