Dr Jessa Rogers is a Project Director in Indigenous Education and Research Strategy at the University of New England. Jessa is a Wiradjuri woman with cultural connections to Cootamundra and surrounding areas of NSW, and whānau connections through marriage to Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Raukawa in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Previously Jessa was a Fellow at Harvard University in the Department of Anthropology. She is on the Federal Expert Group for the English Language Learning for Indigenous Children (ELLIC) program and recently completed her 3-year term on the National NAIDOC Committee.
Jessa’s PhD looked at the use of Indigenous research methods and methodologies with young Indigenous women to understand their experiences of education away from home. Jessa previously opened Australia’s first boarding school for Aboriginal young mothers and babies as the youngest Aboriginal principal in Australia.
Jessa is passionate about ensuring the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are heard, and they are supported to be change-makers in their communities:
“When the National NAIDOC Committee decided the theme of 'Because of her, we can!' it was in recognition of the role women play in our communities. From the mothers raising our children at home, to the Aboriginal women making change in elected positions within the parliament, to the women overseeing Indigenous higher education, we as women are a key part of Indigenous success in not only today's society, but in our history immemorial. Indigenous women are powerful, strong, resourceful, determined and have a sense of humour and dignity which I am constantly reminded of when I look at Aunty's who continue their work well into their 80s, 90s and beyond. Our young women finishing school and universities are our future. I hope that this NAIDOC theme reminds people that Indigenous women, of all age groups, should be consulted on every Indigenous initiative- we have diverse and important perspectives, and we deserve a seat at the table.”