Staff profiles

Elder in Residence

Jean South, Elder in Residence, Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education

Aunty Jean South

'It's important they realise how wonderful that piece of paper is at the end of it all – no one can take that away from them. A good education can set you up for life.'

Jean's commitment to her art and the University earned her the title of Elder in Residence at the Badanami Centre – it's a role Jean couldn't be more proud of. She wakes up every day looking forward to spending time with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, nurturing their dreams and guiding them through one of life's most challenging periods – tertiary study.

'My aim from the word go is to support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and be a role model. And I'm honest with all of them about the tears and the laughter of Uni life. I let them know it doesn't come easy and if it did everyone would have a degree and a doctorate,' she says.

Aunty Jean believes the Indigenous Elder in Residence plays a vital role on campus. 'Not only does the elder guide our youth in the right direction, they also provide greater understanding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and protocols relating to traditions and knowledge. This initially unique role is a welcome addition to the UWS community and demonstrates UWS's commitment to supporting and embracing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. The role also plays an important part in connecting UWS to Indigenous Elder networks and community members.'

A passionate, accomplished artist, Aunty Jean is quick to praise and encourage her students to express themselves in the arts.  'Absolutely, praise is a wonderful thing that can lift the spirit and make people feel special. And I really believe that the arts can help give our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students a well-rounded tertiary experience. It sets them up for successful and meaningful lives both professionally and personally – and what could be better than that?'

A warm and beloved presence in the Badanami Centre, Aunty Jean pays tribute to her family for the generous values and 'people skills' they instilled in her from a very early age.

'My grandmother and my mother were lovely, gentle ladies. I think that's where I get some of my traits. I love thinking of other people and if I can teach them or help them in any way, it makes me happy. Being involved with young people in particular is great. I'm a very lucky woman to be doing what I'm doing.'

And with an Elder like Aunty Jean on hand to share her wisdom and passion for life, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students of UWS are feeling just as fortunate.


Academic Staff

Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver

'My life is all around empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and what it means to make a difference'

Professor Pulver Jackson is an outstanding academic leader, a recognised expert in public health, and prominent researcher, educator and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Education.

Lisa is a proud Wiradjuri woman whose traditional roots lie in the beautiful, forested region of south western NSW.

As the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership), Professor Jackson Pulver leads the University's initiative, particularly relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander outcomes as identified in the Securing Success Strategy and will continue to make the Western Sydney University the university of first choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Professor Jackson Pulver initially trained as a Nurse before entering medical school at the University of Sydney in 1992. She has since gained qualifications and experience in epidemiology and Public Health and broke new ground by becoming the first recorded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to receive a PhD in Medicine.

A visionary educator who played a key role in the development of a designated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Professor Jackson Pulver went on to hold the Inaugural Chair of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Director of the Muru Marri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit and Professor of Public Health.

Professor Pulver Jackson has committed to a career that translates her work into research capacity building for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers and improved health status for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people including partnerships with co-investigators in both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult and child health studies and life-cycle risk factors. Her group and individual contributions have been acknowledged in various Publications, Conference presentations and expert Consultations.

A member of a number of committees and working groups, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Research Advisory Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Professor Jackson Pulver is Deputy Chairperson for Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council's (AHMAC) National Advisory Group Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Information and Data (NAGATSIHID), a member of the permanent board for the Lowitja Institute and a current member of the Australian Statistical Advisory Committee.

Professor Jackson Pulver is the co-founder of the Shalom Gamarada Scholarship Program and responsible for enabling over 60 students to receive a residential scholarship on campus for the duration of their health related (mostly medical) degrees at the University of New South Wales.  In 2013, 26 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students resided at Shalom College on scholarships. She has also represented the University of New South Wales at the House of Commons, London.

Professor Jackson Pulver is a Group Captain in the RAAF Specialist Reserve (Public Health Epidemiologist) and is currently posted to the Director General, Personnel Airforce and specialist advisor to the Chief of Air Force.
'I always wanted to join the military. My father was a 'RAAFie' (member of the Royal Australian Air Force). He served in the war. My grandfather served in the army'. Lisa has been heavily involved in the Royal Australian Air Force Indigenous Youth Program (RAAFIYP) which aims to encourage young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider a career in the aviation industry.

In 2011 Professor Jackson Pulver became a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia 'For service to medical education, particularly through the Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit at the University of New South Wales, and as a supporter of educational opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people'

Lisa has been honored with a number of other awards, including recognition for her support in the process of reconciliation as part of The NSW Women's Reconciliation Network. Lisa received the Individual Partnership Award - University of New South Wales Research Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity (2011) and was also awarded for her outstanding contribution to cancer epidemiology by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and the Ministry of Science and Medical Research (2005). She has been awarded a community honor in the form of a Henry Stricker Community Honor for her outstanding service and contribution rendered with endeavors to make our society a better place in which to live (2006).

