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Emma explains that she is enjoying her challenging role as an academic in the Australian outback.
"I am a food and nutrition lecturer at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in Alice Springs. I teach a 3 year Bachelor of Indigenous Health Studies (Food & Nutrition) degree to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The course is open to Indigenous people from anywhere in Australia."
"I really enjoy the travel component to remote and rural areas, getting to know the students, educating people for community empowerment, learning new life skills and working with issues that affect Indigenous people. I grew up in Alice Springs so I believe I have a great advantage in working with Indigenous people."
"I often travel to remote and rural communities if a student is struggling with their studies or to promote the course. It is very challenging at times, sometimes we cannot find our students for a period of time as there is limited mobile reception or the mail may take a week to reach them. Sometimes they are travelling or attending cultural events, which can be challenging," she said.
Emma graduated from Deakin Burwood in 2004 with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Food Science and Nutrition) before returning to her home town of Alice Springs to take up her current employment.
Finding academic life to be highly tailored to the individual needs of the students, Emma explains that the Batchelor Institute method's of teaching and its course structures are very unique.
"The Institute is slightly different from other universities. It offers week long workshops for the student to attend to complete one unit so they don't have to be away from their families and homes too long. The workshops are either delivered in Alice Springs or Batchelor (100km south of Darwin). We also offer external subjects where I have to travel to my students - often to very remote communities."
"We teach accredited course material to Indigenous students which is culturally appropriate and includes current issues surrounding them. We try and target students from various Indigenous communities so they can return to their townships with knowledge, skills and education to benefit their people and improve health standards."
Emma cites many career highlights in her work to date, including running her first workshop; however it is the concept of two-way learning that brings a very different aspect to her employment she explains.
"At the Institute we promote 'both-ways' learning so not only do I teach the students, but they also have the opportunity to teach me about their language, culture and the different foods they eat such as bush foods and where to find them. An upcoming highlight for me will be seeing my first graduating class of students in September 2006. This is a wonderful achievement for them."
Emma believes that leaving family and friends in the Northern Territory to study at Deakin was a great experience.
"I always wanted to live in Melbourne and Deakin offered me a course that I was interested in and also offered residential accommodation that I was able to live in for the first year until I found my feet."
"Deakin is a well known and respected University and I learnt a lot about nutrition issues in population groups from large cities to small rural areas. It has given me the appropriate qualifications I needed to get my job and it has also helped me to decide what area I wanted to work in. Another highlight of my time at Deakin was having the chance to represent the University in athletics at the 2002 University Games in Adelaide," she said.
Whilst she is enjoying her current employment in the outback, Emma has some clear goals set for an eventual working life outside Australia.
"I would like to complete my Masters in Public Health which I am currently enrolled in through Charles Darwin University and become a Public Health Nutritionist, working in Africa. I also want to continue focussing on both community nutrition and the Indigenous population," she said.