From improving access to education to empowering vulnerable people to growing the global business talent pool, the winners in the postgraduate coursework category are dedicated to succeeding in their chosen fields of study. We invited them to share their stories.
Winner: January Dechavez from the Philippines
Quality education for everybody
January knows first-hand how hard it is for people from a background of poverty to access education. That’s why she’s working towards becoming an influential voice in the Filipino education system. January wants to make education more accessible to all people, regardless of their financial position. To do this, January is achieving excellent academic results and taking significant steps toward accomplishing her impressive career goals.
Why did you choose your field of study?
I chose my field of study for the future of my country and the sake of the next generation. In my time as a student and teacher in the Philippines, I have seen a lot of changes in the education system. Often these changes are adopted from other nations, and they may or may not be appropriate for the Filipino people. Because of this, I’ve been inspired to become a teacher, education researcher and administrator so I can help people enjoy the beauty of education.
What extra-curricular activities have you been involved with at your university?
I have volunteered as a Peer Mentor to help my fellow students with academic skills and their transition to university life. As a Horizon Student Partner, I am part of the team who run public speaking sessions where students can practice speaking with confidence. I also actively participate as a member of the Flinders University Student Association, and I’ve assisted in different career programs to help students connect with industry networks.
What are your future goals?
It’s my ultimate dream to be the next Secretary of the Department of Education or Chairperson of the Commission of Higher Education in the Philippines. I was fortunate to meet the Chairperson when I graduated from my bachelor’s degree. She inspired me and told me to continue with my postgraduate studies, so I can teach or take on leadership roles in education.
What’s your Adelaide experience been like?
My Adelaide experience has been an interesting marathon. A moment of running, walking then taking a rest while being ultimately motivated to reach the goal. I’ve met lots of wonderful Australians at my university, workplace and church as well as lots of international students, like me from different parts of the world. The diversity here is just like the diversity in a marathon.
I also got married while living in Adelaide, which means this special place will be part of us forever.
Highly Commended: Salina Shrestha from Nepal
The Postgraduate (Research) Award is being presented to two highly commended students this year!
Salina is working towards a career where she can empower vulnerable people and be an advocate for them in the community. During her time studying in Adelaide, Salina has pushed herself to take responsibility for her academic goals, never allowing her vision impairment to hold her back. She has also strived for success in her work placements, securing a permanent part-time job in aged care which has inspired a career interest in geriatric mental health.
Salina volunteers to help new international students settle into life and study in Adelaide and has made a video to show prospective students and parents how her disability hasn’t stopped her from exploring an international education. She also volunteers at university events which has helped her build greater friendships and added value to her overall learning experience.
Highly Commended: Juni Hezi Romansyah from Indonesia
After graduating with an engineering degree, Juni worked for Telkom Indonesia at a time when the business was focusing on expanding internationally. This led Juni to realise that large companies will be looking for more and more employees with a globally recognised business education. For this reason, he chose to pursue postgraduate studies in business, giving himself the best opportunity for success in a globalised world.
While achieving success in his studies, Juni also plays an active role in several student associations at Flinders University, including the Flinders Indonesia Student Association where he provides support to ensure Indonesian students enjoy their Adelaide study experience. He also helps new students in the Flinders Business School with tips for study success, helps with fundraising at the Marion Islamic Community, plays soccer with the Flindo Football Club, and is an active member in the Australia Awards Awardee community.