" As an inaugural fellow member on the Lowitja Board I am pleased to write a short testimony about the contributions Lisa makes to the Lowitja Board. Lisa's resilience and tenacity are strengths that I admire combined with her commitment and passion for our people. Over the time we have served on the Board together I have witnessed a person who is well academically qualified with a strong skills base that informs her thinking. Lisa is passionate about her work and continues to build her reputation in Health Research. I look forward to continue to work with Lisa and other Lowitja Board members to achieve the goals of the organisation." 
Peter Buckskin
Dean of Indigenous Scholarship Engagement and Research at the University of South Australia

'Lisa is an excellent board member and has made a substantial contribution to the Health Performance Council. She is extremely knowledgeable and pertinent in her contributions, is always well prepared, conscientious in meeting deadlines and active in Council business. She is a woman of integrity and courage. Above all she is an outstanding communicator.'                                                                                                                                Anne Dunn, Owner M I Murren

'Lisa is at the top of her professional game and is able to provide insightful value added input as a member of the Health Performance Council of South Australia, her experience in both a practical and academic sense make her a valued contributor to the work that we undertake at the Health Performance Council. it is a pleasure being able to provide a point of reference for my valued colleague'.                                                                      
Richard (Rick) Callaghan
Independent Director at Regional Anangu Services Aboriginal Corporation

'Professional, well informed, with ability to provide high value-add through considered input and expertise. A people person with great mentoring and motivational skills'.                                                                        Maureen Gain
Consulting Director & CEO at Axxess Business Solutions & Axxess Wealth

Dr Lana Leslie

Dr Lana Leslie is a Kamilaroi woman whose family are from North West and Central West New South Wales.

Dr Leslie is passionate about the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through education and research.

Dr Leslie is a Lecturer at Western Sydney University and previously worked at the University of Sydney, Macquarie University , University of Technology, Sydney and Edith Cowan University.

Prior to working in Academia, Dr Leslie worked for over 20 years in sport, recreation and fitness, the community sector and NSW Police. She has worked in all levels of roles from grass roots service delivery, teaching children in junior sports programs to management and consultancy, developing and writing organisational policy at State level.

Dr Leslie  has completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Leisure Science, Sports Science),  a Master of Social Science (Leisure Science) from Edith Cowan University and a PhD in Human Geography from Macquarie University. Dr Leslie's PhD examined the physical activity experiences of older Kamilaroi people, titled Dhiiyaan ngay Kamilaroi, Winangaldanha ngaya nginaaynya (My Kamilaroi family, I hear you) - Physical activity, ageing and the places of freedom in a Kamilaroi family. In this research, Lana developed the Wingangay Methodology, a specific Indigenous methodology grounded in Kamilaroi knowledge's. Her research interests include Aboriginal experiences of the 1965 NSW Freedom Ride, Indigenous methodologies, Indigenous physical activity and Indigenous research.

Dr Leslie is currently enrolled in a Master of Convergent Media at Western Sydney University to follow her dream of being a documentary maker.

Dr Ryan Dashwood, Lecturer, School of Medicine

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Ryan is a leader in Emergency Medicine Education and mentor to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students whose professional philosophy is "I am inclusive and mindful of the team and yet, need to be responsible for the medical care of each patient in the department and waiting room while ensuring that the junior staff learn and not just do service provision"

As a member of the University of Western Sydney's Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement, Ryan is available to students both past and present as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leader who has completed a medical degree and is working through his registrar years towards fellowship status.

Ryan started his career in Medicine with a Bachelor of Science, Double Major in Biotechnology and Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of New South Wales.

From 2001 until 2005 he worked as a Trainee Scientist at the Children's Hospital Westmead and the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick in Cytogentics moving into a the Hospital Scientist role from 2005 until 2007..

In 2005 he completed a Graduate Certificate of Health Science (Indigenous Community Health) and then in 2006 Ryan attended the University of Sydney Medical Program, graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

As a Junior Medical Officer at the Prince of Wales Hospital he is currently an Emergency Registrar and completing his fellowship with the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. Ryan is also a clinical tutor with the Prince of Wales Clinical School, supporting and mentoring medical students along the same career path. He was the recipient of the Best Junior Medical Officer Teacher Award in 2011. He is a graduate member of the Australian Indigenous Doctor's Association

Ryan is a proud Budawang man, which is part of the Yuin nation from the NSW South Coast and in line with his Yuin ancestors is energised by fishing and the sand and surf .His dedication and commitment to his hospital represents himself, his family, ancestors and elders as well as his department, college and specialty.

Shirley Gilbert, Academic Course Advisor, School of Education

Shirley is a leader and recognised expert in Indigenous Education whose professional philosophy is
 "Inspiring more members of our community, of all ages, to engage in the empowering journey of further education to bring more generations of learning to life'

As a member of the Western Sydney University's Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement and Employment, Shirley is a strong advocate and when appropriate representative in cultural matters which pertain to the strategies and goals for the engagement, retention and success of Aboriginal students.

In 1984 Shirley commenced a Bachelor of Science at the Western Sydney University this was followed in 1994 with a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education Studies (Higher Education) from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Shirley has over twenty years experience working in educational settings with primary, secondary and tertiary Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. She is regarded as an 'expert'  and have for the most part worked in areas where her 'Aboriginality' was called upon to create curriculum, resources and support to Teachers, Aboriginal workers and students.

