A Bright Future for student in mentoring program

Published in the May 2017 issue

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Southern Cross University student Brendan Swan has for some time dreamt of becoming a politician, and recently he had the chance to rub shoulders with the State’s leaders at Parliament House in Sydney.

The second-year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) student, who founded and is the President of the Southern Cross University Law Association, connected with the NSW Member for Ballina Tamara Smith through the University’s Bright Futures Mentoring Program. Ms Smith also studied a Bachelor of Laws at Southern Cross University.

Brendan Swan

“The first time I spoke to her (Tamara) on the phone was a Friday, by the end of the phone call I had been offered to intern at Parliament House and within the week I was at Parliament House,” he said.

“This enabled me to see and to apply many skills I’ve learnt through my law degree, and gain valuable work experience in a career I am genuinely interested in – politics.”

While at Parliament in April, Brendan was mentioned in question time as an honoured guest – he’s President of the Southern Cross University Law Association – and had exclusive access to areas of Parliament House while working with Ms Smith, meeting ministers and other Members of Parliament.

“Some of the work I did throughout the day included writing a speech, and researching a new piece of privacy legislation for the Honourable Member. I thrive on having 100 different things going at once,” he said.

“It was really interesting being up close to everything going on behind the scenes and seeing the different sides of government and how different individuals acted.

“I was thrilled to make such a great connection with Ms Smith so quickly, and I am definitely looking forward to more work experience potentially in her Ballina office and in Sydney with her.

“The experience was fantastic, it certainly cemented Parliament as a goal in the future. The main motivation for this is my belief that there is nearly always a better way of doing things.”

Brendan, 21, moved to the Gold Coast from Canberra last year, making a much needed change following a major brain injury after high school in 2014. He founded the Southern Cross University Law Association (SCULA), the resident law association for the University’s Gold Coast campus, in his first year of study. SCULA now has an established committee, members, events, merchandise, a website and an ever growing community.

Brendan is now working towards setting up a mooting program on the Gold Coast and has formed a team of SCU representatives to Moot at the ALSA (Australian Law Students’ Association) Conference, competing against teams from other universities across the country.

The Bright Futures Mentoring Program matches students with experienced graduate mentors and is open to Southern Cross University students who have completed at least six units.

“I’d love to see more students apply for the Bright Futures Mentoring program, especially when I’ve had such a great result so quickly,” he said.

Mark Roberts (left), D’Arcy Van Den Bossche and Shannan Maciejewski.

Bright Futures recently hosted a Sport and Exercise Science Alumni Networking Event at the Lismore campus where final year students had the opportunity to find out more about the industry.

Special alumni guests were Shannan Maciejewski, owner of Raw Fitness and Sports Training at Ballina, Bachelor of Human Movement Science (2007);  D’Arcy Van Den Bossche, programs manager at the North Coast Academy of Sport based at the University’s Lismore campus, Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science (2013); and Mark Roberts, who owns and operates Revolution Fitness at Goonellabah, Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science (2012); Master in Clinical Exercise Physiology (2013).

Shannan, D’Arcy and Mark shared their career stories and industry experiences.

The students also met other Southern Cross University alumni and industry representatives, and had the opportunity to find out more about the University’s student internship program and network with potential employers.

The Bright Futures: Sport and Exercise Science Alumni Networking Event was supported by the Alumni and Development Program and the University’s Career Development Service.

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