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Student Stories

It wasn’t easy returning to school as a mature student for Karita

You might look at a list of Karita McCarthy’s recent accomplishments and think that studying comes naturally to her. As a Bachelor of Nursing student at Charles Darwin University, Karita has certainly had a string of successes. But it wasn’t always that way...

Year 12 was a disaster for Joel. Now he’s a CDU honours student

Joel Benesha is what you’d call a high achiever. During his time at CDU, the software engineering honours student has been the recipient of over ten scholarships. But things haven’t always been this way. Joel failed Year 12 and “hit rock bottom.” He talks about how he picked himself up and turned his life around.

Yron doubted his ability to study...

...But Yron emerged as CDU apprentice of the year.

From a four-year apprenticeship, to a four-decade job

“When I was growing up in Darwin, I didn’t really hear much about mechanical fitters,” said Eddie Clarke, who’s currently pursuing a Certificate III in Mechanical Engineering at Charles Darwin University.

From a bored high school student to a respected community leader

Haydon Staines, a proud Indigenous man, went from being a bored high school student to becoming a respected community leader. It was a path that often took him out of his comfort zone. That path included graduating with a Bachelor of Education from Charles Darwin University. Now Haydon is helping to Close the Gap* as a school Vice Principal. Read on to find out about Haydon’s inspiring journey.

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Hao’s research to hone in on microwave photonic technology

Hao Chen completed his undergraduate studies at Tianjin University of Technology before going on to work as an electronics engineer for big brands like Samsung and Honeywell in his home country of China. He then made the move to Darwin to study a Master degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Charles Darwin University, which he graduated from in 2016. This star student was granted CDU’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award not once but twice and is now working towards his PhD in microwave photonic signal processing.

Srijana a rising star in local engineering industry

Srijana Ghimire has been kicking career goals since graduating from Charles Darwin University in 2017 with a Master’s degree in Civil and Structural Engineering. She landed a dream job with an engineering firm when the ink was practically still drying on her testamur, has worked on fantastic projects, and was even honoured with the Northern Association of Women in Construction’s 2019 Young Achiever’s Award. Read on for Srijana’s full story.

CDU scholar squashes self-doubt

Having spent a large part of his childhood in a hostel in his home country of Nepal, Sulav Shrestha vowed to turn the tide on his institutionalised upbringing by learning and traveling as much as he could. It was this drive that saw him head for Australian shores to pursue new beginnings as a Charles Darwin University international student. Now living in Darwin as he studies towards his Master of Information Technology (Information Systems and Data Science), we caught up with Sulav to chat about his ambitions to apply his IT degree in solving real-world digital challenges in developing nations.

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Where do art and environmental activism intersect? Ally is creating answers.

When asked to describe herself, CDU Bachelor of Creative Arts student Allyce (Ally) Pecket digs deep: “I’m a passionate interdisciplinary eco-feminist artist who connects aesthetic creativity and narratives about social and environmental themes.” Environmental themes certainly resonate in Ally’s work.

Hannah is researching military vets who attend uni—and she’s one of them

At first, Australian Air Force veteran Hannah Taino-Spick didn’t think she was eligible to do a research degree. Thanks to a supportive professor at Charles Darwin University, however, Hannah is now pursuing a PhD via a Higher Degree by Research (HDR). Her focus is on Australian Defence Force veterans who pursue higher education post-discharge. And she’s found that for former members of the military like her, studying can bring optimism and a new path post-military.

May's bold choices led her to CDU and on to career success.

A few years ago, May Fan was happy with the status quo. She lived in China’s Anhui province and had a good education and a stable career. She was surrounded by supportive family, including her loving husband and a young daughter. Then one day, something changed.

See where CDU’s study abroad program has taken Lucy

Lucy Lockhart is a fourth-year Bachelor of Education Secondary (Science) student with CDU and she’s studying externally from the United Kingdom. She recently completed the study abroad program CDU offers in partnership with Worcester University. She’s also a professional women’s rugby union player with the Worcester Warriors. In her spare time, Lucy holds down a teaching and mentoring job at a specialised school for at-risk children. She also travels around Europe with her partner Dan. Read on for Lucy’s full story.

Could you complete an online law degree whilst parenting? Margaret did.

Margaret Turnbull began her Bachelor of Laws at Charles Darwin University with a one-year-old on her knee, and had her second child in her second semester of study. Margaret also managed to win eight awards and two scholarships, including one for a stint at Harvard Law School. And she graduated in only four years, with first class honours. Wow.

Alisha wasn’t happy with her Queensland uni, so she switched to CDU

What’s it like to switch from one university to another after you’ve already begun your degree? CDU graduate Alisha Chapman has a few words of advice for anyone who’s thinking of doing just that. Read on to learn how Alisha switched gears and found the path to her passion.

Peta’s altruistic goals are inspired by a Disney heroine

Peta Lewellin says that her ultimate dream is to become the Mary Poppins of the postnatal world. What does that mean? And how is Peta able to pursue Charles Darwin University’s Bachelor of Midwifery when she lives thousands of kilometres away? Read on to find out more about Peta and her commitment to excellence in maternal care.

People her age were “settling down” but Pat followed her dream of living and studying in Australia

Pattarawadee Chatleelawat—Pat for short—made the move to the quiet city of Darwin from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to study a Certificate III & IV of Commercial Cookery and a Diploma of Hospitality Management with Charles Darwin University. This experienced hotelier has her sights set on a career as a hospitality entrepreneur, but as an international student, wanted to formalise the skills she’s honed during her career in the hotel industry before embarking on this exciting new life stage.

How do you wrangle a brachiosaurus? Just ask Rory, the Australian Apprentice of the Year

Overseeing the move of Big Kev the dinosaur may not be the most important recent event in Rory Milner’s life, but it’s right up there. “Big Kev is a Territory icon. People ask me, ‘How’s Kev? Will he be safe?” says the Charles Darwin University graduate.

From China to Galiwin’ku: Coco’s passion for positive change

Studying a Master of Teaching at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus, with the aim to graduate in 2021, Coco Chan has embraced her new life in Australia. Listing watching the sunsets from Darwin’s Mindil and Nightcliff Beaches and camping in Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks among her favourite pursuits, Coco has been taken by the veritable cultural melting pot that is Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. Hear more of Coco’s story below.

Research: Can Indonesia’s unique batik artistry be protected by copyright?

Dina wanted to find a way of safeguarding and protecting the cultural assets and traditions of her Indonesian homeland. So, she moved from the bustling city of Yogyakarta to Darwin to pursue a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) at Charles Darwin University. Read Dina’s story to find out where her journey led.