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Campus News : July 2011
www.uow.edu.au University of Wollongong Campus News July 2011 15 UOW Arts/Law student Katherine Garaty's two-month internship in the United States Congress ended on an historic note when she witnessed Prime Minister Julia Gillard's address to a joint sitting of Congress in March. It was only the fourth time that an Australian Prime Minister had been invited to address a joint sitting of Congress, and Katherine had little warning that she would witness the historic occasion. "The next thing I knew I was walking onto the floor of the House of Representatives and being seated four rows from the front and to the right side of the Speaker's podium. I was so privileged to be there," Katherine said. Katherine and two other Australian university interns watched on as Julia Gillard delivered her speech about American courage and the importance of bilateral relations. The joint session, convened in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security (ANZUS) Treaty, reiterated the strength of the alliance between the nations and America's dominance on the world stage. "There were a number of standing ovations, particularly in the first half -- by the conclusion of the speech, I could see tears in the eyes of some of the Representatives," Katherine said. Katherine arrived in Washington DC in January to begin a prestigious internship in the US Congressional Offices on Capitol Hill, and spent eight weeks working for Congressman James E. Clyburn, the Assistant Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives. HISTORY ON CAPITOL HILL UOW intern witnesses Prime Minister's address On the eve of her departure she was invited to attend the joint session in Washington DC. "I was excited enough just to be in the room for the speech but my office had bigger ideas for their token Aussie intern!" Katherine said. Immediately after the address Katherine was given the opportunity to meet Ms Gillard with other Australian interns before the Prime Minister left for New York. Ms Gillard's partner Tim Matheson, Australian Ambassador to the US Kim Beazley and the Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon also attended the gathering. Washington-based Director Eric Federing manages the Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Program in conjunction with eight participating Australian universities. Katherine was one of 13 Australian students selected for the 2011 internship program, providing administrative assistance to the Congressional Office and sitting in on Congressional and Senate hearings. During her time in Washington Katherine also attended Australian Embassy functions, meetings with the US State Department and a special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's inauguration. "I actually felt star-struck standing in a crowd among the likes of Vice President Joe Biden, the entire House and Senate leadership, Caroline Kennedy and the rest of the surviving Kennedy family. But then to have the opportunity to meet the PM -- it really was an amazing end to cap off a fantastic internship," Katherine said. MC Mentor program to assist Aboriginal teachers An innovative program aimed at supporting Aboriginal teachers has been launched by UOW's Australian Centre for Educational Leadership and the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC). The Aboriginal Teacher Mentor Program was introduced to 15 Aboriginal teachers and school executives from the Illawarra's South East Region during a workshop held on May 12-13. Australian Centre for Educational Leadership Director Associate Professor Narottam Bhindi from the Faculty of Education said the program aimed to ensure the retention of Aboriginal teachers new to their positions as well as assist experienced teachers and executives in their ongoing career and leadership development. "The development of this pilot program is intended to support Aboriginal teachers and their mentors to build a successful relationship. As such, it integrates with DEC's ongoing commitment to improve the employment and professional development opportunities for Aboriginal teachers," Professor Bhindi said. Department of Education and Communities Regional Director Illawarra and South East Region Maria Gray-Spence said the program would involve almost 80 Aboriginal teachers across the area's 232 schools. "We hope it will help put the careers of new teachers off to a great start, but also give support and help develop leadership paths for experienced Aboriginal teachers," Ms Gray- Spence said. "We want to see more Aboriginal Principals, Assistant Principals - more Aboriginal teachers in executive and directorial roles." Faculty of Education Dean Professor Paul Chandler said he hoped the program would be fulfilling for both mentors and mentees. The program will be led by a team of highly experienced and credible facilitators including Professor Bhindi, Bulli High School Principal Bruce Sander, DEC Program Support Officer Michelle Brook and Dr Brian Cambourne from the Faculty of Education. JB UOW intern Katherine Garaty (left) with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and fellow Australian interns Dean Fernandez and Elizabeth Noble.