Shirley started her career with the NSW Board of Studies Aboriginal Curriculum Unit where she provided ministerial advice to the Director regarding Aboriginal issues relating to schools, exams and curriculum implementation.

Currently a Lecturer in Aboriginal Education, Sociology and Secondary history curriculum, Academic Career Advisor and researcher  with the University of Western Sydney her Aboriginal Education - Individual contributions have been acknowledge in various Publications and Awards. Her expertise has resulted in Conference presentations and Aboriginal Education Consultations

Shirley's advisory and committee roles currently include Chair, School of Education More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI), Member of the School of Education Workloads Committee and the School of Education Chair of the Higher Education and Participation and Partnership Programme (HEPPP). This program aims to ensure that Australians from low socio economic backgrounds, who have the ability to study, get to do so.

Shirley is a descendant of the Gunditjmara peoples with strong ties both to her own people and other Aboriginal communities including those in Western Sydney through her previous research work and artisitic endeavours.

"My passion is to challenge the institution, policies and structures that limit opportunity for groups who face disadvantage"

"I have collaborated with a range of individuals in my career. There are many who I admire but who struggle to work with others on a shared vision. This is not the case for Shirley Gilbert. Shirley is respectful , collaborative, responsive and pragmatic, Shirley takes the time to understand issues and to see the 'bigger picture'"              Eric Brace                                                                                                                                                     Executive Educational Advisor, the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation

"Shirley is the ultimate professional who is very dedicated to UWS and the students under her care. She is always friendly but firm, approachable and very 'hands on' She is committed to improving opportunities for success for all students but particularly Aboriginal students                                                                           Joanne Nibbs                                                                                                                                                Lecturer, History Department, School of Education

Lynda Holden, Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery

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Lynda was born on Gumbaynggirr land, and is a descendent of the well-known Aboriginal, King Bobby from the Dunghutti Nation.

Lynda is a leader in Health and Social Justice whose professional philosophy is "Hear our clients and advocate for them efficiently and effectively. I conduct myself congruent to the values espoused by my parents and communities."

Lynda started her career in nursing at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane then completed a Graduate Diploma in Midwifery at the University of Western Sydney.

In 2002 Lynda commenced a double degree in Arts and Law at the University of New South Wales, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts (History) and Bachelor of Law. This was followed in 2009 with a Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (Higher Education) from the University of Sydney.

 In 2009 Lynda attended the College of Law, graduating in 2010 and admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Australia. Not content to rest on her laurels, Lynda in 2012 graduated with a Masters in Law (criminal justice/ criminology) and (human rights/ social justice) from the University of NSW. Lynda's career progressed with the Department of Community Services in the area of policy and developing standards for Aboriginal children in Out of Home Care continuing in Mental Health and Child Protection.

She is currently a Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery with the University of Western Sydney.

Lynda has had advisory and committee roles where she has been a part of the review of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle under the Children and Young People (Care and protection) Act 1998, the Adoption Act 2000, Mental Health Act 1990 for the compliance and inclusion of Aboriginal families and community culture and values and as Mental Health Official Visitor for Western Sydney Area Health, Advisory Committee member to the Minister for Health for 3 year term 2003-2006.

Lynda researched the needs of Aboriginal women involved in domestic violence which led to extra funding to address the issues. Admitted to practice law as a solicitor, Lynda has completed a Masters in Laws and is currently preparing to start her PhD.

Lynda is a wife and mother of four sons. Two are solicitors (one an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative at United Nations), one considering a career in medicine and the other a career in digital media.

Professional staff

Alison Anderson, Student Operations Officer, Academic Registrar's Office

Alison Anderson has completed a Certificate IV in eBusiness (2007), a Certificate III in Business Administration (2006), and a Certificate II in Business Administration.

She is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Business and Commerce at Western Sydney University on a part-time basis. In 2014, she plans to undertake the Certificate IV in Frontline Management.

Find out more about Alison Anderson.

Contact Alison Anderson

Crystal McDermid

'I love being behind the scenes organising mini projects for international students and arranging meetings to discuss partnership exchange or research agreements.'

Crystal is a Business Administration leader and one of the first Indigenous Business Administration Trainees.

Crystal proactively seized the opportunity available by accepting the Western Sydney University Administration traineeship as a young Year 10 school student She has completed Certificate III and Certificate IV in Business Administration and believes this is the beginning of developing her skills to move into a management role in the future.

Crystal is currently a part of the University's International Office and is the central point of contact for students wishing to undertake the Exchange Program or Study Abroad. Crystal is also required to assist with travel and accommodation arrangements for the international visitors and delegates. She organises the campus tour and program for the visit including any gifts.

Born and raised at Westmead, Crystal is part of a Koori dance group that danced at the Opera House on Survival day, actively celebrating Aboriginal heritage and culture.

As a friend and colleague, I can say without hesitation that Crystal is an honest and dependable individual whose mature outlook and excellent judgement are evident in all that she does. She has always displayed a high degree of integrity and responsibility and is a tireless worker who goes the extra mile to ensure the successful completion of personal and professional endeavors regardless of volume or degree of difficulty"             

Rebecca Campisi, School of Nursing and Midwifery,  Western Sydney University                                                                                University of Western Sydney

Jessica Bamblett, Koori Bridges Project Officer

Jessica completed a Bachelor of Community Management at Macquarie University in 2010. Her previous employment positions have included Project Officer and Administration roles with the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (2006-2013), and Legal Secretary with various Law Firms including the Crown Solicitor's Office (1998-2006). She has also volunteered for Yabun and the NSW Rugby League Knockout for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.

