Mia is a Master of Teaching (Secondary) student and MGSE Student Ambassador for the Education Ambassador Program. Passionate about influencing young people, she runs a podcast called ‘The Student Space’ where she shares insights about high school, life after school and becoming an adult.
Q: Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?
In 2015, I graduated from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Melbourne where I was heavily involved in Aerobic Gymnastics as an athlete and coach. I admired and was inspired by my coaches and teachers and knew that sometime in the future I’d want to inspire others just like they had inspired me.
After high school, I completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne where I majored in Marketing and Management. Upon graduating, I took a year off to work multiple part-time jobs and travelled, as I wasn't passionate about pursuing a career in professional services. In this ‘gap year’, I worked at a bank, as a marketing assistant, gymnastics coach, and as a tutor where I uncovered my passion for empowering teenagers and helping students reach their full potential.
From this moment I knew I wanted to become a teacher and was eager to start studying a Master of Teaching (Secondary).
Q: Are you studying full time or part time? Do you have any other commitments outside of your studies?
Currently, I am studying full time while balancing working, volunteering, and building my podcast. I work casually in retail after university classes and on weekends. I also volunteer at a not-for-profit organisation RESN (Regional Educational Support Network) as part of the Operations team. At RESN we work towards closing the gap between rural and metropolitan students’ academic outcomes by providing free tutoring and other services.
When I’m not studying, working or volunteering, I’m working on my podcast called ‘The Student Space’ (linked below) that shares insight about high school, life after school and how to actually be an adult. In the first series, I chat to university students about their courses and experience at university.
Q: Why did you choose to study your main study program?
I chose to study a Master of Teaching at MGSE because I had completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne and had completed a few Education breadth subjects, which I enjoyed. My learning areas were VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) Business Management and Junior Commerce.
My preference was to study my Master of Teaching face-to-face, and not online as some universities offer. I was looking to meet like-minded peers, have the option to complete placement abroad or rurally, and learn from leaders in the education industry.
Q: Why did you apply for the Education Ambassador Program at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
I applied to be an Education Ambassador as I want to be able to share my passion for teaching and give others insight into my experience at MGSE. I knew there would be public speaking and presenting opportunities and I wanted to build on these skills as I knew I’d need them in the teaching profession.
Additionally, in my first week of university, I signed up for the mentor program where first-year students were paired with a second-year student mentor. My mentor was also an Education Ambassador and encouraged me to apply to share my experience and represent the University.
Q: What has your experience of being an Ambassador at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education been like?
Throughout my degree, I have had the opportunity to participate as a panelist for many online open days and Q&A workshops. Although these events were scheduled to occur in person, it was great to be able to connect online with future students about studying at MGSE (during the pandemic). A lot of the questions that we answered were some of the very same questions I had myself prior to starting at MGSE, it was rewarding being able to guide these students.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work with staff at The University of Melbourne to create my own workshop around ‘Questions to ask when selecting a university degree’, which will help current high school students when searching what pathway to take after Year 12.
Q: Is there anything you wish you’d known before becoming an Ambassador at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
I wish I had known that being an Ambassador would be excellent practice for being a teacher. I've had an opportunity to develop my public speaking and presenting skills which has been helpful for placement and for my future career.
Q: Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
I am not part of any extra-curricular activities at MGSE, however, I am part of a University of Melbourne undergraduate society called ‘Banking on Women’ who are dedicated to educating and empowering women in the professional and financial services industries. Throughout my time in my undergraduate degree, I didn’t get involved in any co-curricular activities and regret not doing so.
My role as Podcast Director enables me to chat to different industry professionals, financial ‘influencers’ and academics, which has been rewarding and has definitely been something outside my comfort zone.
Q: What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?
In 2022, I hope to secure full-time employment at a high school. I am open to teaching any year level in either VCE Business Management, Junior Commerce, or Mathematics. I'm also striving to grow my podcast (The Student Space) so that I can help more students navigate their high school and life after school pathways. In 2021, I have also been delivering workshops to schools about navigating ‘life after school’ and I hope to continue this in 2022 and beyond.
Q: What change in education are you hoping to bring about/or see during your career?
Through volunteering at RESN I am aware of the disparities between both rural and metro educational outcomes. I hope during my career there is progress towards closing the educational gap between rural and metropolitan students.
In addition, I’m passionate about empowering females to study mathematics in high school and therefore at university. Male students dominate enrolment levels for all levels of VCE mathematics and I hope to see this change during my career.
Q: Do you think that being a part of the Education Ambassador Program will benefit you in the next steps in your life/career?
Absolutely, being an Education Ambassador has helped me practice my public speaking and presenting skills. These skills will also translate to my future role as a classroom teacher and as a presenter for workshops for The Student Space. As an Education Ambassador, I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some incredible staff at the University of Melbourne who have been supportive in my studies and my podcast.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming an Ambassador at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
If you are thinking about becoming an Ambassador – go for it! If you are worried you might not have all the public speaking or presenting skills, the University of Melbourne holds many workshops for Ambassadors to build and develop these skills. It’s an incredibly supportive program where I’ve met like-minded peers – and I know we will stay connected after graduation and throughout our teaching careers.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself?
If anyone wants to follow my teaching and learning journey you can connect with me on Instagram @the.studentspace. You can also support the podcast by listening on Apple, Google, or Spotify (linked).