GradBytes Summer Issue 2015


Greetings and welcome to GradBytes. It's the start of the Summer, and an exciting new phase in the life of Western Sydney University, with a fresh new identity, redoubled sense of purpose and big plans to grow our reach and reputation. We've built something special at the University, and now it's time to share the good news far and wide.

That's what GradBytes is all about. Sharing good news stories, and celebrating the achievements of our University and awesome alumni, all across the globe. It's your 'go to' source of news and events, and a place in cyberspace that's about keeping you connected to your University and alumni community.

Today, we feature Lydia Befekadu, Australia's reigning Queen of Teff. Read her inspiring story below to find out what teff is exactly and why it's kind of wonderful. Business wunderkind Martin Hollander extols the virtues of 'giving back' via volunteering, and Jin Kong is a proud 'off shore ambassador'. We report back on two recent GradBytes events and issue a FOMO alert. If you weren't there, you really did. Luckily, there's always a next time, and GradBytes to keep you in the loop!

Alumni All-Stars Shine at Palate

GradLife Social Palate Hotel

Couch Q&A proved a hit formula and the Palate a fantastic venue for the inaugural Alumni All-Stars event. On the couch were alumni superstars Sophia Demetriades and Quang Huynh – young company founders and CEOs of Dream Internship and LoanTube respectively – sharing insights from their professional lives. Sophia remembered her University days as a time of huge personal growth, and key moments of inspiration via the people she met and wisdom they shared.

Quang talked about how keen he was to stay connected to WSU – the value of alumni networks and support they offer, as well as the imperative to 'give back' via continuing involvement. While clearly a Business graduate to his very bootstraps, the quote of the night belonged to Quang when he implored people to follow their dreams first and dollar second. With crystalline insight he said, "Don't lead a cooker cutter life. Differentiate yourself. Be unique. Success will slowly follow you".

Guests commented on the friendly, relaxed vibe and what a great mix of alumni were along – of all ages, walks of life, and with a shared sense of curiosity and genuine desire to connect. It was a great night and five star success. Stay tuned for the next instalment – coming soon to a couch near you!

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TEFF: the fuel of champions and seed of change


For those not yet in the know, teff is the new quinoa and tiny super food that could. Teff has officially exploded in the US and UK. It is the final word in ancient grains, packed full of protein, vitamins and fibre and bursting with nutty deliciousness. It's gluten free, and makes a particularly tasty flour. It's the staple food of Ethiopia, which is, as Lydia Befekadu points out, renown for its runners. It's the fuel of champions! Until recently, it was hard to find in Australia.

Lydia has a Masters degree in Education Leadership from WSU. She loves her work in adult education but nowadays, she's combining it with a new career as a whole foods entrepreneur, bringing teff to Australia via her Ethiopian connections and convincing local farmers to plant teff crops.

As a teacher in adult education and pillar of the local Ethiopian community, Lydia's mantra is 'education, education, education'. Up close and too often, she's witnessed the refugee story whereby utopian dreams of life post-resettlement are replaced by much harsher realities as the struggle to rebuild their lives begins. Lydia's parents lived this struggle, and she sees it all around her. The key, of course, is education. It's why Lydia chose to work with adult learners. She wanted to change lives. Today, it's her own life she's changing and this time, the key is teff.

To find out more visit (opens in a new window)

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An Ambassador Abroad, Mr Jin Kong


Post graduation, Jin Kong returned to his native China, where nowadays he's carving out an illustrious career as a finance professional. He was a recent finalist in the CPA Australia sponsored Australia China Alumni Award for Banking and Finance, and was back on campus to attend the Awards ceremony. He remains a huge fan of Western Sydney University and is still strongly connected to the University that gave him his start. As a graduate and now highly respected young professional, he continues to represent the University within his region. He does so with an ever-growing sense of pride.

Western Sydney University has now grown to become a truly world-class university. We're now among the top 2% of universities worldwide, and were recently named as one of the world's best 100 universities under the age of 50 in the influential Times Higher Education rankings. In this context, and into an ever-brighter future, alumni like Jin Kong play a vital role in advancing the international profile of the University. Alumni ambassadors instill a sense of pride in our University, and through their successes showcase the quality of Australian education and value of international study. Offshore alumni ambassadors like Jin play a vital role in helping other international students transition to study, as well as guiding international experiences for domestic students based in their region.