Jessica took up her position as Koori Bridges Project Officer at UWS in December 2013. She says: "I was taught by my mum that to accomplish great things in life, you need to work hard. I want to instil that into my children to teach them that although they may see at times that it's unfair that I have to go to work, working pays for those fun times they have on the weekends."

Find out more about Jessica Bamblett.

Contact Jessica Bamblett

Kylie Beerens, Administration Officer and former Business Administration Trainee

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Kylie is a mentor to Indigenous Business Administration Trainees whose professional philosophy is from Deuteronomy Rabbah

"In vain have you acquired knowledge if you have not imparted it to others"

As a member of the University of Western Sydney's Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement and Employment, she is an advocate for the opportunities and career paths offered at the University. She believes that she has attained, through her own traineeships and mentoring her trainees, strong growth in her own professional development.

Prior to joining the University of Western Sydney, Kylie was employed by the Police and Community Youth Clubs (PCYC). Kylie's role as an Activities Officer involved working with children in the community and the NSW Police.

After a couple of years out of the workforce, looking after her family, Kylie decided she was ready to return to work and began her search for a new career. She opened her local paper and came across the University of Western Sydney advertisement for Indigenous Business Administration Traineeships. Kylie successfully applied for one of the positions and after her first year was offered a second year traineeship with the College of Business and Law. Kylie also decided to continue building her skills through TAFE NSW and completed a Certificate IV in Human Resources.

"I have 30 years of work left in me and if I can, I will spend it here. The University has been great in providing me the opportunities and skills I would never have had otherwise. If I can repay them with good service I will"

Kylie says her day varies greatly, with a wide range of administration tasks, from coordinating travel arrangements, mail distribution, organising events to preparing documentation.

"The career path and opportunities that have opened up for me since becoming a part of this program through the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement have been amazing. This program has offered me as a trainee, all the support I need and through this program I have also formed some great friendships"

She is now a mentor to other trainees and has been appointed as a Senior Administration Officer to the Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor, International.

"Kylie is a dedicated and hardworking executive assistant and her work and reputation has been well received by UWS community as well as external stakeholders from Australia and international business partners. I am very proud and thankful to have Kylie as my assistant" Professor Yi-Chen Lan, Associate pro Vice-Chancellor (International), UWS International, University of Western Sydney

"Kylie is one of the most dedicated and enthusiastic employees I have had the pleasure of working with. Her ability to learn new skills and transfer those skills into value-adding contributions to our workplace was well recognised amongst both peers and executive level staff alike" Tanya Cook, Executive Officer, Student Support Services, University of Western Sydney

Contact Kylie Beerens.

Casey Rae Borthwick, Department of Science, University of Western Sydney

Casey Rae Borthwick

Laboratory Supervisor - Animal Health and Welfare, Department of Science, University of Western Sydney

Descendant: Darug Nation

Casey is the current recipient of the Yarramundi Higher Degree Research Scholarship scheme which aims to strengthen and support indigenous participation in higher degree research at UWS. Her PhD Project is T-lymphocyte immunology of Dasyurid marsupials. Identifying parts of the adaptive(acquired) immune system (T cells),characterising genes associated with T cells in order to further examine the types, locations and potential roles of these immune cells in the red-tailed phascogale Phascogale calura, an endangered Australian native marsupial species.

Casey started her career with a Bachelor of Science (Biological Science) with majors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Whilst studying she undertook an independent research project in aspects of marsupial immunology. She followed this with a Bachelor of Science in which she received Honours continuing her research with the isolation of immunological coding sequences of the red-tailed phascogale.

Her achievements include
University of Western Sydney, Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (OATSIEE) Member,

Presentations:
AMS National Conference, Melbourne 2014
NACI National Conference, New Mexico, USA
AMS National Conference, Sydney, 2013
University of Western Sydney 3 Minute Thesis Competition, Sydney, 2013
 Australian Health and Medical Research Congress, Adelaide 2012
University of Western Sydney College of Health and Science Student and Postdoctoral Conference 2011
Molecular and Experimental Pathology Society of Australasia National Conference 2011

Awards:
Yarramundi HDR Scholarship 2013-2015
NACI travel Award, New Mexico, USA, 2014
AMS Travel Award, Melbourne, 2014
 BioInfoSummer Travel Award, Adelaide, 2012
MEPSA AHMRC Student Travel Award, Adelaide, 2012
Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority Scholarship 2011
University of Western Sydney, College of Health and Science  Summer Research Scholarship 2010 - 2011
University of Western Sydney, College of Health and Science Deans Merit List 2010

Publications:
Casey R Borthwick, Lauren J Young, and Julie M Old (2014) The Development of the Immune tissues in marsupial pouch young, Journal of Morphology
 Stannard HJ, Borthwick CR, Ong O, Old JM (2012) Longevity and breeding in the red-tailed phascogale (Phascogale calura) Australian Journal of Mammology. In Press. ISSN 0310-0049. 2010 ERA Journal Ranking:C Impact factor not available (2011)

Projects and Research:
Science Research Project 2,2010 - Conducted  a semester long research project on immunology of the red-tailed phascogale, monitoring and assessment of health and euthanasia procedures for adult native mammals.
Summer Research 2010 - 2011 - Undertook an independent research project in aspects of marsupial immunology, gained experience in the capture an d handling as well as monitoring and assessing health of red-tailed phascogales.

