Kimberly Lovegrove is paving the way for young Indigenous people like her to find their confidence in university.
The final-year student first chose RMIT’s Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) without knowing much about the industry or what the role even involved.
Still studying at another school, she stumbled across the degree while searching for new career developments.
“I didn’t know a lot about public relations but I liked the sound of what it was capable of,” she said.
Lovegrove saw public relations’ capacity to disprove society’s preconceptions of communities, industries and especially Indigenous people.
Since studying at RMIT, she has made steps to accomplish exactly that, launching the university’s first ever Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student club.
“To be given the opportunity to create a space outside of the Ngarara Willim Centre with the support of RUSU was such an honour and privilege,” she said.
Now on the path to graduation, Lovegrove has realised there is more than meets the eye to her degree.
“If you study PR at RMIT, you can be a part of a massive community where collaboration and teamwork is vital to your success,” she said.
“The opportunities are endless and your passions will lead you further in your studies.”
Her initially limited knowledge has since grown into both personal and professional confidence to kick goals in the PR sector and usher in the next generation of Indigenous students.
“I've learnt how to analyse a situation and come up with a strategy to turn a good or bad situation into an opportunity, and how to do extensive research prior to planning which can be helpful when problem-solving,” she said.
However, Lovegrove said she could not have thrived in her studies without the community of the Ngarara Willim Centre, RMIT’s support centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student and staff.
“The Ngarara Willim Centre has helped since day one of my studies. They constantly give me advice on how I can not only help myself, but those around me.
“The support doesn’t stay with them from nine to five, Monday to Friday; it goes beyond business hours, which is what makes the Ngarara Willim Centre the best Indigenous support centre in Australia.”
Lovegrove even wrote high praise of the Ngarara Willim Centre in an Australian and New Zealand Student Service Association newsletter, commending their dedication to helping Indigenous people with their trauma.
“We all deserve to find that place we can call home. For Indigenous people at RMIT, the Ngarara Willim Centre is their sanctuary,” she wrote.
Her future after graduation looks promising too: Lovegrove has locked down a position in the Victorian Government Indigenous Graduate program and is currently working in communications on the Melbourne Innovation District project with RMIT.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be able to have a job after graduating,” she said.
“I am really excited to use what I have learnt in my four years at RMIT and help implement change within my position with the Victorian Government.”
Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication Philippa Brear said the role was a “great opportunity that will align with her interests in public affairs and policy”.
“Kimberly has been a committed and consistent student, and an articulate advocate about the PR degree and her experience at RMIT,” she said.
And for those who plan on entering public relations out of high school, Lovegrove urged that preparation was key to succeeding in both university and the industry.
“You must always be ready for anything: always be on your toes, be ready for anything that comes at you, and if you can master that, you will be fantastic in the industry.”
Story: Jennifer Park