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Campus News : December 2010
10 Campus News December 2010 University of Wollongong www.uow.edu.au Alumni graduates of our university... REBECCA EVANS Bachelor of Arts (History), Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts) 2008 Rebecca Evans says her parents encouraged her to study her passions, rather than for a career -- so she enrolled in a double degree, studying History in the Faculty of Arts and Visual Arts in the Faculty of Creative Arts, majoring in textiles. It turned out to be excellent advice, as Rebecca is now forging a career as at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney based on those passions. An Assistant Registrar at the Powerhouse, she has worked on major fashion-based exhibitions at the museum, including this year's Frock Stars - Inside Australian Fashion Week which celebrated Rosemount Australian Fashion Week by chronicling its 15-year history of highlights, controversies and achievements. "This exhibition really fulfilled many of my dreams -- meeting many of the stars of the Australian fashion industry while researching the history of Australian Fashion Week," Rebecca said. "I attended Fashion Week this year, which was a fantastic opportunity to be immersed in the amazing talent of our current fashion industry in Australia. "I also got to work with Glynis Jones -- one of the most knowledgeable, thoughtful and hard-working curators around, which was a fabulous experience." Rebecca spent time as an intern at the Powerhouse during her UOW studies, working on a project called the Australian Dress Register. She also won one of the museum's Movable Heritage Fellowships, which is a scholarship for students from regional areas to undertake research projects at local museums. "I based my research on the collection of historical costumes and textiles at Tongarra Museum in Albion Park, and having the opportunity to work at the two museums gave me the chance to learn about museum practices," Rebecca said. Her first job after graduating was as Assistant Curator at the Powerhouse Museum, a short term contract working Passion for fashion pays off under Curator Lindie Ward on an exhibition called Ties with Tradition: Macedonian Apron Designs (which also visited UOW's FCA Gallery in April this year). "This was my big break and since then I have had amazing opportunities assisting with Frock Stars as well as working with an amazing museum collection as an Assistant Registrar." Rebecca said her UOW studies had prepared her well for her career. "I learnt so much studying at UOW, and I especially value the non-traditional culture of the Uni. I found the place very creative and liberating and many of my lecturers encouraged me not to just study for work but to learn for life. "I majored in textiles in my Creative Arts degree and this was definitely the highlight of my time at UOW," she said. "The lecturer at the time, Sue Blanchfield was really inspiring and a lot of fun. I learnt some fantastic skills in this class including silk screen printing, basket making and sewing. This has helped me in my role at the Powerhouse, knowing not just the theory of textiles and fashion but also the techniques of how things are made." NH GEMMA FREDERICKS Bachelor of Commerce (Accountancy and Legal Studies) 2002 Gemma Fredericks (pictured right) found her dream job at eBay when she returned to Australia late last year seeking a career change, having worked as a chartered accountant for one of the world's leading accountancy firms and several large British organisations. That's at eBay, not on eBay. Gemma is Finance Manager for eBay Australia and New Zealand. And while most people know eBay as an online auction and shopping website, Gemma knows it as a fast-paced, challenging and innovative workplace populated by "some of the most intelligent people I have ever met". eBay was founded in California in 1995 and has been at the forefront of the internet revolution ever since. It is now a multi-billion international business in 30 countries. Gemma says she loves working for an organisation "that is constantly innovating and moving forward". "eBay is an exciting place to be, because we are right on the cusp of Australia properly entering the online business market," she said. "Business strategy is debated daily as the company works to position itself ahead of the other retail players. I'm really inspired by the people at eBay, the way they think and the 'buy in' from each individual to achieve success for the business." E-business is quite a contrast from the more traditional world of chartered accountancy where Gemma built her career, and she says she is enjoying the challenge of adapting to the new environment. Gemma graduated from UOW in 2002 with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accountancy and Legal Studies, but took a roundabout route to UOW. When she completed Year 12 at Kiama High School she won a traineeship with accountancy giants PricewaterhouseCoopers (then Coopers and Lybrand), that combined university study with on the job training. It also meant re-locating to Sydney for work and study -- which cost her the chance to study at her university of choice. "The only downside to my traineeship with PwC was the fact that I needed to move to Sydney for work and would have to attend a university in Sydney as well, as I had always hoped to study at the University of Wollongong," she said. Gemma eventually settled on Macquarie University, and attended evening classes there after work for two years. However, she hadn't lost sight of her goal to study at UOW. "In the third year of my traineeship I could study full-time and work at PwC in the summer holidays, so investigated transferring to Wollongong and having the best of both worlds -- still working at PwC and being able to have the 'university experience' I hadn't wanted to miss out on." After a summer bridging course and with full credits for her Macquarie subjects, Gemma came "home" to UOW to finish her degree with two years of full-time study. "It turned out to be a really rewarding decision both academically and socially, as I really used those two years at Wollongong to learn from some great lecturers and tutors, and also make new friends and enjoy the social side of university." After graduating from UOW Gemma worked full-time for PwC in Sydney, completed her Chartered Accountant qualifications and progressed to Senior Accountant. In 2005 she transferred to the company's London operations, progressing to a manager's role. She left PwC in 2008 and took several senior contract accountant roles with major UK-based companies before returning to Sydney in October 2009. "I was a bit tired of financial accounting and decided to look for a broader role with an exciting company at the forefront of its industry -- to reignite some of the interest and hunger for a challenge that I enjoyed," she said. Enter eBay. Gemma gives her job a highly recommended A+++ rating. NH Rebecca Evans at the Frock Stars exhibition (Photo by Geoff Friend © Powerhouse Museum). eBay proves Gem of a job