Cris Carriage, Indigenous Project Officer, School of Medicine

'If we break down the barriers of ignorance and intolerance, we can start to understand each other and learn from each other. We should never judge a person if we don't know their story.'

Cris is the Indigenous Program Officer for the School of Medicine and feels she is helping Western Sydney University understand our Aboriginal culture and health issues and through this they can help support communities.

Cris started her career by learning to type at TAFE and her first job was as a Receptionist for a government department whom she worked for six years. Cris then worked for Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in a variety of positions before moving onto the NSW Aboriginal Land Council as a Research Assistant. While working at the Land Council, Cris was handed a pamphlet about a community management course at Macquarie University, recognising the opportunity Cris gained a place as a mature aged student.

Socio-economic outcomes for the marginalised have always interested Cris so having completed her Diploma in Community Management, Cris went on to a Master's in Aboriginal Health at the University of Wollongong. She then completed a Bachelor of Community Management. Through this time Cris continued her employment in a variety of roles including Clinical Coordinator for Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation, a casual Teacher with TAFE, Aboriginal Education Officer and Program Coordinator at an Area Health Service and then for five years as a Project Officer for Aboriginal Housing.

In 2007 Cris received a call about the position as Indigenous Program Officer at Western Sydney University, School of Medicine at the Campbelltown campus. Cris saw this as an opportunity to support Aboriginal students and develop a program that would help address the needs of Aboriginal people and enable her to work in the communities.

Cris helped to establish a unique educational opportunity for many of the medical students through the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health community placements. This has enabled students to get amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to consider their real life issues, to see first-hand in the context of the social and material condition's of people's lives and to see what actually works in terms of health response. This program won an award from the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) Network.


Cris was born in Moruya on the NSW South Coast. Her mother and grandmother's clan are the Gunai (Kurnai) people of Gippsland, Victoria and her father's country is the Yuin nation of the South Coast of NSW.

'Chris is a highly respected professional who with her warm, calm and friendly manner combined with her passion and drive to make a difference, delivers high-level results for UWS Aboriginal Medical Education Programs.'                                                                                                                                                       Melissa Williams,                                                                                                                                            Director, Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment & Engagement (OATSIEE), Western Sydney University.

Jarred Hodges

"Sport is life, Life is sport"

Jarred is an accomplished Sports and Health Education professional and is passionate about contributing to the empowerment and engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities by using his professional skills and experience through sport and education.

Jarred is currently the Senior Project Officer - Student Engagement with Western Sydney University where he develops programs to assist with educating and aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students towards higher education and promoting a pathway to employment.

The 'Field of Dreams' program, a joint initiative supported by the Federal Government, Western Sydney University and National Rugby League currently engages 250 Indigenous students from 13 schools throughout Western Sydney and a further 70 students from 10 schools in the rural communities of Dubbo and Bathurst.

The program has achieved phenomenal success with 14 young school leavers transitioning into Higher Education in 2015 of which three are studying Medicine and in 2016, 75% of the Year 12 program have applied and are aspiring to transition from high school to university.

Jarred was recently awarded the 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Impact Alumni Award' at the 2016 Western Sydney University Alumni Awards. The Alumni Awards program was established to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding achievements of graduates.

Jarred was the first in his family to complete a HSC and the first to attend university. In 1987 Jarred commenced a Bachelor of Health Science, continuing his academic journey with a Diploma in Education (PDHPE) in 1998 and a Masters of Teaching in 2003 all at the Western Sydney University. He is a qualified coach, with his coaching roles taking him from NSW School Rugby to Specialist Coach with the QANTAS Wallabies.

Prior to his role with Western Sydney University, Jarred was a Personal Development, Health and Physical Education Teacher at Prairiewood High School where he instigated the before school fitness program, encouraging a change in the poor lifestyle habits of students. He also encouraged the recognition and celebration of Aboriginal culture, organising an Aboriginal Cultural Day and NAIDOC week.

For the last 20 years Jarred has been involved with the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team (National Indigenous Rugby) with the goal of introducing Rugby Union to young Indigenous men and women across Australia in the hopes of coupling athletics with academics and has been able to develop education opportunities for participants at numerous elite and private schools.

Jarred is a descendant of the Kooma people from South Western Queensland, the Emu being their totem. Most recently the Kooma people received Native Title Determination.

