14 November 2023

Cooktown study hub welcomes new Indigenous engagement coordinator

| Sarah Martin
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Tiannie Otto has joined the team at Country Universities Centre Cape York as the Indigenous engagement coordinator. Photo: Sarah Martin.

Cooktown’s Country Universities Centre Cape York has welcomed Bloomfield local Tiannie Otto as the new Indigenous engagement coordinator.

Ms Otto, a Torres Strait Islander, has lived in the area for the past three years and has a background in education and community support.

“I’m looking forward to getting out into the community and engaging with everybody and seeing what I can do to help them,” she said.

“My goal has always been to work with Indigenous people, motivating, inspiring, encouraging – I feel like this is my calling.”

Ms Otto started in October and said she first discovered the CUC Cape York study hub through manager Jenni James.

“I had seen it there for a while and thought, ‘Country Universities Centre, what is that?’.

“I asked Jenni and she said, ‘It’s a study centre.’ I said, ‘I’m studying’, and she said, ‘Come and use it’, so I did.”

Ms Otto, who has studied various topics, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait education and child, youth and family intervention, said she loved constantly learning and was excited to share her journey with others.

“I’m excited to go back to the community and show them what I’m doing now and keep inspiring and motivating them to be the best they can be,” she said.

“I’ve been enjoying working alongside Jenni and learning all about CUC and what they do and I like that the role is fairly new, so it’s exciting to make it my own and see where it goes.”

Student numbers continue to grow, with 52 people now regularly using the centre to study, connect and learn.

“The under-25s are our biggest user group at the moment,” Jenni said.

“We’ve been getting about eight students daily and last week during exam period we had the three front rooms all packed, exams in the meeting room and people in the end room as well.”

The centre offers dedicated study and networking spaces, a training room, and advice and support to help bridge the gap between remote and urban education.

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