Waanyi man hopes to support tech opportunities for Aboriginal communities

24 June 2021

University of Queensland IT student Otis Carmichael hopes he can one day become a trailblazer, helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities embrace the potential of technology to create solutions and opportunities.

Otis has been juggling his third-year Bachelor of Information Technology studies with his role as president of UQ’s Goorie Berrimpa Student Collective – an inclusive on-campus community which organises social, sporting and professional events for all Indigenous students at UQ.

He recently welcomed a $5000 scholarship from Codebots, a Brisbane-based computer software enterprise, saying it would support his education and help him get more involved in campus events.

Codebots CEO Eban Escott said the enterprise was excited to present the Codebots scholarship to Otis.

“His enthusiasm towards embracing technology and opening this opportunity up to Indigenous communities is inspiring. We cannot wait to see what Otis achieves in the coming years,” Mr Escott said.

Otis said that, while he was still on a process of cultural discovery, he was proud of his connections to the Waanyi people of north-west Queensland, on his mother’s side of the family.

"Just because our mob has a focus on spiritual connection to Country does not mean they have to shy away from technology, which can play a huge role in communications and learning.

“For our young people, early exposure to IT in the curriculum can really make the difference. I really got switched on to the problem-solving and maths aspects.”

Otis acknowledges vital tutoring support from UQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (ATSIS) Unit during his first year on campus.

“The ITAR tutorial service at the ATSIS Unit was really helpful early on when I felt a bit out of place on the tech side, and all the staff have been so supportive,” he says.

Otis recently enjoyed competing in volleyball, touch, netball and basketball as part of the UQ team for the Unisport Australia Indigenous Nationals hosted by the University of Newcastle in late June.