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The Australian National University

Proud identity

Jessica Fortune, a Noongar woman from Perth, has won the the ANU National Security College Scholarship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students

Kulhanek group photo

Jessica Fortune

Jessica has now lived in Canberra on Ngunnawal country for several years and is in the first semester of the Master of National Security Policy. The merit-based scholarship covers her tuition fees for up to 50 per cent of the program’s requirements.

Jessica says she was looking to build on her background in international relations and political science, and chose the degree to gain a broad, multidisciplinary understanding of security and Australia's place in the world.


What also drove her was a curiosity about the relationship between identity and security.

“It’s interesting that these concepts continue to intersect, which is also an enduring theme for Australia’s settler history,” says Jessica. “It’s something I would like to investigate further. I am a Noongar woman with proud Aboriginal heritage on my mother’s side and Scottish heritage on my father’s side.”

An employee of the Department of Health, Jessica says the program, which covers the threats to civil society from disease and pandemics (among many other events and trends), is proving useful in her job.

“A direct example is the Ebola outbreak that developed in 2014 and how the international community is reacting in the aftermath,” she says. “Understanding the national security policy architecture and system is an invaluable perspective to bring to my current role.”

The course is not only assisting her in her career now, but will doubtlessly prove useful professionally in the future as well. When and precisely in what direction, she’s not sure. Not yet, anyway:

“I am really confident that this course will help to give me a distinct edge to a new professional challenge. What excites me most is I don’t know what doors will open.

“I am really enjoying the fact that the National Security College is a young, vibrant and inclusive establishment – there are constantly speakers from a variety of backgrounds with different worldviews and experiences.

“So far the calibre of the senior guest lecturers has been outstanding and the access that we have as students to hear perspectives from leaders in the field has surprised me. Just the opportunity to be in the same room as some of the experts has been incredible.” For students considering applying for the program, Jessica is enthusiastic with her recommendation: 

“I would just say don’t hesitate. I’ve found the National Security College to be supportive and really engaging. I would also say that the courses they offer may surprise you as they are contemporary and practical.”


If you would like more information about National Security College scholarships available in 2017, please visit the Scholarships page.

Updated:  6 January 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College