The unique balance of theory and practice – with opportunity to gain real-world skills in Australia and abroad – offered to ANU students provides the ideal foundation for career success in a rapidly changing workforce, according to ANU College of Law alumnus, Julie Melrose.
As the Campaigns Manager for the environmental advocacy organisation, The Wilderness Society, Julie manages a team of staff running national campaigns on climate change and conservation issues, and teaches Administrative Law as a sessional academic.
“I would encourage ANU graduates to seek out opportunities to use their careers to make a real difference in the world. Don't feel the pressure to take up a conventional job or career,” Julie said.
“We are entering the workforce in a very unique point in history – we are witnessing a major energy transformation and a transition away from the extraction economy.
“Seize the opportunity to be a part of that transition in some way and make a contribution that will help shape our future.”
Julie says it was a combination of her academic study – she completed her Juris Doctor with Honours and her GDLP at ANU Law in 2014 - and her practical, extracurricular experiences offered at ANU that opened career doors for her.
“Both the ANU College of Law and the ANU Climate Change Institute supported me to create the ANU Rio+20 Project on Sustainable Development, which led to 20 students from all areas of ANU travel to Brazil to attend the historic United Nations conference on sustainable development in 2012.
“In the same year, I worked as President of the ANU Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association (PARSA) and had the opportunity to manage a team of student volunteers and paid staff to help increase services and support for postgraduate students.
“While Rio provided me with the understanding, connections and experience to work in the environmental movement, my PARSA role offered me the knowledge to lead and manage people and gain skills in advocacy and representation.”
In addition to being announced as a finalist for Student of the Year at the ANU Alumni Awards in 2013, Julie also ran as the Australian Greens’ candidate for the electorate of Canberra at the Federal election, and credits much of her success not only to the academic knowledge, but the personal connections gained from her time at ANU.
She said one of the most remarkable things about the ANU is the way it fosters an amazing sense of community.
“ANU is a very culturally and linguistically diverse with students from all over the world. The relationships and friendships you make at ANU will last a lifetime.
“Once you finish your degree, you’ll discover you have contacts working in all corners of the world, and ready-made networks to enhance your understanding of global issues,” Julie said.