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What degree are you undertaking? 
I am a first year PhD candidate in psychology, having completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) last year. My research is in the field of Health Psychology.

What made you want to run in the 2022 UNSA election? 

It was actually a bit of a spur of the moment decision! I have always wanted to put my hat in the ring, so to speak, but never felt as if I had the background knowledge and experience to support myself in this endeavour. Now having a degree under my belt and some experience on my side, I feel as if this is the perfect time for me to run, and hopefully make a tangible difference for current postgraduate students, but also incoming ones.

What about the position you applied for appealed to you? 
I applied for the position of Postgraduate Students’ Senate Convenoras I have been so warmly welcomed into the postgraduate community within my first year of candidature, that I want to give back as much as I can. As I am also passionate about education, from both a student’s and teacher’s lens, I am enthralled by the potential to improve further education for those who are truly passionate about their studies. 

Why do you think it’s important for students to get involved in leadership roles, societies and clubs, and engagement events?
First and foremost, it is so great for you as an individual! Developing your confidence and transferable skills for future work opportunities can put you a step ahead. It can also be a fantastic networking avenue, lead to new friends and further opportunities including paid work. On the other hand, it is a great way to enact change and have a say about things that are meaningful to you. If you are involved in something, and decisions impact you, why shouldn’t you have input? Especially if you feel really passionate about something. 

I think at the end of the day, there is no harm in giving it a go, and if you find it isn’t for you then that is ok. You can always step away and still come out having grown as an individual.

Who is a leader you admire and why?
Honestly, it would have to be my PhD supervisors. They value collaboration, offer individual expertise, and break down power imbalances that you may expect to find in this industry. Their expectations are founded in partnership and open communication, which has allowed for my transition from undergrad to postgrad to be a positive one. 
One day, I truly hope that I can resemble someone similar for my own students.

How do you manage conflicts or deal with problems?
Coming from a psychology background, having a discussion is my preferred method. I find that often the conflict comes out of misinformation or misunderstanding or can be easily solved from clear communication. However, having also worked in the field I acknowledge that individual differences play a huge role in this. Techniques may need to be adapted or disregarded for individuals, with their own management style considered and potentially mirrored.

What are your interests at university and outside of university that make you a great candidate? 
I absolutely love learning and always have (I have been a bookworm since I could read)! All throughout my schooling, undergrad, and now into my PhD I have loved the learning environment and sometimes feel as if I will never leave it. My passion for education and student progress is driven by this personal trait. 
Further, as a budding researcher, I am intrigued by scientific practice and evidence. I try to ensure that anything I pursue has merit and is founded in something viable and valid. I believe this will provide me with an objective lens in this process.

What’s one issue you would bring to light, or one student engagement activity you would pitch, as a student leader?
I would focus on the need to have a person-centred approach for students. I don’t feel as if student’s have enough say in their university experience; degrees, career development, cost, policies, and restrictions for example. 

What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?
Get out of your comfort zone and start gaining experience during school, but don’t forget to look after yourself and appreciate your achievements.

Tell us an interesting fact we should know about you: 
I am actually a huge introvert and find leadership roles and public speaking to be quite challenging. However, I have learnt that persevering through this is well worthwhile.

Finally, why should students vote for you?
I am a big believer in choice! If my values and visions sit closely with your own, then consider giving me your vote.

The answers above reflect the unedited opinions of the running candidates. These attitudes do not necessarily reflect the values of UNSA, Opus, or the University of Newcastle as a whole. We wish all the candidates the best of luck and ask all readers to use their vote wisely. Not all candidates listed may appear on your election ballot if they have not fulfilled all pre-election criteria set by the University of Newcastle.