2022 ACT Academy Graduation

The first official graduation for the ACT Health Academy was held at the Canberra Southern Cross Club Woden. Byron Brunhuber (IAHA ACT Program Support Officer) hosted the night alongside CEO Donna Murray. IAHA Patron Professor Tom Calma AO gave the opening address and presented students with their awards.

The graduation celebration was also attended by Marisa Paterson MLA, Member for Murrumbidgee in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

IAHA is incredibly proud of our 2022 ACT Academy Students and what they continue to achieve. It is great to see the confidence and leadership development that they are taking through school-based apprenticeships and Year 12 attainment.

Their successes have been built upon their strengths, including strength of culture, and we are already seeing their impact on others, including relationships with each other, families, and communities. In the workplace, they have positively had an impact on their host employers and other stakeholders.

IAHA hopes many of our graduates will continue their education, training, and employment in health and related sectors. We’ve been privileged enough to hear from our graduates about their aspirations and ambitions, and they have our ongoing support as they pursue their goals, whatever they may be.

IAHA looks forward to continuing to celebrate their achievements, as well as the success of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the ACT, who look up to them as role models now and as our future health leaders.

Congratulations to our 2022 ACT Health Academy Graduates:

  • Poppy Chalmers
  • Djanaya Brookman
  • Jorja Brown

Congratulations to our 2022 ACT Health Academy Award Winners:

  • Future Leader Award – Poppy Chalmers
  • Student Choice Award – Poppy Chalmers
  • Commitment Award – Djanaya Brookman
  • Deadly Student Award – Olivia Lester


Poppy Chalmers

My name is Poppy Chalmers, I am a proud Yuin woman. My family is from Jervis Bay, but I was born in Goulburn NSW. I am currently in Year 11 at Dickson Collage.

I joined the IAHA ACT Health Academy at the end of 2021 where I first completed the Heath Starter Pack, which was an introductory course before starting the Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance at the start of this year.

Since I was little, I have always wanted to work in the heath sector. The IAHA ACT Health Academy has enabled me to do this through their program and have supported me to push myself with what I want to achieve. I was moved onto the accelerated plan towards the beginning of the year which enabled me to complete the Certificate III this year. I have learnt so much and gained so much experience from being in the academy this year. Despite always wanting to work in health I didn’t know my options and didn’t have much idea of the different types of jobs available in health.

Through IAHA I have learnt about the many different health professions and not only has IAHA given me a great opportunity career wise, but I have also made some good friends and lifelong memories.

After completing the Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance, I am keen to keep going with my studies next year, finish Year 12 and then want to go on to complete further studies at university in either Nursing/Mid-Wifery or Social work.

Djanaya Brookman

Hi, my name is Djanaya Brookman and I’m a proud Wiradjuri and Gubbi Gubbi women from Tumut NSW and Cairns QLD.

I recently finished Year 12 at Erindale College and loved having the opportunity to be a part of a health school-based apprenticeship. I joined the ACT Health Academy because my dream is to become a midwife.

I have learnt so much throughout my time and loved every minute of it. I have made good relationships with the other students and teachers throughout the years. My journey started with IAHA back in October 2021 where I completed the Health Starter Pack.

There have been some days that were challenging for me in the sense that there was so much content and things to remember but there was always so much support along the way and there were always ways for me to improve. One thing I’ve enjoyed during my time with the program is when all the students and myself finish an assignment and it’s so good to see everyone succeed and enjoy the moment together knowing we are all on the journey together and getting one step closer to our goals.

The IAHA ACT Health Academy has helped me with my goals and career and now I want to go to University to pursue my dream of being a Midwife. One fun fact about me is that I am 1 of 8 children and being the oldest has made my life super interesting and never boring.

Jorja Brown

Hi, my name’s Jorja Brown. I am a proud Wiradjuri woman from Wagga Wagga NSW.

I’m recently finished Year 12 at Canberra College. My experience in the academy over the past 2 years has been very welcoming, eye opening and educational. The academy feels like home to me, and it is a comforting and exciting place to be. I started off at the academy with the dream to become a nurse, but after being exposed to so many areas of health it opened my eyes to so many different career opportunities I really didn’t know about to begin with. I still aspire to be a nurse as I love helping people, but I would also love to get into the Youth Juvenile Justice System.

Some highlights of the academy were honestly just having a culturally safe space and the ability to become a family, I have enjoyed the excursions we have done and all the hands-on practical activities of the course. Although it got challenging sometimes, the academy was very supportive and flexible. This year, I attended placement at the University of Canberra Hospital. My aspirations after I graduate is to continue studying at CIT, in Community services.

One fun fact about me is I am a bartender at Grease Monkey.