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LinkedIn is a great resource and as a Western Sydney University graduate you are automatically a part of a wider network of professionals with a common link. Here are some tips from the Alumni Team on getting started on LinkedIn, growing your connections, and getting the most out of your profile.

1. The basics

When you are getting started, make sure that you take the time to fill in your profile with as much information as possible. Think of your profile like an online resume, including your professional experience, education, achievements and skills.

People with similar interests or professional experience will then be able to find you, and you can choose to share your contact information with your new connections.

2. Think about your profile picture

Your profile photo is one of the first things others will see, so you want it to provide an appropriate first impression. Your potential employer could be viewing your profile, so you want to look professional.

While the photo does not have to be too formal, it is best to choose your photo wisely and stay away from the typical 'selfie'. Perhaps ask someone to take the photo for you when you are dressed for work, and try to avoid having a busy background or other people in the photo.

3. Add your education details

Do you have your education information listed on your LinkedIn profile? Including your completed course information builds your profile and showcases your areas of expertise, as well as creating an automatic link to your alumni network.

And don't forget to log in to update your existing education details to your new university name and alumni network – Western Sydney University.

4. Build your alumni network

Now that you have your course details updated on your profile, use this information to develop and grow your alumni network. Your classmates today become your professional network of the future, and you can use LinkedIn to stay in touch and see each other's careers progress.

You can also connect with other graduates of Western Sydney University by searching using education fields or through University pages. Make sure you follow our Alumni LinkedIn page and connect with fellow members. You never know who you will be doing business with in the future!

5. Make industry contacts

Use your professional skills and industry experience to match your interests with other LinkedIn users in the same field. Join industry or company groups relevant to your line of work, both for where you are working now and where you'd like to see your career take you.

Take part in discussions and connect with fellow group members to further build your network. You may even come across a couple of fellow alumni! Be sure to introduce yourself as alum of Western Sydney U for an immediate shared interest and experience.

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Volunteering opportunity: Western Sydney University Human Research Ethics Committee Seeking New Members

Alumni Volunteers

The Alumni Unit has extended this invitation on behalf of the Human Research Ethics Committee at Western Sydney University which is seeking new members.

The Human Research Ethics Committee is responsible for reviewing all research carried out at the University involving human participants. The Committee is made up of both community members and academics.

To maintain the requirements of the National Health and Medical Research Council which oversights human research ethics in Australia, we are seeking additional community members to join the Committee. No particular qualifications are required, although you should not be currently engaged in medical, scientific, legal or academic work.

The Committee meets once a month on a Monday from 4pm, normally for 3 hours. Papers for the meeting are distributed approximately two weeks prior.

If you feel you may be able to contribute time and energy to this key governance committee, please send an expression of interest to Dr Jane Hobson – Manager – Research Quality, Policy and Planning.
Tel +61 2 4736 0880 

By providing your details you consent for the University to hold your information for the purposes of contacting you to explore becoming a member of its Human Research Ethics Committee.

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Information Literacy Research

You are invited to participate in a research study being conducted by Judy Reading and Paul Jewell of Western Sydney University Library and Louise Kippist and Melissa Donald of the School of Business.

Project Summary: This project aims to develop best practice in preparing Western Sydney University students with the information skills they need for a successful career. To this end we intend to find out what information skills are of practical value to newly graduating students in the workforce and their employers. We will also investigate the transferability of information skills from university to life in the workforce. Information about information skills in the workforce will be gathered by interviewing people working in Greater Western Sydney who have current or very recent experience of supervising employees who have graduated from university within the last 5 years and people working in GWS who have graduated from university within the last 5 years. We are planning to follow-up the interviews by conducting an online survey which will test the findings from the interview data with a wider pool of participants.

What will I be asked to do?

You will be asked to answer a number of questions about your experience of the application of information skills in your workplace and what is expected of new graduates employed in your business. These questions can be available to you in advance if you prefer but it is not necessary for you to prepare before the interview. The interview will be recorded and you will have an opportunity to read through a transcript and make any corrections you wish. We will be using the findings of the research project to inform improvements to information skills provision at Western Sydney University. We also intend to present at a relevant conference as well as publish a report and//or journal article so that other universities can learn from our findings.

If you interested in volunteering your time please contact Mr Paul Jewell 

Email: Phone +612 9685 9358 Mobile: 0414 824 936

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