Welcome to the new year! 2015 is going to be a big year, and I am pretty proud to announce a few things I will be involved in this year, if you care to keep updated on my progress.

  • Firstly I am extremely happy to announce that I am part of a team of four students from Griffith University who have been one of 250 teams selected out of 20 000 entries to compete in the regional rounds of the Hult Prize. Taken from their website, “The Hult Prize Foundation is a start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. Named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine, the annual competition for the the Hult Prize aims to identify and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people. Winners receive USD 1 million in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.” We will be heading to Shanghai in March to compete in this year’s competition, which involves creating a social enterprise which tackles the issue of early childhood education in slums. I am incredibly excited for this opportunity and am positive that myself and my teammates (Brad McConachie, Chris Eigeland and Janna Mallon) will do an awesome job in creating something with wide-ranging impact. Also super stoked to be representing Griffith on the international stage again!
  • As a result of my involvement with the National Council of Women of Queensland and my research in gender equality, I received a call last week from the APN newsdesk, who own regional newspapers in Queensland, to comment on an ABS report on the wage gap between women and men in Australia. I will post the articles as they are published, for anyone who is interested. It was a strange (and enjoyable) thing to be called up out of the blue and asked for my comment, as someone who maybe knows something worth reporting on!
  • For the past year I have been working with Dr Shannon Murdoch from Mentors in Violence Prevention based at Griffith University on a new project – intimate partner violence prevention workshops for the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersex and queer) communities. After a lot of liaising with community groups, researchers and key individuals, we have finally finished creating the 74-page curriculum for workshops. The workshops run on a ‘train the trainer’ model, whereby those we train then become trainers in violence prevention themselves, increasing our impact exponentially. Why intimate partner violence in LGBTIQ relationships, you ask? Well, Intimate partner violence in LGBTIQ relationships is often referred to as the ‘second closet’ or ‘another closet’, as not only does the person fit on the LGBTIQ spectrum (and have to come out of the closet a first time), but they are also getting abused in that situation (compounding any pre-existing issues). There is not a lot of knowledge about the issue out there, however considering it effects an equal (or greater) proportion of LGBTIQ people as heterosexual, mainly female, individuals (around 25-30%), it is an incredibly important issue we should be focusing more attention and resources on. The workshops we have created are actually the very first of their kind in Australia, and so I think this is a momentous step in the right direction. The next few months will revolve around piloting all aspects of the workshops, before it will be signed and sealed with a stamp of approval. If you know of any community groups or organisations we might be able to pilot the workshops with, please let me know!
  • 2015 is also the year I go to Hong Kong to live and study and intern. I don’t have an exact date as yet, but I’ll be out of the country in June and off on more Asian adventures. Any friends or colleagues in Asia, I look forward to seeing you all!
  • And finally (and also most imminently) I will be heading to Tasmania in February to complete the Overland Track 7 day hike with my sister and friends. There will be much thinking to be done, photos to be taken, and physical limits to push. I will have lots of updates on my return and hopefully some stunning photos and quotes from my trip to share.
Emerging Leaders

Julien Rosendahl, Caity Usher, Janna Mallon, myself, Brad McConachie at the Emerging Leaders Dialogue in 2013 (the three of us on the right are heading back to China to compete in the Hult Prize)

You can kind of see why I’ve been conspicuously quiet for the past month or so… there is so much to be involved in and so much to do! As well as the above-mentioned things, some things I have not yet reported on from last year include that I have indeed graduated from my Bachelor of Asian and International Studies and Bachelor of Communication last year, and am pretty amazed and chuffed to have also won the Politics, Asian Studies and International Relations Medal for highest academic achievement in my degree area. I was also offered a position to do my honours this year, a Bachelor of Government and International Relations with Honours degree, which will be done half at Griffith University and half at the University of Hong Kong under the New Colombo Plan Scholarship. I have two supervisors at Griffith for this project, Dr Kaye Broadbent and Prof Glenda Strachan, and will have another supervisor once I reach Hong Kong. I am so excited.

That’s all I’ll leave you with for now, but I’ll see you all soon! (I have another post, more serious, in the pipeline to be published very soon).  I hope you all have incredible plans this year also!