Hannah Grant

Portrait of Hannah Gentile

Master of Human Nutrition 2010
Deakin Young Alumni of the Year Award 2012

I am currently…
Following my passions in paediatric nutrition and chronic disease and working in outback Australia in an area called the Pilbara (Western Desert) in Western Australia. I work for World Vision in the Newman, Jigalong and Parnngurr communities. Jigalong and Parnngurr are both indigenous closed communities. Myself, and three colleagues, facilitate community development programs based around the health and wellbeing of infants. I spend one week where I live in the town of Newman and then every second week out in a community (usually Parnngurr) which is 5 hours drive and has a population of around 100 people.

I chose Deakin because…
It has such a versatile learning environment, high quality lecturers who are widely known for their accomplishments and its broad and adaptable units which allowed me to learn what was relevant to my future career path. My goal is to work in humanitarian aid and development. I found the choice of postgraduate studies in nutrition at Deakin would help me meet this goal.

My course helped my career…
By getting my foot in the door in many situations where the person interviewing me was a Deakin graduate. It also helped me prepare for a real working environment. I have yet to come up against a task or situation that I cannot in some way apply something I learnt through Deakin. Whilst being geared towards nutrition my postgraduate course was so diverse that it enabled me to gain a wide set of skills and experience.

Success to me is…
Forever changing and developing depending on what my goals are at the time. Success for me at the moment, is enabling women in the communities I work to have the skills and passion to run a playgroup for children and achieving community sustainability. Success in the future would be developing a community sustainability program which is translatable to most struggling communities. Overall success to me is making my job obsolete.

Success is also about reaching your goals and then recognising it is time to move on to the next thing.

Today, I am motivated by…
The freedom and flexibility to be able to work in developing communities within Australia and to work and learn as I go. I am also motivated by the need to stand up for the rights of the women and children in the communities in which I work.

In my profession it is important…
To be understanding, non judgemental, to think outside the square, have empathy and most definitely not shy away from a challenge. I have a keen interest in paediatric nutrition and chronic disease, I now work for the Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service in the Western Desert region of the Pilbara – a remote area in far north Western Australia.

Professionally, my proudest achievement is…
Aside from being able to change a tyre on a Land Cruiser Troopie in 44 degree temperatures on the side of a dirt road three hours from the nearest community all on my own - I guess it would have to be getting my job with World Vision and actually sticking with it even when the going got tough at times and having to drive deep into the outback every second week. Also learning to take hope out of small accomplishments such as seeing a young child independently decide to wash their hands before eating, or watching a mother read through a story with her toddler.

A different experience of mine…
Was being a mum to Jack (pictured above with Hannah) Jack was my pet Joey over here and was given to me by a friend to take care of after its mother was killed by a hunter. It was quite surreal having Jack hanging around the house and having him get used to being around us. The kids in the community would laugh at me for having a Joey because of course to them it is food not a pet!

I feel a strong connection with…
Child health and welfare. What I get the most fulfilment out of is the opportunity to work in vulnerable populations, and to nurture and support community development and empowerment.

The single-most important issue in the world is…
Government debt and human rights abuses - both often go hand in hand.

In the future I would like to…
Travel with my husband, get my PhD and own my own business. I would also like to be a consultant for a non government organisation like World Vision.

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