The University of Newcastle, Australia

Rhian, a recent graduate from the Master of Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development, is currently employed as an Emergency Management Coordinator with ACT Health. Throughout his time studying, Rhian has seen and experienced extremes, from bushfires through to a global pandemic.

Rhian has been able to use the skills and knowledge acquired in his program and apply them directly to his work.

“Needless to say, we’ve had a busy 12 months. The course gave me an appreciation of the challenges faced when promoting disaster preparedness, in respect to how we prepare and maintain knowledge and education for an event that may never happen, but it just might.”

What drew Rhian to the Master of Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development, wasn’t just the lights and sirens, emergency response to hazard and disasters. “The program looked at prevention, mitigation strategies and looking at how to build communities to be more resilient in the face of a hazard and potentially avoid a disaster.”

Rhian has continued studying throughout his career. From nursing, to paramedicine and then a few specialty postgraduate courses related to clinical operations. However, it was through his volunteer roles with the St John Ambulance and State Emergency Service that he grew to enjoy event and emergency management.

With a family and working a full-time job in a COVID operations centre, Rhian was able to still find the time to complete his degree. “The flexibility of online study to catch up with lectures at nine o’clock at night as bedtime reading suited my situation and meant I could keep up with the course while still having down time.

The Academics were as accessible to the online students as they were to the campus-based students. I spent a lot of time communicating with the program convenor,” said Rhian.

Rhian also enjoyed the ability to learn from other students who were working across different sectors to gain a different insight and experience. “During my Masters, I had opportunities to talk disaster management, resilience and recovery with a number of professionals who aren’t in the clinical sphere.  It was great meeting and working with town planners, and architects in both government and non-government professions,” Rhian said.

For those considering postgrad study, Rhian has this advice.

“Don’t overload yourself. But, on the other hand, also speak with your course convenors and the Student Central support team as there are many different options for how to get through increased pressures, from simple solutions as requesting an extension, through to accessing student support and study support services.”

Study a Master of Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development

Image of Rhian Blackwell

Rhian Blackwell

Rhian, a recent graduate from the Master of Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development, is currently employed as an Emergency Management Coordinator with ACT Health. Throughout his time studying, Rhian has seen and experienced extremes, from bushfires through to a global pandemic

During my Masters, I had opportunities to talk disaster management, resilience and recovery with a number of professionals who aren’t in the clinical sphere.  It was great meeting and working with town planners, and architects in both government and non-government professions.