From Nowra to UN for Groove Brindley

Groove Brindley, second from the left, with fellow Country Education Foundation of Australia alumni at a special breakfast held at the University of Newcastle in August.

Shoalhaven Education Fund (SEF) and Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) alumni Groove Brindley has a dream of making legal systems more accessible for disadvantaged citizens around the world.

Student: Groove Brindley

Local CEF Foundation: Shoalhaven Education Fund

Course: Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts

Institution: University of Newcastle

She is currently in her second year of a five-year Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Political Science) degree at the University of Newcastle and has already began to see how difficult the legal system can be to access for underprivileged people.

While many law students have dreams of working for big law firms and making big dollars, Ms Brindley wants to instead inspire change in the legal system to make it more equitable both at home and abroad, with a dream of one day working for the United Nations.

Coming from a humble home in Nowra where money was always tight, she knows all too well how hard it can be for some to access critical services, including legal assistance.

“While I do want to work in Legal Aid to make the legal system more accessible to members of the public, I also want to help those who have systemic disadvantages including discrimination based on race or those facing domestic violence. I believe many legal reforms should be implemented to make the criminal justice system fairer and more equitable,” she said.

A different career path of interest is entering the field of international humanitarian law or policy creation. While my big dream is to work for the United Nations to create change from within, I am also interested in the legal sector of several non-governmental organisations.

– Groove Brindley

Not even halfway through her studies yet, Ms Brindley has already achieved amazing progress, including being placed on the College Commendation List 2022, which recognises students who maintain a minimum GPA of 6.0, and being elected Vice President of the University of Newcastle Law Students Association, working on the Education Portfolio.

She also had an amazing opportunity to visit the UN Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, in August, to attend the Annual Youth Leadership Symposium, hosted by Humanitarian Affairs.

She was one of 400 students worldwide to be invited to this event, which saw students engage in change-making processes, bodies and organisations from the UN and learn about the work they’re doing in their respective fields. The delegates also heard from guest speakers about human trafficking, modern forms of colonialism through volunteer work, and the ecological devastation caused by the tourism industry.

“Overall, the conference was eye-opening and inspiring as I was working with those striving for similar global changes that I wish to pursue,” she said.

Of everything Ms Brindley has achieved in such a short time, she said none of it would have been possible without the support of CEF.

She was awarded a $5000 grant from her local CEF foundation, SEF, through a national partnership with The Snow Foundation, for the first two years of her studies.

Through CEF’s education partnership with the University of Newcastle, she also received financial support of $2760 in her first year, meaning she has so far received $12760 in total to put towards her studies.

With her family unable to support her financially, she said the CEF funding was the difference between her being able to study or not.

Country Education Foundation of Australia alumni Groove Brindley.

Country Education Foundation of Australia alumni Groove Brindley.

The scholarship is the difference between eating or going hungry sometimes. I have spent this year’s grant entirely on rent payments. I live in a share house with two other university students off-campus and the rental market in Newcastle is intense, to say the least.

– Groove Brindley

She said SEF had been a great help in getting their grant funding and assisting them with writing their application, particularly Chair Sophie Ray.

“We’ve been delighted to give Groove an SEF grant (donated by the Snow Foundation) for the last two years, because Groove has worked so hard to pursue what she wants to do despite some adversity,” said Shoalhaven Education Fund Chair Sophie Ray.

“We know from others in our community that she is a role model, particularly for some of the students in younger years from her school, and we have no doubt that she will succeed in whatever she does.”

The Snow Foundation – CEF Scholarship is part of CEF’s ‘CEF Extra’ program, which provides funding to the local CEF foundations of Shoalhaven Education Fund, CEF Snowy Monaro, CEF Yass Valley, CEF Goulburn, and Braidwood & District Education Foundation, to use to offer grants to students in their areas.

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