Graduation ceremony first in Thurgoona

1 JANUARY 2003

Three graduation ceremonies to be staged by CSU will be held for the first time in Thurgoona from this Friday morning, 16 December.

Three graduation ceremonies to be staged by Charles Sturt University (CSU) will be held for the first time in Thurgoona from this Friday morning, 16 December.
Nearly 730 graduates will be eligible to receive their doctorates, degrees, diplomas and certificates from CSU Chancellor Lawrie Willett AO, with over 450 attending their ceremonies together with family and friends.
The venue will be the Trinity College Hall, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona.
Stories of interest from the ceremonies include:
9.30am, Friday 16 December
A total of 236 graduates from the Faculty of Science’s Schools of Community Health, Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, and  Environmental Sciences will receive their awards in this ceremony. Occasional speaker for the event is Albury McDonalds franchisee and driving force behind Ronald McDonald House, Ms Maree Cables.
Speech pathology expert for Malaysia
An academic has completed groundbreaking research on stuttering in preschool children in Malaysia as part of her studies with CSU. Ms Etain Vong, a lecturer in speech pathology with the National University of Malaysia, will graduate with her PhD from CSU’s Faculty of Science. Ms Vong investigated the introduction of a program to address stuttering in children – the Lidcombe Program – into Malaysia, and its implication for children who speak two or more languages, which is common in Malaysia. Ms Vong studied full-time, spending much of her time in Albury while also completing studies in her native Malaysia. A native of Sarawak state on the island of Borneo, she is married with a 19 month old daughter, all of which she juggled while completing her three year course. Her family will attend the Friday morning ceremony, including her parents.
Wanderer returns for graduation
A bird ecology researcher who studied the availability of food for the Plains-wanderer has returned to receive her PhD from CSU’s Faculty of Science. Ms Kylie Eklom, who was raised in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, studied the effects of vegetation types and their management on the abundance of insects and seeds for this nationally vulnerable, ground nesting bird, which is found only in sparse grasslands in South Eastern Australia. "Plains-wanderers are mainly at risk due to the degradation of their preferred grasslands. We wanted to know whether different ways of managing these grasslands affected the seeds and insects available for the Plains-wanderer as potential food. I found that a prolonged drought climate was likely to have an overriding influence on the food for these birds, despite whether grasslands were managed for growing sheep or for conservation," Ms Eklom said. Her research can be used to help develop better guidelines for managing grasslands for these unique native birds. Ms Eklom is currently employed as a casual ranger with Parks Victoria, working on the surf beaches of the Mornington Peninsula National Park.
From Romania to Albury
When Ms Morgan Jones first heard of the new degree in health and rehabilitation science being offered by CSU in Albury-Wodonga, she was in Romania, having nearly finished two years travelling the world. “I was looking for a degree course that was interesting and rewarding in the health area, and it seemed like a diverse course that could open many career doors,” said Ms Jones, who enrolled in the degree three years ago as a mature-aged student. “It was certainly a challenge at first, but worth it! It was seven years since I had finished school in Wagga Wagga and it took six months to find my feet in university study, with a little help from University staff and my friends. It was also made easier as I found Albury was a great place to live and study,” said Ms Jones, who was one of the outstanding students in her course, which this year has seven graduates in its inaugural group.
Being first normal for top graduate
Being first is becoming normal for Ms Erin Szantyr. The CSU School of Environmental Sciences graduand is not only the first to graduate from the four year Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management degree, but she also won two of the major academic prizes for environmental graduates and was the first student to complete an international internship, in South America, as part of her degree. Having grown up in Mooroopna in central Victoria, Ms Szantyr said she really enjoyed the variety of subjects offered throughout her course, as well as the opportunity to study overseas to help ‘glue’ her knowledge together. “I also loved the student life in Albury. Living on campus allowed me to meet so many people I would never have met otherwise,” she said. Ms Szantyr will work next year as a volunteer ranger with Parks Victoria, which will hopefully lead to paid work monitoring wildlife for the organisation.
Putting theory to practice
Opportunities to put theory into practice is what CSU nursing degree graduate Ms Erin Gardner likes most about the course she recently completed at the University’s Albury-Wodonga Campus. Growing up in the small NSW town of Barham on the Murray River, Ms Gardner completed clinical placements in hospitals in Wollongong, Liverpool and Goulburn, where she grew to appreciate the higher levels of practice expected of CSU graduates. “During these placements I met with students from other universities and they did not have the same levels of practice and clinical times that we had during our course. We also had more time to practice our skills in our subject time,” Ms Gardner said. “Our smaller class sizes mean we have greater personal support, and my classmates were really supportive of each other.” Ms Gardner’s abilities were appreciated by prospective employers, as she already has a job with Wodonga Hospital, having had to decline several other offers.
3pm, Friday 16 December
A total of 383 graduates will receive their awards from the Faculty of Business  during this ceremony. Occasional speaker for this event is Director of Beechworth Honey Pty Ltd, Ms Jodie Goldsworthy.
Consortium graduates get degrees
In the largest group to date, 28 graduates from the University’s Bachelor of Business Studies program will be in Albury to accept their degrees. They were part of the joint Australian Graduate Management Consortium program between CSU and TAFE NSW, having first completed TAFE qualifications before completing their CSU degree. The graduates from TAFE institutes in St George, Liverpool, North Sydney, Canberra and Wollongong will be accompanied by their families and friends.
International links maintained
Around 110 graduates are expected to attend the ceremony from the CSU Study Centre Melbourne, graduating from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in accounting, business, and information technology. Mr Wissam El-Eter from Lebanon will receive a Bachelor of Information Technology (IT) during the ceremony. Mr El-Eter received a number of Dean’s Awards from the Faculty of Business during his studies, as well as completing industry recognised qualifications with CISCO, Microsoft and other industry organisations. He is currently working full-time in Melbourne. Mr Bahadir Balci from Turkey will graduate with distinction with a Master of IT, having also received several academic accolades including Dean's Awards. He is also a keen long distance runner, having completed the 2010 Melbourne Marathon. He has accepted a position in a Melbourne-based data management and business intelligence company.
9.30am, Saturday 17 December
Around 110 graduates from the Faculties of Arts and Education, particularly the Murray School of Education, will receive their awards in this ceremony. The occasional speaker will be Professor Bob Perry from CSU’s Faculty of Education.
Committed to educating young Indigenous Australians
Hard work, commitment and an interest from an early age in teaching has led Ms Gayle Sampson towards her chosen career as a primary school teacher in central Australia. Ms Sampson will graduate with a four year degree from CSU in early childhood and primary education, which included practical experience teaching young Indigenous children. “I found study hard work and quite a challenge, but I found that with hard work and commitment, the end result is worth every minute of stress. Study definitely helped me towards my dream of becoming a teacher,” Ms Sampson said. The CSU education graduate is no stranger to travel – she has previously worked in the UK for over two years and taught and travelled in India as part of CSU’s overseas experience program, CSU Global.

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