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Campus News : December 2010
www.uow.edu.au University of Wollongong Campus News December 2010 9 received a second round offer. "Yvonne told me: 'You're a very luck boy -- don't let me down'," he said. "I have always been very grateful to the University for giving me a second chance." While at University , Matt volunteered to coach the basketball team at Illawarra Sports High. This involvement led to offers of casual teaching at the school after he graduated, and a permanent position in 2006. "I got involved in the school's Targeted Sports Program for basketball, which had a strong emphasis on welfare and the development of the students as people as well as athletes," he said. "That was incredibly rewarding because the program became an extended family for a lot of the kids. "We developed a really strong bond which encouraged a lot of students to stay on and complete Year 12." Two of the students from that program -- Daniel Jackson and Tyson Demos -- now play for the Hawks. When Matt first joined the Hawks in 2007 he juggled teaching and coaching. In his second year he took leave without pay but returned to the school when it looked like the Hawks would fold in 2009. However, when a community campaign saved the club and McLeod was lured back to his home town as head coach, Matt applied for one of the assistant coaching roles and was offered a three-year contract. "It was a great opportunity to work with Gordie, who is not only a great coach but also a great teacher. This time I had to decide between teaching and the Hawks. I chose the Hawks, but it is good to know that I have a back-up plan -- thanks to the University of Wollongong." NH GLENN GILCHRIST Bachelor of Education (Physical and Health Education) 1991 UOW Physical and Health Education teaching graduate Glenn Gilchrist returned to his old university in October for the first time in nine years -- to keep a special appointment. Glenn joined his brother, UOW Ambassador and former Australian cricket star Adam, to open the batting for the Gown XI in the annual Stumping Serious Diseases celebrity cricket match which raised funds for health and medical research. Glenn said it was the first time the brothers had played together since 1985, when as teenagers they played with their father Stan for their local West Lismore team. "I was really pleased when Adam asked me to play, but if I'd known I would have to open the batting (against former Test pace bowler Andy Bichel) I may have reconsidered!" Glenn said. (For the record, Glenn acquitted himself well scoring 13 runs -- just two fewer than his brother). Glenn bats for health career After graduating from UOW, Glenn spent five years as a high school PE teacher. However, he says he realised teaching wasn't for him so moved into the fitness industry, working at gymnasiums, as a personal trainer and in corporate healthcare. That led to a position with a pharmaceutical company and from there he has moved into the medical devices industry. Glenn is a sales manager for German company Fresenius Kabi, which specialises in manufacturing infusion therapy and clinical nutrition devices, including infusion therapy pumps that are widely used in NSW hospitals. From his home base in Ballina, he covers northern NSW and travels widely across the northern half of the state visiting hospitals and training nursing staff to use the company's devices. Glenn says his physical education training at UOW had proved crucial in this career. "It has been a logical progression from teaching to the fitness industry to pharmaceuticals and now medical devices," he said. "What I learned at uni, especially learning how the human body works in subjects like anatomy, has been invaluable." NH The University of Wollongong's popular Bachelor of Education (Physical and Health Education) has been a springboard for a variety of careers -- inside and outside the school system. Glenn Gilchrist (right) with his brother Adam, preparing to open the batting for the Gown XI in UOW's Stumping Serious Diseases celebrity cricket match in October. Glenn admitted that cricket had never been his passion ("Soccer was my game ... I decided at a fairly young age that long, hot summer days were best spent surfing"), but he jumped at the opportunity to team up with his younger brother, help support medical research at UOW and visit his former university. "I have so many great memories of my time at Wollongong," said Glenn, who went to high school in Lismore where his father was a district schools inspector. "I remember that my first choice had been to study at the University of Sydney, but I missed out by one mark. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I had a fantastic time here. "Our PE teaching group was a small one with really good people. Because we were so small, we formed an intimate relationship with our lecturers. I also really enjoyed the campus life at Campus East and Koolabong." A talented soccer player, Glenn played with the Wollongong Wolves junior side while at UOW. Other memories of his time at UOW included selling hot dogs from a stand outside the Hotel Illawarra on Friday nights. In this Alumni Spotlight, Campus News profiles three graduates who moved from PE teaching to other careers in sport and health- related fields.