Robyn McMillan - Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) - 2011

Robyn McMillan

Associate Lecturer, Djirruwang Program, Charles Sturt

Robyn McMillan began her learning journey at the age of 60 and hasn’t looked back.

When ill-health prevented her from continuing full-time work, Robyn began study through TAFE and became an Aboriginal Health Worker. She then continued her studies with the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) through Charles Sturt’s Djirruwang Program.

During this time Robyn dealt with serious health problems, the deaths of two siblings, and the challenges of studying later in life, yet these setbacks did not prevent her from graduating with her classmates.

Robyn’s graduation was attended by three of her children – one a senior law lecturer at the University of Melbourne, one the highest ranking Indigenous officer in the Australian Defence Force and the third senior Charles Sturt academic Faye McMillan.

Using her lived experiences in her work, Robyn has now taken up a teaching position within the Djirruwang Program, a unique course open only to Indigenous students designed to address the shortage of mental health workers.

I’m currently... enjoying life here in Wagga watching my youngest grandsons grow.

At school... I loved history. Things were very different 60 years ago.

My childhood was... wonderful. I came from a family of eight. We did not have much but we had each other. Mum and dad worked hard.

I chose Charles Sturt because…it offered a course where I could study mental health in a program that addressed Indigenous specific issues.

My best experience at Charles Sturt... was graduation.

My worst Charles Sturt experience... was my first time at intensive (residential) school. I remember thinking to myself ‘what are you thinking doing this at 61 years of age’.

At university I was inspired… by the young Indigenous people who also wanted to make a difference.

Today I’m motivated… by my children.

In my profession it is important to… listen. Do not judge and to show respect.

I never dreamed I would… ever finish the degree and be doing what I am doing today.

The biggest influence in my life... my children.

My greatest achievement is... graduating, winning two Dean’s awards and helping to assist those who are less fortunate than myself.

I’m passionate... because I want to make a small difference.

In the future I’d like to… grow old peacefully.