The University of Newcastle, Australia

Callaghan graduates celebrate over 15 ceremonies

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Years of commitment and hard work will be celebrated by hundreds of University of Newcastle students over the next fortnight as they participate in the annual Callaghan April/May ceremonies.

More than 2800 students will participate in 15 ceremonies, beginning today, Wednesday 23 April, and tomorrow, Thursday 24 April with further ceremonies to be held on Wednesday April 30, Thursday 1 May and Friday 2 May.

This graduation, the University is awarding and honorary degree to the Honourable Rodney Harrison.



Isaac Lowe story 

Wednesday 23 April – Committed to making a difference to young people

10am: Faculty of Education and Arts

Armed with a newly acquired primary teaching degree under his belt, Isaac Lowe is focused on one thing – being a positive influence on young people's lives.

The 26-year-old graduated at the University of Newcastle Callaghan campus on April 23 with a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)/ Bachelor of Arts.

Surrounded by family to celebrate the achievement, Isaac revealed it was family members who were in the teaching profession, including two aunties and an uncle, who had inspired his career choice and sparked the desire to help make a difference in others' lives.

"I'm really keen to be a mentor to young children and be a positive influence on their lives," Isaac said.

Isaac said support from his lecturers, tutors and family was the key to his study success.

"My tutors have had a very positive influence on my teaching style and on my life in general." 

Isaac has secured a 12 month teaching position at Plattsburg Public School at Wallsend.

Isaac Lowe will graduate at 2pm on Wednesday 23 April at the Faculty of Education and Arts Ceremony. 

Thursday 24 April – Two engineering degrees, two University medals, one globally-mobile graduate lands her dream job

Catherine RichardsAt just 24 years of age, University of Newcastle (UON) graduate Catherine Richards has not one, but two engineering degrees under her belt, and the world at her feet.

On Thursday, the former Merewether High School student will celebrate the completion of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering, graduating with honours and a University Medal for each degree - recognition of her outstanding academic performance.

In addition to studying two degrees simultaneously, Ms Richards was also working full-time as a Cadet Engineer. The Cadetship, as well as full scholarship to University, was awarded by Hunter Water for the entirety of her six years of study.

"To study and work full-time was incredibly demanding, but equally fulfilling, character-building, and invaluable in preparation for a rewarding global career."

"I had to be very well-organised, to the point where my days were planned at half hour increments. Efficient time management was critical in also maintaining my fitness training, extracurricular and other professional commitments."

Since completing her studies, Ms Richards has landed her dream job as a Drilling Engineer with ExxonMobil (XOM) - the largest energy company in the world.

"I whole-heartedly love my job – it's not something I do to 'pay the bills', rather I take thorough enjoyment from my career pursuits."

Ms Richards said she was drawn to engineering because it underpins every aspect of society, in particular her primary interest - energy, which is essential to survival and everyday way of life.

"Drilling engineers draw from all disciplines of engineering, such as civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical. Every day I experience new challenges and develop different thought processes to apply in complex problem solving, which is the essence of engineering.

"My role as a Drilling Engineer is to design, plan, manage, and operationally execute the drilling of oil and gas wells."

"XOM Drilling Engineers are globally-mobile and have the opportunity to work anywhere in the world. I am currently in the Australia Drill Team, spending equal time in Melbourne HQ office, offshore Australia, and travelling for training courses and business. In my first year I'll have spent time in Singapore, Malaysia and the USA.

Ms Richards said the support of her lecturers, who were understanding of her commitments; as well as the encouragement from her mother and maternal grandparents, were crucial to her success.

In the future Ms Richards will be focused on progressing her career with XOM, and pursuing the opportunity to work her next project in the Arctic Circle/Northern Hemisphere. She also holds an ambition to complete a PhD in energy systems/technology at the University of Cambridge or MIT.

Catherine Richards will graduate at 2pm on Thursday 24 April at the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment ceremony.



Wednesday 23 April

10am: Faculty of Education and Arts

Occasional Speaker: Ms Cheryl Kernot. Ms Kernot is the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and Social Business Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact, where she directs and designs the national postgraduate education program and leadership of the teaching team.

Ms Kernot is also the Centre's thought leader on social business, social enterprise and social procurement. She writes regularly on these topics, speaks at events throughout Australia and advises emerging talent and organisations.

Ms Kernot was Leader of the Australian Democrats from 1993 to 1997, and the Member for Dickson and a Labor Shadow Minister from 1998 to 2001. Her political portfolios included, amongst many, Indigenous Affairs, Treasury, Employment and Women's Policy. She played a major parliamentary role in the introduction of compulsory superannuation and in the introduction of Native Title. She was a member of the Council for Reconciliation from 1992 to 1997.

Ms Kernot's policy interests have been in social justice and social structural reform and in 1994 she introduced legislation to legitimise parental leave. In 1998 she introduced trial social inclusion projects to the Labor Party's employment platform. Her subsequent work in the UK has been an extension of this pioneering policy interest.

Ms Kernot completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Newcastle in 1972 and Diploma of Education at Newcastle College of Advanced Education in 1975. 

2pm: Faculty of Education and Arts

Occasional Speaker: Professor Geoff Whitty is a leading scholar in his field and an experienced institutional leader. He became Director of the Institute of Education, University of London in September 2000, after teaching in schools and holding academic and senior management posts in higher education. He is widely credited with taking the Institute to new heights in terms of its local, national and international standing.

Professor Whitty was educated at Latymer Upper School and graduated from St John's College, Cambridge. After postgraduate study at the Institute of Education, he became a lecturer in education (sociology and social studies) at the University of Bath in 1973.

