CQUni Student Readiness Adviser Kate Douglas is relishing her role in the Student Experience Directorate. Kate contacts students throughout their first term to see how they are progressing with their studies and connects them with support if they need it. Three CQUni HEPPP-funded Student Readiness Project positions commenced in Term 2 this year in collaboration with the ‘Personalising the Student Experience’ initiative, to support the transition and course progression of commencing undergraduate students, which is already reaping results thanks to the hard work of staff like Kate.
What is your favourite film of all time?
My favourite movie of all time would have to be Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
What was a recent highlight of your life?
I recently caught up with Greg Wilkes who works at CQUni as the Teaching School Coordinator in the School of Education and the Arts. Greg was the Principal of Mt Archer State School while I was there from grades five to seven. In year seven I was the vice-captain and spent many lunch breaks with the other school captains meeting with Mr Wilkes in his office and he became a great mentor for us all. Having not seen each other since my brother’s year seven graduation in 2013, it was great to sit down and catch up after such a long time.
If you could solve any social issue in your community, what would you tackle first?
If I could change one thing it would be the attitudes and stigma that surrounds mental health, especially mental illness in young people. Having worked and volunteered in the community, I see that stigma and people’s general attitudes towards mental health care have a massive negative impact on the young people in our community.
What was the moment that made you choose your career?
My dream job is to be a public speaker and travel the country to deliver in-school educational programs about mental health and/or sexuality and gender identity. I have been lucky enough to gain some experience over the last year in this area, having facilitated a LGBTIQ youth support group, helping to facilitate anti-bullying programs and understanding emotions workshops within a public high school, and also having been a guest speaker at the CQ Youth Sexual Health forum in 2016. I am studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science part-time to help me on the way to achieving this. I have chosen this as my goal career because I live with mental illnesses and I would like to be able to give young people the information and encouragement they may need to seek help as early intervention is key.
Who was the last person who made a difference to your life and how?
Even though it is cliché, I think the person who makes the most difference in my life on a regular basis would have to be my mum. She is always there as a sounding board, provides constant support and helps to keep me grounded when I am going through a difficult time.
Why should people study at CQUni?
Being a CQUni student and now working within the University to help students, I truly believe that students should choose to study here not just because we have great facilities and teaching staff, but because the University genuinely cares about its students and their wellbeing, as well as their studies. The support services that are in place to help students, especially those who are struggling, are incredibly helpful and worthwhile connecting with.
What do you love most about your role?
I love my Student Readiness Adviser role because having been a student from a low socio-economic background, and having my own experience studying while in difficult circumstances, I am able to use that and my knowledge of University systems and services to help other students who are struggling. Every student is individual and every student has different circumstances, and through my role I am able to personalise their experience as a student and provide them with tailored guidance to assist them to successfully complete their studies.
Which country in the world would you most like to visit?
I would like to visit South Africa as my mother is from there; she immigrated to Australia when she was only 10 years old and I would love to see the town where she grew up.
If you had no responsibilities, where would you be right now?
If I had no responsibilities and copious amounts of money I would be travelling the world with my camera taking pictures of all the places I went and all the beautiful people I would meet along the way.