Petrina Conway



Bachelor of Arts

Graduation year



Waurn Ponds


Petrina is incredibly passionate about making a difference and helping people in her position with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Interview with Petrina

Can you tell us about your time at Deakin? Is there anything you especially remember?

I had the most amazing time at Deakin. The things I remember most are:

  • Mixing with totally different people from the middle class high school I had attended
  • Making friends with a wildly diverse group of people
  • Having independence and being responsible for my own learning
  • Having access to contemporary tutors and lecturers who “lived” what they preached
  • Fabulous social events, and the WP cafe was a great social hub!

What has been your journey since finishing your course? Briefly outline your career path prior to your current role.

I travelled around Europe and UK for a few years and eventually started a career in the Commonwealth Public Service. I then forged a career focusing on employment services delivery in Melbourne, Canberra and Geelong. With a stint in the community sector along the way, I made the shift to the Victorian Public Service ten years ago. I now work in a Corporate Services area in the Learning and Organisational Development unit.

Current Position:

Senior Consultant, Learning and Organisational Development.

What has been the biggest influence on your career?

The people I have worked with have undoubtedly helped shape my path. My father’s work ethic and success has also left an indelible mark.

Have you always wanted to pursue the kind of career you have embarked on? If so, when and how did you realise?

I have to say I was unsure what I wanted to do when I was studying, and kind of fell into my first job. The overarching theme for me, however, was that I always wanted to work in areas where I felt like I could make a difference and help people. I realised this a few years after leaving university, and have since always worked in areas where I could achieve that.

What advice would you give graduates wanting to pursue a similar profession?

If you have a passion or a drive, you can do anything.

What do you believe Deakin University has shown you/given you as a person?

Deakin really opened my eyes to the wide world in so many ways – both academically and personally. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity of gaining a degree here.

What are your passions outside your work?

I love running and keeping fit, and my family. Sounds cliché but it is what it is!

How would someone describe you?

Positive, happy, enthusiastic and neotenous.

Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your career?

If you want it, you can achieve it. Stay focused on your goals and don’t forget to have fun along the way.

Is there anything else you’d like to add we haven’t covered?

I genuinely do feel privileged and proud to have attended Deakin in its fledgling years, where everyone on campus knew everyone, and it was just a country university trying to mix it with the big kids. To see it grow into the university it is today, and have my family undertake studies here too, is amazing.