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How to live your best student life

30 April 2018
Alumni legends share their most valuable life lessons
Our Graduate Medal finalists for 2018 have made incredible achievements in each of their fields. We spoke to 6 finalists to hear some of the most important lessons they’ve learned along the way.

"Back yourself and don’t be afraid to not know something"

Dean Cross (BVA ’17)
Finalist for Sister Alison Bush Medal

Dean Cross was the first in his family to graduate from university, completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts. Dean was committed to helping others, volunteering as a mentor with AIME and creating public programs for NAIDOC week and was awarded the Charles Perkins AO Memorial Prize for outstanding academic results. By working hard, trusting the expertise around him and backing himself, Dean is now driven to use his sculptural and pictorial artwork to re-construct and re-evaluate what it means to be Australian.

"If you can dream it you can achieve it"

Holle Maree Shillingworth (BOH ’17)
Finalist of Sister Alison Bush Medal

Holle had a particular motivation to study a Bachelor of Oral Health after seeing first-hand the detrimental impact that poor dental health had on her local community. She used her degree and the support of like-minded and positive people to raise awareness of oral health by building far-reaching community links in health, education and welfare. Her desire to give back is demonstrated by her commitment to mentoring Indigenous students in the MOBS (Mentoring Our Brothers and Sisters) program.

"Ironically, my greatest lesson learned is the importance of learning lessons"

Matthew Hood (BEc ’16, MMgt ’18)
Finalist for Nigel C Barker Medal

In order to move forward, sometimes you need to look back. This is one thing that Matthew learned throughout his Masters of Management and professional rugby career. By evaluating his performance both on and off the field and learning to making constructive changes, Matthew was able to excel in his degree and share his passions with others through mentoring and coaching and now runs his own successful marketing company.

"Never be afraid to ask questions – there is no such thing as a dumb question"

Dr Jennifer Baldwin (BAppSc(Phty)(Hons)’09 PhD’17)
Rita and John Cornforth Medal

An outstanding researcher into neurological and musculoskeletal disorders, Jennifer Baldwin credits her passion for bettering the health and wellbeing of others to her experience of being primary caregiver to her father. She believes the most important thing we can do is question the world around us because that’s the only way new discoveries are made. Her current research seeks to enhance the quality of life of older adults through participation, physical activity and social engagement.

"If you dream big, you can come from something small and do incredible things"

Drew Trahms (MPolEc 17)
Finalist for John C Harsanyi Medal

Having grown up witnessing the impact of poverty on her own community, Drew made the decision to move to Sydney to study a Master of Political Economy. Equipped with the skillset to live out her commitment to social justice and build a rewarding humanitarian career, Drew founded an organisation called ‘Believe We Are One’ which funds 25 scholarships for students from rural Nicaragua. Her achievements are testament to the fact that you’ll never know what you can achieve unless you try with everything you have.

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