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Learning and teaching success takes centre stage at November graduation celebrations

New graduates impacting on communities domestically and internationally.

Almost 500 University of Wollongong (UOW) students are wearing the blue gowns today (1 November) as they gather for graduation celebrations at the Wollongong campus University Hall.

Students from the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health and the Faculty of Social Sciences will be acknowledged for their academic achievements over two ceremonies.

Seventy eight year-old Port Macquarie student, Brian Walker, is the eldest graduate in the November cohort after receiving his PhD for research into: Australia's Refusal to Adopt a National Bill of Rights.

A former Kiama resident and long-time head teacher at Lake Illawarra High School, Brian embarked on an extensive tertiary study program after retirement. He completed his undergraduate in law and masters before launching into his PhD research at UOW in 2010, which was prompted by a keen interest in human rights.

Two undergraduate students from the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health have made their mark in the world early in their careers.

Asher Taccori is celebrating his graduation with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours), after returning from Indonesia, where he is currently volunteering for an Australian Government initiative supporting children under five years old suffering from chronic malnutrition.

With a clear focus on working in nutrition implementation in developing countries, the 24-year-old Blue Mountains student has completed a long list of international internships including; India, Cambodia, Thailand, Fiji and Kiribati. He has also been selected to give the afternoon ceremony’s student Vote of Thanks.

Kiarra Smalle who is graduating with a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Indigenous Health, is passionate about supporting young Indigenous students to go on and do tertiary studies.

After starting out studying Education and later transferring to Health Science, she is already applying her skills working as an Aboriginal Education Officer at two Illawarra Catholic schools.

Education research student, Chloe Gordon from the Sutherland Shire, is celebrating the completion of her PhD in developing an alcohol media literacy program which seeks to empower children with skills to challenge the bombardment of media messages promoting alcohol intake.

Ms Gordon believes the high level of exposure is concerning given that children’s attitudes towards drinking, intentions to drink and drinking behaviours are affected by alcohol advertising.

The graduation celebrations will feature guest speakers, Professor Colin Picker who this year joined UOW as Dean of Law with extensive experience in international economic law and research, and Professor Brian Martin whose research centres around strategies for challenging repression and exploitation.

The ceremonies will be presided over by UOW Chancellor, Ms Jillian Broadbent AO.

Since its foundation UOW has awarded more than 139,000 degrees and diplomas.