Scene set for Great Hall graduation celebrations

Friday, 9 April 2021

More than 1550 graduates will enjoy the opportunity to celebrate their study achievements when they graduate in the University of Newcastle’s Great Hall from today.

With the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily constraining graduation ceremonies last year, the April graduation ceremonies at Callaghan campus will include a combination of students who completed their studies in 2019 or 2020.

Eight ceremonies will be staged across three days, Friday 9 April, Tuesday 13 April and Wednesday 14 April, celebrating students’ completion of undergraduate, postgraduate or research degrees.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky, AO, said graduation was a wonderful opportunity for students to reflect on their years of academic commitment leading up to the celebration.

“Graduation is an occasion for us to acknowledge and applaud the remarkable achievements of our students, as well as their loved ones and our staff, and be inspired by the stories of resilience and personal dedication that helped realise their dreams,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“We know how important these ceremonies are for our graduates and for their families and friends – so it has been very pleasing to be one of the few universities in the country to be holding face to face graduations.

“Our goal is that they graduate from our University ready for life. We wish them well as they embark on the next stage in their lives and I look forward to hearing more stories about the impact our graduates have in communities across Australia and around the world.”

Students graduating at the April graduation ceremonies will join the University's remarkable alumni network that includes 155,000 people across more than 149 countries.


Kieran’s innovative idea engineers medical equipment solution

Kieran Molnar“With my dad working as an engineer in the armed forces and my mum a teacher who served in the army reserves, I’ve always been inspired to be of service to my community,” said Kieran Molnar.

Initially aiming to become a doctor and help find a cure for cancer, Kieran found his talents developing in computers and gadgetry. He followed that path, yet still held on to his goal to make a breakthrough in the medical world.

Throwing himself into a double degree in Computer Systems Engineering and Computer Science, Kieran met a researcher who had an interest in the human vestibular system, that controls balance and coordination.

The medical equipment required to test the vestibular system is prohibitively expensive, relying on high-end eye scanning technology. Kieran and his supervisor identified a need for innovation. Kieran figured the much cheaper consumer versions of VR headsets, with eye movement detection, might also be effective to test for vestibular system anomalies.

Under the guidance of University researchers with specialist knowledge of electronics and biomedical sciences, Kieran produced a working alternative to the existing medical equipment using much cheaper gaming headsets. His project resulted in a clear proof of concept that initial diagnosis of balance problems can be carried out away from medical centres by individuals without specialist knowledge.

Kieran is being encouraged to continue this work and develop his novel concept through post-graduate study.

Kieran will graduate on Friday 9 April at 9.30am, with a double degree - Bachelor of Computer Systems Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Computer Science.

Sophie’s respect for environment lands her dream role

Sophie Montgomery“How we care for the natural environment influences what species can exist. As an ecologist, doing what I love and have chosen as my career, I’m proud to be playing a small part in a process that is impacting the environment positively,” said Sophie Montgomery.

Sensing society’s changing attitude towards the environment while visiting some of the most beautiful natural areas of the world, was a lightbulb moment for Sophie Montgomery.

It was the catalyst that saw her step away from a Fine Arts degree and onto a path that has fed her passion for ecology, conservation and environmental restoration. Sophie said undertaking Work-Integrated Learning as part of her degree, through placements and volunteering, was key to developing the practical skills vital for a career in ecological management.

Landing a graduate position at environmental consulting firm, Eco Logical Australia, just a week after finishing university, Sophie revels in working closely with threatened flora and fauna through ecological surveying; and creating solutions that build positive change for the environment.

Sophie was named Work-Integrated Learning Student of the Year at the University’s 2020 Employability Excellence Awards.

Sophie will graduate on Friday 9 April at 4pm with a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management.

Fire in belly leads Taylah on law journey

Taylah Gray"I always knew I had a fire in my belly. I always knew I had a fire for human rights and my mob because we are the most over-represented within the criminal justice system," said Taylah Gray.

Taylah Gray’s passion to fight injustice led her from Dubbo to the Yapug program at the University of Newcastle. A proud Wiradjuri woman, Taylah’s efforts campaigning for Indigenous rights have already made headlines across Australia, overturning a decision by NSW Police to ban a Black Lives Matter protest in Newcastle’s CBD in 2020.

Taylah received a $40,000 community-funded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship to support her study.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Laws, Taylah will continue her higher education journey with a PhD in Native Title and hopes to return to her community to increase access to the legal system.

Taylah will graduate on Tuesday 13 April at 2pm.


April graduation ceremonies, the Great Hall, Callaghan campus

Friday 9 April 
  • 9.30am: Engineering, Computer Science, Data, IT
  • 4pm: Architecture, Construction, Development Studies, Science, Maths, Environment, Psychology, Property
Tuesday 13 April 
  • 10am: Biomedical, Medicine, Medical Sciences, Pharmacy, Epidemiology, Medical Statistics, Trauma, Work, Health and Safety, Postgraduate Nursing
  • 2pm: Communications, Laws, Music, Undergraduate Teaching, Postgraduate Education & Business, Special Ed, Human Resources
  • 6pm: Health Sciences, Medical Radiation Science, Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Radiation Science, Physiotherapy, Public Health, Family Studies
Wednesday 14 April 
  • 10am: Aboriginal Professional Practice, Arts, Fine Art, Visual Comm Design, Creative Industries, Social Science, Speech Pathology, Social Work, Undergraduate Teaching, Theology
  • 2pm: Business, Commerce, MBA, Marketing, Applied Finance.
  • 6pm: Undergraduate Nursing, Midwifery, Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing

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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.