'As a celebrated and accomplished coach of youth in many sports, Jarred Hodges is unsurpassed in the field of 'the sport they play in heaven - Rugby!'.Apart from his obvious talent to teach the rules and strategies of the game, Jarred has a magical ability to unify the hearts and dreams of kids from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds so that they may take their challenge to the greatest heights'                                                   Denise Smith, former Deputy Principle, Prairiewood High School

"I have known Jarred Hodges since 2008 and would have no hesitation in recommending him to any prospective employer both as a rugby coach, an educator and a man. In his many roles he consistently displays a genuine work ethic. He can always be relied upon to fulfill any demands made of him in an often challenging environment."                                                                                                                                                  Robbie Deans, former Wallaby Coach

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Amanda Cooksley, Prospective Student Advisor, Indigenous Outreach and former Cadet

Amanda began her careers as a cadet at Landcom. She is now a Prospective Student Advisor for the UWS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Team.

Jennifer Flood, Project Officer, Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement

Jennifer Flood

'I love giving back to the Aboriginal Community through education and empowerment. I'm passionate about using what I have learnt to make life easier for others both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.

Jennifer started her career in various administration positions in the corporate sector with companies such as Dun and Bradstreet, Proctor and Gamble, CSR and Futuris Corp.


Jennifer completed a Bachelor of Arts History (History, Politics and Philosophy) at Western Sydney University and while studying commenced as a casual Student Services Officer and Professional Note Taker. This lead to her role as Indigenous Student Services Officer with the Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education.

Jennifer continued her education with a Diploma in Arts (Social Ecology) (2009), a Post Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research Training and Practice from Melbourne University (2010), a Graduate Certificate in Education (Leadership) followed by a Master of Education (Leadership) both from the Western Sydney University. She is currently planning a return to study to commence a PhD.

Over the last five years, Jennifer has worked in various areas of the University including the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement as Project Coordinator, where she was responsible for supporting the Director in delivering programs and projects within the office including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business/Technical Traineeships, Cadetships, Early Career Academics and Workplace Relations program. Her current role is Testing and Promotions Coordinator in the Aboriginal Outreach Unit where she oversees the administration of the Alternative Entry Program.

Jennifer was the first Aboriginal person to graduate from the University's Inspire Leadership Program designed to develop and enhance the leadership skills and capabilities of the University's Academic and Professional Managers and leaders to influence and inspire others. In 2010 Jennifer was the recipient of a Vice-Chancellor Professional Development Scholarship and was able to attend a Garma Festival in Arnhem Land.

She is active in the community and her committee and leadership roles include Chairperson of Merana Aboriginal Corporation for the Hawkesbury, President of Da Murrytoola Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG), Met West Regional Aboriginal Consultative Group, Regional Delegate State Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) and representing the University on the Indigenous Australian Employment Strategy Consultative Committee (IAESCC) 2009-2011 and at the Australian Federation of University  Women 4 day Triennial Conference in 2009.

The plan for her Academic future is to use her previous research published in 2013 Aboriginal Women and Higher Education: A pilot study of what drives and sustains mature age Aboriginal women to study at university will be the basis of her PhD.

My leadership philosophy is 'we need to inspire each other to be the very best we can be'.  I believe leadership is about serving and working with others to achieve a meaningful mission. I lead by having a positive vision, values, and a strong sense of worth."

"Jennifer is passionate about breaking down stereotypes and advancing access and outcomes for marginalised communities. Jennifer is committed to equity in employment and education and approaches step-changes with an always willing manner to push the boundaries"                                                                                         Melissa Williams,                                                                                                                                            Director, Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement, University of Western Sydney.

Josephine Galea, Indigenous Project Officer, Schools Engagement Unit

Josephine Galea

'I've always had a passion for encouraging young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to study and aspire further. I love coming to work everyday,' says Josephine Galea, who has worked at UWS for seven years including roles in the student centre and enrolments and student finance.

Undeterred by the many obstacles she faced as a teenager - 'I had to leave school at the age of 14 due to unfortunate circumstances' - Jo worked long hours from a young age but was determined to give herself an education. Jo worked seven days a week to put herself through secretarial college and has continued to excel. After finishing college she sat a public service test in the Indigenous stream through the then CES and received a near perfect score! Many job offers followed and Jo took up a traineeship with the Department of Education, Employment and Training, and eventually landed a permanent position in the corporate division of finance.

Jo has described her work at UWS as a 'hugely varied role' which includes prospective student advice, schools liaison, community engagement and career market presentations.

One of the best parts of the job is being able to speak from experience, Jo says. 'When I'm talking to the kids and if they enquire about my education I tell them my story and they know I have not had a good start and it emphasises how important education is and that they can excel.'

Jo says UWS is an organisation that provides variety, opportunity to move around and room for advancement. Jo describes the opportunity to work at UWS as a career for life.

Terri Keating, Administration Assistant and former Business Administration Trainee

Terri KeatingTerri Keating undertook a traineeship at UWS in 2008 to gain skills in a new sector. After successfully completing her first year, she was offered a second year traineeship.

Says Terri: "I needed experience to get a job in administration but how could I get experience without a job? Then I saw the ad for traineeships at UWS and applied. It's a brilliant opportunity." Like the other Trainees in the Indigenous Business Administration Traineeship Program, Terri worked four days a week and attended Western Sydney Institute one day each week. She completed a Certificate III in Business Administration. Terri now acts as a Mentor/coach for new Indigenous Trainees and is recognised for her leadership in helping others. Terri is now a mentor to other trainees and has been appointed as an Administration Assistant to the Director, Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement.