In 1981, he became a lecturer in urban education at King's College London before becoming Head, Professor and Dean of Education at Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England) in 1985.

In 1990, Professor Whitty became Professor of Policy and Management in Education, Goldsmiths College, and became Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education, Institute of Education in 1992.

Professor Whitty's many publications include Making Sense of Education Policy and, with Sally Power, Tony Edwards and Valerie Wigfall, Education and the Middle Class, which won the Society for Educational Studies education book prize in 2004. In 2009, he received the Lady Plowden Memorial Medal for outstanding services to education and in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2011 he was awarded a Commander of the British Empire for services to teacher education. 

6pm: Faculty of Education and Arts

Occasional Speaker: The Honourable Patricia Forsythe is the Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, a position she has held since September 2006. 

In addition to her role at the Sydney Chamber Ms Forsythe serves on a number of boards in the Government and Not for Profit sector including Destination NSW, the Council of Macquarie University, the Hunter Development Corporation, Sydney Children's Hospital Network, Business Events Sydney and Cricket NSW. Ms Forsythe is a member of the Business Advisory Board of the UTS Business School and an Honorary Associate of the Graduate School of Government at Sydney University. Patricia previously was a community nominee on the board of the Hunter Medical Research Institute.

Ms Forsythe represents the Sydney Business Chamber on a number of NSW government committees and task forces. Prior to joining the Chamber, Ms Forsythe served as a Member of the NSW Legislative Council from 1991 to 2006. From 1995 to 2005 she served on the Opposition frontbench, in a number of shadow portfolios including education and training.

Patricia Forsythe was born and raised in Newcastle and was awarded the Sarah Wheeler prize for History 111 and holds a Bachelor of Arts (1973) and Diploma of Education (1974) from the University of Newcastle. In 2013 she was awarded the Alumni Award for Regional Leadership from the University. 

Thursday 24 April

10am: Faculty of Education and Arts

Occasional Speaker: In a career spanning 18 years, Mr Anton Monsted has worked on four feature films with Baz Luhrmann and was Executive Producer of Luhrmann's 2004 campaign for Chanel No.5 starring actor Nicole Kidman.

Mr Monsted began work as an office assistant with Baz Luhrmann's 'Bazmark' production company. The job soon evolved into a research role for Luhrmann's 1996 adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Following the film's success, Mr Monsted went on to co-found Luhrmann's music company, Bazmark Music, and served as Music Supervisor and Executive Music Producer on Luhrmann's 2001 film Moulin Rouge!.

From 2002 to 2008, Mr Monsted worked as a freelance producer and music consultant on films, television, and live events including the Sydney Harbour Bridge 75th birthday in 2007; and as a producer of the Come Walkabout global advertising campaign for Tourism Australia in 2008.

Between 2008 and 2013, Mr Monsted was General Manager of Bazmark, working between their offices in Sydney and New York. He was Co-Producer and Executive Music Supervisor for Luhrmann's latest movie The Great Gatsby, and Executive Music Supervisor for the film and soundtrack for Australia, which earned him a Satellite Award nomination for Best Original Song for By the Boab Tree.

In 2013 he was appointed as the Senior Vice President of Music at Twentieth Century Fox, but his work with Baz Luhrmann continued as Music Producer on the live stage musical of Strictly Ballroom, which debuted in Sydney this year. Mr Monsted holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from the University of Newcastle which he completed in 1995. 

2pm: Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment

Occasional Speaker: Dr Alex Zelinsky was appointed Chief Defence Scientist and head of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in December 2011. Prior to this appointment, Dr Zelinsky was Group Executive for Information Sciences at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Director of CSIRO's Information and Communication Technologies Centre.

Dr Zelinsky was previously Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Seeing Machines, a high-technology company developing computer vision systems. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a start-up from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, where Dr Zelinsky was Professor of Systems Engineering.

Dr Zelinsky researched in robotics and computer vision at the AIST Electrotechnical Laboratory in Japan and has taught and conducted research in computer science at the University of Wollongong. He started his career as a Systems Engineer with BHP Steel International.

Dr Zelinsky has extensively advised Federal and State Governments in Australia. Most recently as a member of the Australian Government's Defence Industry Innovation Board. He has served on the advisory panels to the Australian Research Centre's Centre for Vision Science and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems.

Dr Zelinsky completed his Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Honours) and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Wollongong.

In 2009, Engineers Australia named Dr Zelinsky Professional Engineer of the Year (Sydney Division) and he has been included in Engineers Australia's list of the 100 most influential engineers ever since.

6pm: Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment

Occasional Speaker: Joining Lend Lease in 1987, Mr Murray Coleman has over 25 years' experience working in a number of senior roles across the business both in Australia and overseas. Mr Coleman previously led the Lend Lease project management and construction business in Australia, the Asia Pacific and UK regions, as well as having been Global CEO. He has been responsible for driving safety, strategic growth, operational excellence and innovation across the business globally.

Mr Coleman holds a First Class Honours degree in Building from the University of Melbourne, is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building, a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor at the University of New South Wales.

He has recently been appointed to the International Panel of Experts on Construction Productivity and Prefabrication Technology for the Building Construction Authority of Singapore, and is a Foundation Industry Fellow of the AIB College of Building in Australia.

On Australia Day in 2012, Mr Coleman was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the building and construction industry.

Mr Coleman has transitioned from his role as Managing Director of Lend Lease's Project Management & Construction business in Australia to take on the leadership role of the new Building business within the company.

  • Carmen Swadling, Media and Public Relations
  • Phone: +61 2 4985 4276 or 0428 038 477.

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