Current Student Profiles

James Bitmead 

Third-year undergraduate student.

Course: Bachelor of Journalism

Major/minor: Journalism/Politics

Major assignments:

  • Video story in the Grampians covering how they recovered from the 2011 floods.
  • Piece on Koalas becoming an endangered species which involved talking to park rangers in Philip Island and environmental groups including Save the Koalas and Friends of Gippsland.
  • This semester looking into environmental groups reactions to the Bailleau Government increasing prospecting and mining

Best lecturers/tutors: Deb Anderson (journalism), Matt Mitchell (journalism), Dennis Woodward (politics)

Volunteer work: At the end of his first year at Monash, James went to Thailand to work in a school and orphanage for three weeks. He plans to return at the end of his course and would love to write over there about his experiences and discoveries. He would also like to travel to Africa to do similar volunteer work.

Life after uni: Would like to use journalism to help the world, be that as a foreign correspondent, politician or by working in a not-for-profit organisation.

Therese Allaoui

Final-year undergraduate student.

What course are you doing? I am currently in my final year of my Bachelor of Journalism and am completing my final 2 units online while working.

What work are you doing now? I have been fortunate enough to be a successful applicant for the much coverted News Limited journalism cadetship. Six people from around Victoria get chosen every year out of the hundreds who apply. I get to work in newsrooms across Victoria, writing for publications including the Geelong Advertiser, Leader Newspapers, The Herald Sun, MX, and The Weekly Times – all while completing my degree at the same time. I am the youngest person to have been accepted into the program and one of the only people to have been accepted before graduating.

Did you always know what you wanted to do growing up? I always knew I wanted to be a journalist. I loved reading, writing and always enjoyed researching and talking about current issues through debating and public speaking. I love learning and being a journalist means I get to learn new things every day that I work.

What’s your best Monash memory? My best Monash memory was studying abroad in Italy. I was fortunate enough to be able to study the International Study Program ‘Dante’s Medieval World’ in November – December 2011 at the Monash Prato Centre. I explored Italy while studying with around 20 other like-minded people. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend it to all students. It has also been a significant talking point in my job interviews.

Life after uni? The cadetship will hopefully open doors in the journalism industry. I hope to continue working for News Limited and become a senior reporter, before becoming an editor one day. My aim is to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way.

Tama Salim

International student from Indonesia.

Course: Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Communications and Literary Studies.

Why the Monash BA: Always preferred words to numbers and had heard great things about Monash from his cousin who is here studying politics. Melbourne as a city was always on his bucket list of places to see.

Best lecturers/turors: Paul Thomas – Indonesian expert. Tama has been a guest in his classes for advanced level Indonesian to involve students in discussion, which has inspired him to use Indonesian examples in his own literary studies work.

Life after uni: Would like to do honours and then go on to a PhD to explore the history of walking in cities and how it is represented in literature. In Jakarta there is no space for walking. Through his research, Tama hopes to provide people in Jakarta with ways to improve walking conditions and return to Indonesia as a teacher.

Advice to new students: Make sure you love what you’re learning, that way if you lose your way for a little while, you will always have your passion for the discipline to fall back on. Connect with people outside of your studies – you will be surprised how expanding your horizons can have an effect on the direction your studies take.

Dan Edwards

Current PhD student.

What is your thesis topic and how did you choose it? I lived in China between 2007 and 2011, where I worked as a magazine writer. Film has always been one of my passions, and while living in Beijing I slowly became aware of a burgeoning independent documentary scene that was capturing some of the stories bubbling away behind the facade of China’s explosive economic growth. These films opened up a reality for me that I was glimpsing on a daily basis, but didn’t really understand during my first years in China. The more I saw, the more obsessed I became, so in 2011 I returned to Australia and took up a PhD with Monash Arts on China’s independent documentary world.

Did you always know what you wanted to do growing up? Sure for years I was sure I wanted to be a rock star, but somehow that didn’t work out! I’ve always written and loved writing, and with a lot of slog I’ve gradually been able to turn that into a way of earning a living through various editorial roles, as well as freelance criticism and journalism. I’ve worked as an editor for various magazines and the communications unit of the Australian Film Commission, and taught Film Studies for several years during my Masters in Sydney.

How did you get to where you are now? Hard work, perserverance and careful cultivation of contacts. If you’re doing something you love the hard work really isn’t that hard – it’s just a question of following your passion. There’s a lot of emphasis these days on material gain, but personally I’ve always preferred to live a fairly simply lifestyle and achieve what is important to me.

Where do you see yourself heading in the future? I always have a rough roadmap of where I’d like to be heading, but at the same time I try to be open about the exact route I’ll take to get there. This year I curated a program of Chinese independent documentaries for the Melbourne International Film Festival, and curatorial work is something I would like to become more involved in. But writing will always be my main passion, where it’s journalism, criticism, or academic work. Nothing beats the thrill of communicating new ideas and experiences to people, whether it’s through written work or introducing them to films they may not have otherwise encountered.  

Check out Dan’s blog

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