Meet Natalie Downing
BA, DipEd, MMktg(Newcastle), AMusA
Why did you join the University Council?
I feel strongly connected to the University of Newcastle both as a member of the alumni and long-term staff member. I am keen to help ensure our sustainability, longevity and relevance to our communities through presenting the professional staff voice on the University Council.
What do you look back on most fondly when it comes to your own education?
I feel so lucky to have experienced a well-rounded education at the University as both a student and a staff member. My fondest memories stem from living on campus, which gave me the opportunity to completely engage in the experience of being a student. Living at Edwards Hall I formed lifelong friendships and developed skills in leadership, communication, creativity, entrepreneurship, independence, resilience and innovation.
Natalie’s experience at the University of Newcastle is extensive spanning almost 30 years across all University of Newcastle faculties and a number of divisions.
As an undergraduate student in the late 1980’s Natalie was involved in numerous activities and took an interest in student representation. During her time at University, Natalie was President/Chair of the Resident Members’ Association (RMA) and member of the Edwards Hall Board of Trustees, Board member of the University of Newcastle Student Union, co-Editor of the University’s student newspaper Opus, NUSA Media Officer and later Education Officer. Some major achievements over these years include: developing the inaugural orientation program for the colleges; developing the inaugural University of Newcastle orientation program; performing in University Revues; touring the University of Newcastle Revue around the country including the Adelaide Fringe Festival; and co-creation of the Edwards Hall Drama Club.
Many years later Natalie returned to study at the master’s level with the University of Newcastle.
Natalie was awarded the Australian Government Asia-Bound scholarship which involved cultural and industry tours and international study at Shanghai partner institution the East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST).
Over her career Natalie has held various roles including: General Manager Campus Life, providing services, student support, and campus activation activities and events for Callaghan Campus; Assistant Registrar in the Faculties of Business and Law, Medicine and Health Sciences, Science and Information Technology and Education and Arts; Manager Residential Life across all the on campus residences and Head of College Edwards Hall.
Natalie’s current role is the Associate Director, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment with responsibilities for strategic business development including partnerships, staff, student and industry engagement, teaching and learning support, research and research training support and faculty operations.
Nationally, Natalie currently represents the University of Newcastle at Go8 Engineering meetings – a consortium of the top Engineering Faculties in Australia and New Zealand. Natalie’s international experience has been lifelong, living in many countries including the UK, Nigeria, Switzerland and the USA. Her international and national network is substantial representing the University of Newcastle through agent training and presentations and visits to partners across the globe including India, South East Asia, West Africa, China, Europe and the USA. Natalie is a member of the Executive Committee of the Global E3 (GE3), an international consortium of leading engineering universities who facilitate international exchange for their students. The GE3 is one of a number of international programs facilitated by the Institute of International Education (IIE) based in New York. The group also manage significant scholarship programs such as the Fulbright Scholarship.