Contact Terri Keating.

Matt Kirk, School Administrative Officer, School of Business and former Cadet

In March 2010 Matt started a cadetship with Landcom, while studying a Bachelor of Business and Commerce. Matt is now employed by the UWS School Academic Committee at Parramatta campus. "It was really great to gain work experience while still at uni. This allowed me to implement the skills I had studied in the workplace, which gave me a head start when entering the workforce. The support provided by the OATSIEE was excellent so I didn't encounter any problems or issues throughout the program."

Nathan Tyson

Graduating with Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Jurisprudence from UNSW in 1997, Nathan has worked predominantly in areas of law and justice, with a focus on Human Rights, anti-discrimination and consumer protection. Nathan has worked for Government agencies including the NSW Ombudsman, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, NSW Community Justice Centres, the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

In 2007 Nathan was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management (Macquarie).

From 2009-2012 Nathan worked for the National Australia Bank in the Community Finance area. More recently Nathan held the role of General Manager at Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Education Centre, and in August 2015 commenced with Western Sydney University in the role of Coordinator of the Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education.

During his career Nathan has also held a number of voluntary positions including President of the NSW Aboriginal Lawyers and Law Students' Association, Deputy Chair and Treasurer of Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation, Member of the NSW Law Society's Human Rights Committee, and was elected President of the UNSW Indigenous Students Association, and Indigenous Student Guild Representative while attending the University of NSW.

Samantha Wager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Support Officer, School of Medicine

Samantha's first role at UWS was as a trainee within the Chancellors Office, within the Executive Services Unit.

After finishing the Traineeship, she worked in the private sector for a year before returning to a role within the Badanami Centre at the UWS Bankstown Campus.

Whilst working at the Badanami Centre she was offered a permanent position within NSW Police Force doing General Administration at Mt Druitt LAC. After a year of working at Mt Druitt LAC she was promoted to Intelligence Analyst at State Crime Command, within the Intelligence Directorate.

After having a year off after having her Daughter, Samantha again returned to UWS, working part-time as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Support Officer for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical students.

Find out more about Samantha Wager.

Zeita Davis

Zeita is well versed in ethical practices, corporate governance, corporate responsibility, risk management and Occupational Health and Safety and endeavors to continuously explore research and implement appropriate and meaningful strategies to ensure compliance and accountability.
Zeita has over fifteen years' experience across a variety of facets within education including the management of operational requirements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program Centres which provide academic and cultural support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Her current role with Western Sydney University as Executive Officer with the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Leadership sees her responsible for overseeing key projects on behalf of the Office and providing strategic and operational advice and support through conducting research analysis on a broad range of governance, policy and operational issues across the portfolio. The position also prepares complex reports, submissions, briefings, presentations and associated correspondence and coordinates and liaises with senior management staff across the Schools Units and Divisional Offices.

As Project Coordinator with Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Centre at the University of New South Wales, Zeita was responsible for operations management including finance and budgets, streamlining systems to meet strategic and operational requirements and internal and external reporting. She also established collaborative networks with Units, Faculties and Divisions to support Indigenous education and strengthen internal relationships to gain support for Nura Gili's Educational initiatives.

Zeita's qualifications include a Master in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology Sydney. Zeita worked at the University of Technology Sydney as the Indigenous Tutorial Assistant Scheme Coordinator and then moved to the role of Manager, Operations with Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning where she developed, managed and improved operational compliance and efficiencies.

Zeita is a member of the Canterbury Council Aboriginal Advisory Group which aims to promote Aboriginal heritage and culture and contemporary issues faced by Aboriginal people. The Group has designed and delivered projects ranging from Aboriginal family day workshops, movie screenings, Reconciliation Walks, Close the Gap events and NAIDOC Week events to a very successful Aboriginal School Awareness Program.

Zeita is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman from Saibai Island.

Trainees and Cadets

Lurline Beard

Lurline Beard"I would definitely encourage other people to apply for a traineeship."

Lurline Beard worked in the MARCS Auditory Laboratories (a University Research Centre) Director's Unit and the School of Humanities and Languages.

Lurline says the traineeship, her first full-time job, has improved her self confidence and during her time at UWS she has developed an interest in business. Lurline says that since doing the traineeship, she has developed many new skills which will stand her in good stead for applying for jobs in the future. She is particularly interested in e-commerce and marketing and after finishing her Traineeship, began a business degree at UWS.

"I think it's a good opportunity to show you are capable of other things and don't have to limit yourself to what you think you are good at," she says.

Maddison Evans

While studying at UWS Maddison started a cadetship with Woolworths in February 2012. Her responsibilities involve monitoring, editing and approving communications as well as finding stories and conducting interviews for articles for the employee newsletters. She is now looking forward to learning about working behind the camera and scripting the weekly show. "My time at Woolworths has been an incredibly valuable experience. I have learned many skills and had some invaluable first hand experience of an industry I hope to work in for many years to come. This internship has been a significant education experience in the media and communications industry. It has taught me business skills, the importance of networking within a business and also the valuable nature of great teamwork."

