Alumni Dynamos

Amina Elshafei


Nurse and TV Personality

Master of Child and Family Health, 2012

Graduate Amina Elshafei first came to public attention as a contestant on Australia's most popular TV cooking show, MasterChef. However, there is a lot more to her story.

Inspired by her Korean and Egyptian heritage, and her parents' passion for food, Amina lists cooking as one of the great loves of her life."I think having a great combination of cultures in the family really opened my eyes to learning more about the food," she says."Now, as an adult and living away from home, I've got a much deeper appreciation for homecooked food. You miss it. I've just been overseas, and I can't wait to have something Mum or Dad has cooked." 

Despite the family passion for food, Amina kept her application to MasterChef, the television show which pits amateur cooks against one another, a secret from her parents and sister at first. Amina quietly applied to become a contestant, not sharing the news with her family until she received a call from a casting agent. After some gruelling selection processes, she ended up being one of the lucky 24 contestants chosen for the 2012 series and was Instantly an Australian favourite, thanks to her warmth and humour. 

Amina believes her multicultural perspective and her background as a registered nurse were among the main reasons she was selected from so many hopefuls."Australia is so diverse and I'm a minute part of it compared to some of the contestants; I brought two cultures to the table," she says.

Read more of Amina's story online in the Autumn 2013 edition of the Alumni GradLife magazine (page 4)  (opens in a new window).

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Paul Murray

Media and Radio Personality

Bachelor of Arts (Humanities), 2002

Graduate Paul Murray secured his dream job of presenter on the drive shift at Triple M, and to top it off, has just launched a nightly prime-time talk show on Sky News, Paul Murray Live. Paul honed his skills by completing a Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) part time at Western Sydney University, working in the newsrooms of 2GB, 2SM and Nova 96.9, and dabbling in TV. So, what is it actually like to achieve your ideal job? And just how do you get there? Paul Murray answers these questions and more…

Why did you choose your course at Western Sydney University?

I didn't really enjoy school, and wasn't too keen on following my friends into university. My girlfriend, and her wonderfully inspiring mum, convinced me to go to the Open Day. By the end of the afternoon, I was in love with the campus and intrigued by the course.My years at University, the people I learnt from and the students I learnt with brought, without doubt, the turning point of my life. The course broadened every possible horizon and informed my way of thinking about virtually everything to this day.

Read more of Paul's story online (opens in a new window).

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Yvonne Strahovski



Bachelor of Arts - Performance, 2005

Attending film premieres, appearing on 'most beautiful women' lists, and starring on a hit television show, is living the dream of many aspiring actresses. But it wasn't that long ago Yvonne Strahovski was a student at Western Sydney University where she studied a Bachelor of Arts in Performance.

Born in the inner west of Sydney, Yvonne attended Santa Sabina College in Strathfield before beginning her degree at University. After graduating, Yvonne (then known as Yvonne Strzechowski – she was later urged to adopt the new spelling as her stage name for easier pronunciation) began her career in Australia appearing in TV and film roles.

Within a few days of arriving in the US, Yvonne landed a starring role in NBC action comedy series, Chuck. Yvonne plays top CIA agent Sarah Walker, who is charged with protecting her boyfriend Chuck (played by Zachary Levi). Looking comfortable holding a gun was reportedly one of the reasons she was hired for the role.

Read more of Yvonne's story online (opens in a new window).

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