A love of law and its ability to shape social justice outcomes has inspired Lithgow's Bridget Cama to complete a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law at the University of NSW (UNSW).
A Wiradjuri woman, Bridget said she was proud to be working alongside those who would go on to shape the way Indigenous men and women were reflected in our country's constitution into the future.
Bridget celebrated her graduation recently, but has had little time to relax after completing her five years of study, during which she also worked as a paralegal at Sydney firm Gilbert + Tobin.
Bridget said working as a paralegal had helped build up her skills and confidence in her field.
"It helped me be able to apply what I learned in the classroom to actual scenarios," she said.
She is currently undertaking a placement as a researcher for UNSW Sydney Pro-Vice-Chancellor-Indigenous, Professor Megan Davis, who was recognised as the Australian Financial Review's top pick in the 2018 Women of Influence Awards.
Bridget said she felt particularly lucky to be working with Professor Davis, who is known for her role in the creation of the Uluru Statement, which seeks to constitutionally enshrine a First Nations Voice to Parliament as well as create truth telling and treaty processes, giving Indigenous peoples constitutional recognition.
"I am really excited to be part of the referendum movement," she said.
Bridget was able to travel to Cairns for the Indigenous Leaders Forum, which was held there recently. She said she was particularly interested in work that was under way in the area of Indigenous women and self-determination, as well as the possibilities around artificial intelligence and ways in which its introduction may impact Indigenous communities in areas such as judicial sentencing.
She was also seconded to the Northern Lands Council in Darwin for one month.
"I have always been interested in native title and land rights and this was the perfect opportunity for me to see how the regime works," she said.
"I was able to travel out into a lot of different communities while I was there."
Enjoying mid-30's weather in the middle of July certainly did not hurt.
Over the next five yeas, Bridget said she aimed to become "the most skilled lawyer" she could be.
"I want to be challenged and step out of my comfort zone to gain new skills."
One of the reasons Bridget said she was excited to be joining Gilbert + Tobin as a graduate lawyer was its strong pro bono focus, which she looked forward to be able to contribute to, in supporting people who needed assistance, including refugees and people who were homeless.
Bridget said she owed a great deal of her resilience to growing up in Lithgow.
"Lithgow taught me to be strong. Going to university in a city was very daunting, joining in classrooms with students whose parents were both lawyers and who didn't face any financial struggles," she said.
"It made me really determined to push through."
Bridget felt lucky to have had the unwavering support of her parents, Kym and Joeoi Cama.
"I was really lucky. Right through from the time I was young, they pushed me to do things, they supported me, driving me to music lessons, Eisteddfods... I'm here because of their support."
Bridget graduated from her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Indigenous Studies, with distinction. She minored in politics, a subject which had always interested her.
"When you are Indigenous, politics is part of your life, whether you want it to be or not," she said.
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