Mitchell Gibbs

Starting in December 2010 Mitchell's cadetship with the NSW Police Forensic Sciences Group was renewed in January 2012. "Being a cadet greatly improved my perspective on what forensic science really is. It also improved my communication skills as well as my presentation and research skills and methods. All of this has shown me where I would like to go with my career. I have accomplished everything I set out to do."

Tarren Leon

Tarren LeonTarren is a second year Bachelor of Arts (Pathways to Primary Teaching) student at UWS. She was included in the Dean's Merit List in 2012 and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

In 2011 Tarren commenced a traineeship with the Information Technology Procurement (ITP) Unit within the Office of Information Technology Services at UWS.  The role involved handling software orders and any other general ITP requests and administrative duties. She is now employed within the Office of Information Technology Services as a Cadet.

Find out more about Tarren Leon.

Jarred Mack

Jarred MachWhile studying Information and Communication Technology at UWS Jarred worked as a cadet at the NSW Office of State Revenue (OSR) within the Web Content Team under Dr John Macleay, Deputy Director Applications. Since the placement commenced in November 2009 on a 12 week block, Jarred has been recognised by his work unit as a rising star and has been singled out as a top performer amongst all of the OSR mainstream cadets from a number of Universities. He commenced a second work placement and OSR have committed to offer him employment at the end of the program. "My time throughout my placement with the Office of State Revenue has equipped me with valuable skills and knowledge that I will need in my future through both my time at University, and my career prospects in future. Additionally, my communication skills have vastly improved, and I feel that was an extremely important outcome, because being able to communicate and deal effectively with colleagues is the backbone of working in an office environment."

Carly Regan

Carly ReganCarly says: "It shows my family and community what you can do if you put your mind to it. If I can do it, so can they."

Carly Regan has had some major changes come her way since completing her Traineeship in IT support in 2008. In 2009, she began a new position as a Teaching Technology Officer (TTO) at UWS which involves managing all of the equipment in the student labs and lecture theatres. She was also accepted into Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Criminology by UWS.

Carly says the traineeship gave her the confidence to apply to study at university. "It opened a lot of doors for me. I always wanted to do it but thought it was too hard, but then I sat the exams and got in." Carly says getting a university degree is important to her future career. Her career has really taken off in mid 2010 with an offer of a Customer Service Analyst from Razors Edge Software. Based in Sydney her appointment will also see Carly participate in Charity events and Overseas travel. Stay tuned for the next chapter in Carly's brilliant career.

Kristy Stanton

While completing her studies at UWS Kristy began a Cadetship with Accor Hotels. Starting as a Guest Service Agent Kristy progressed to Host in the Executive Lounge then to Reservations and finally to Night Audits. These positions required interaction with all levels of management. Her dedication and talent were rewarded with her winning "Employee of the Year" at The Pullman Hotel and being offered a full-time position at Accor. "My experience was amazing. I had a great time and learnt so many valuable things along the way not only in regards to the workplace but so much interrelated with my University work. My personal and professional skills increased dramatically during my Internship as I developed and matured from the experience. I now have a greater understanding of the industry as well as a stronger career direction and I now know I have the right materials and support to achieve that."

Gabrielle Talbot-Mundine

'I have a passion for professional development and doing the best I can to develop my skills and further my roles and responsibilities at the Western Sydney University."

Gabrielle is a Business Administration leader and one of the first Indigenous Business Administration Trainees through Western Sydney University.

As a Trainee, Gabrielle completed both Certificate IV and Certificate III in Business Administration and believes this is the beginning of developing her skills to move into a management role in the future.

A true champion, Gabrielle has been an ice skater for 12 years, competing in many events such as club, state and national championships, Hollins Cup and representing Australia in the Junior World Championships. She has worked at the Penrith Ice Skating Rink as a Crew Member and is currently coaching junior ice skaters.

Gabrielle successfully gained a full time ongoing position in the Graduation team as a Graduation Administration Officer and is the central point of contact for graduation related matters. Gabrielle is required to respond to daily queries from students and staff members as well as look after the processing of transcript order enquiries.
Gabrielle's tribe is the Bundjalung tribe based in Grafton Baryulgil, her great grandfather was the tribe leader before he passed away in 2008. My father being the first born grandson is next in line to be the Tribe leader.

"As the Graduation Team Leader I have witnessed Gabrielle to be very highly driven to learn and absorb information. She is very dedicated to her work and always has a 'can do' attitude" Stephanie Bourke, Graduation Team Leader; Western Sydney University Graduation Team

"I have had the pleasure of working with Gabrielle for seven months now and in this time she has proven to be a valuable member of our team. Her positive attitude and fun loving nature makes her a joy to be around and work with and her attitude to work and learn new things is exemplary "Christopher Keating, Graduation Officer,Western Sydney University Graduation Team

Find out more about Gabrielle Talbot-Mundine.

Jamie Lee Walker

Jamie Lee Walker was placed as a Cadet Assistant under Sylvie Ellsmore, Coordinator of the Policy and Research Unit, at the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC). Based on the positive experience and Jamie Lee's performance, NSWALC now wish to place another Cadet. Jamie Lee Walker has now commenced working with UWSCollege following a second cadetship placement within the College.