In its 21st year of celebrating the individual achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Costa was among three Indigenous women recognised at the awards.
Costa, who is currently in her final year of Bachelor of Communication (Journalism), was born and raised on Wurundjeri land, as a proud Wemba Wemba, Yorta Yorta and Mutti Mutti woman.
The award recognised Costa’s various accomplishments as an advocate for voicing the views, and cultural expressions of young Indigenous people, which she been involved with since a young age.
“Growing up in the metro Melbourne Aboriginal community, naturally I was able to get involved with the community’s activities, take on some leadership and get my foot in a number of doors,” Costa said.
She has advocated for change working with a number of organisations including the ABC and SBS-NITV, as well as being actively involved within the University.
Costa was a Communications Officer at Culture is Life, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting awareness and preventing suicide among Indigenous youth.
During her time here, she was influential in forming the “Culture Squad”, a collective team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People dedicated to utilising social media as a platform for change.
Beyond her studies, Costa’s passion for communications has led her to be the first ever Indigenous officer in the RMIT Student Union.
Costa is also a Student Representative at Ngarara Willim, the University’s centre that encourages and supports Indigenous students throughout their studies.
“I want to be an advocate and a voice for those who can’t necessarily speak for themselves,” Costa said.
“I really want to voice the concerns and needs of the students and help the University understand what we go through with cultural sensitivity,” Costa said.
When asked about what the award meant to her, Costa was lost for words, humbled by the recognition for her tireless advocacy.
“It took a while to sink in, there were so many deserving nominees so it was an honour to be the recipient,” she said.
As part of the accolade, Costa was granted a $5,000 bursary from the Victorian Government which she plans to put towards travelling after graduating as an opportunity to share her culture globally.
Story: Macey Higgins