Highlights from the 2019 EMPOWER Professional Development Grant Recipients

Saturday, 1 February 2020

In 2019 the Faculty of Business and Law Empower Network supported 11 undergraduate students in pursuing professional development in the area of their studies or interest. They attended international conferences, women’s leadership courses, software workshops and student competitions.

University Scholars Leadership Symposium

These professional development opportunities widened their view of where education can lead them, they helped in creating new connections with like minded individuals, and in building real world knowledge and practical skills that will assist them in their careers and in the legacy they will leave for the future. Below is a summary of some of these experiences, in the students' own words.

“I was recently a delegate of the University of Newcastle to the University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS). The USLS is a week-long conference on leadership, service, and humanitarian affairs. I left Kuala Lumpur re-energised for my studies after exposure to what education can achieve and the connections it can create. Since returning, I have applied my lessons on constructive collaboration and have gained the confidence to reach out and find new pathways for change."

Kate Slowey (B. Laws/Dip. Legal practice)

“The 2019 Asia-Pacific Mediation Competition allows students to exhibit their mediation skills in a realistic mock commercial dispute. The competition problems were developed by professional mediators and were based on real international commercial disputes. During the competition, I used creative problem solving skills, critical judgment of cross-jurisdictional issues and rapport building to meet the dispute resolution needs of international businesses within a global context. This international competition strengthened my cross-cultural competency and inspired my commitment to life-long learning. I was able to build relationships with world class professionals and strengthen my awareness of 21st Century dispute resolution practices.”

Elyssia Gasparotto, (Bachelor of Laws (Honours) / Diploma of Legal Practice student)

All About Women

“On 10 March 2019 I had the opportunity to attend the ‘All About Women’ festival at the Sydney Opera House. The seminars provided a respectful space to learn from a range of perspectives on the unique contributions of women to our professional fields. I emerged from the festival with a wider view of where my Honours Thesis research can move to, with a contact for me to share and develop my own ideas, and with new techniques for articulating myself as a female leader."

Jessica Heaney (B Arts, Hons in Politics)

“The Empower Network sponsored me to attend the 2019 University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) for Humanitarian Affairs where I was surrounded by over 1000 delegates from over 50 different countries. This Symposium taught me the power of leveraging and valuing diversity as well as what it means to become a true global citizen. I gained an immense amount of real-world knowledge, not only from the inspiring speakers but also from fellow delegates from around the globe.”

Jennifer Hanson (Master of Business Admin and Master of Marketing)

Model UN

“I attended Model UN which is a simulation of United Nations assemblies. It provides participants with an unparalleled opportunity to practice diplomacy skills, become acquainted with the United Nations rules of procedures, and prepare themselves for a career in international affairs. To fulfill my role as delegate for small island developing states, I was required to write a position paper expressing the country’s views and proposed recommendations on the topic. I then had to advocate for these recommendations in the Committee session, and work with fellow countries to draft a Resolution. I had to do large amounts of research in preparation for the event. Negotiating during the Committee Session significantly improved my public speaking and advocacy skills.”

Kelsea Gray (B Laws/B. Science)


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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.