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Campus News : CONNECT:UOW July 2012
RAMYA WANTS YOU TO STAY CONNECTED RAMYA ACHARYA Master of Business Administration 2005 Ramya Acharya has experienced the University of Wollongong as an international student and as an employee working in student recruitment, where a highlight was travelling around her homeland of India with UOW Ambassador Adam Gilchrist meeting potential students. She has enjoyed staying connected to her university as an employee, and is putting that experience to good use in her current role managing Alumni Relations in UOW's Office of Community and Partnerships (OCP). "Being an alumna myself, I understand that it is really important to keep the association going with students when they graduate," Ramya said. "Many alumni want to stay connected with their university, and we have to work on avenues to keep them closely involved." Ramya said OCP was planning to survey alumni to learn more about their interests and the ways in which they would like to stay connected to UOW. "We know many would like to be involved as mentors (to current students) and others like to attend networking events," she said. "Some want to help us raise funds for research. We've also had a really good response when we've asked for alumni to take part in Career Ahead -- speed interviews for students that helps them hone their interview skills before they go out looking for jobs. "It's clear many people want to stay connected to UOW, whether they live in Australia or overseas, and we've got to provide pathways for them to maintain a life-long relationship." Ramya's own pathway to UOW started in 2003 from her home city of Chennai (Madras) in southern India. Armed with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Madras University, she enrolled in the MBA program at UOW's Sydney Business School. "I knew about UOW from my brother (who also studied in Wollongong) and I liked the coastal location and the proximity to Sydney -- the best of both worlds really," she said. "I also like the boutique-style of the graduate business school. "UOW met all my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here as a student, and my part-time work as a sales consultant in the hospitality industry." Ramya worked with the Accor group at the Grand Mercure Hotel in Sydney, but when she graduated she jumped at the opportunity to work as a customer management officer at UOW's student recruitment office, UniAdvice. After working in the enquiries centre taking in-bound calls, Ramya graduated to a role as Marketing and Admissions Officer for South Asia, looking after student recruitment in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Her four years in the role included trips to those countries, meeting potential students and building partnerships with institutions and organisations in each. The visits included a memorable trip to India in 2009 with cricket superstar Gilchrist, who is UOW's Ambassador in India where he is revered as one of the greatest cricketers of the modern era. "Coming home to India with Adam Gilchrist certainly impressed my family," she said with a laugh. In February she began a secondment to the Alumni Relations Manager's role, one which she feels completes a circle of involvement with UOW. "I've been fortunate to be involved with UOW as a student and as an employee, and I want to help other graduates stay connected and inspire future generations," she said. NH BATTING FOR BATEMANS BAY SASKIA EBEJER Bachelor of Arts 2005 Saskia Ebejer says UOW Batemans Bay changed her life, and now she is determined to make sure it does the same for other residents of the Eurobodalla Shire on the South Coast. Saskia is a tutor at UOW Batemans Bay, and also works with student mentors Jaimey Facchin, Liam O'Sullivan, Kerry Flower and Alycia Thurrowgood in UOW's In2Uni program -- encouraging local school students to consider tertiary study at UOW Batemans Bay. Saskia, who completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at UOW's Batemans Bay facility in 2005 and a Graduate Diploma of Education in 2006 at the Wesley Institute, says because of family commitments she could not have contemplated starting university studies if she couldn't study locally. But when her children were finishing high school and studying for the Higher School Certificate she decided to investigate the possibility of doing some study herself. "Being able to study here gave me a chance in life that had only ever been a dream," Saskia said. "Life got in the way (of study) when I was younger, but then one day by happy chance I came in to the centre and had a chat with Gayl Vidgen (UOW's Batemans Bay manager). She explained what was possible, and I dived right in. "I always felt really supported here, by Gayl, by the staff and by my fellow students. This campus is an incredibly special place, which has nurtured me and helped me grow as a person. "This was a great place to study, and it is a great place to work. I really enjoy being able to give back to the place that gave me the opportunities that it did, and to support students the way that I was supported." Saskia began tutoring at UOW Batemans Bay in 2007, and is currently teaching for the Faculty of Arts in Indigenous Studies. In 2010, she won the Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning award for sessional tutoring. She has also continued her academic pursuits, completing a Master of Arts in Theology at the Sydney College of Divinity and is currently undertaking a PhD. She is passionate about encouraging South Coast people to consider studying at UOW Batemans Bay, and says the In2Uni program which UOW started in 2011 at Batemans Bay High School and Mogo Public School and expanded in 2012 to include Moruya Public School and Moruya High School, was already having an impact. "The profile of the centre is definitely being raised, and more school leavers are seeing it as a viable option to going away to study. I encourage them to consider at least starting their degrees at Batemans Bay -- where they can live at home and not have the financial burden of having to go away to study." NH 10 CONNECT :UOW JULY 2012 CONNECT: ALUMNI SASKIA EBEJER RAMYA ACHARYA