Meet the Country Universities Centre Far West team…Virtually!

02 Sep 2021

Recently our team has grown to keep up with the demand of our popular Learning Skills Advisor (LSA) program. A short time ago, we welcomed experienced nurse and law student Dani Minnis to our LSA team. While we planned on introducing Dani to our students face to face, we thought it would be timely to reintroduce our staff virtually. We chatted with the team to ask them about their careers and education experiences!

Danielle Keenan – Centre Manager

Danielle was the sole employee of CUC FW and was recruited before The Centre opened its doors to the community. Danielle is extensively experienced in the Higher Education sphere, having worked for the University of Sydney for almost nine years in education programs and student support.

What is your experience in education from a student perspective?

After finishing my HSC, I took up a Business Administration Traineeship with the local Health Service in Mental Health which included a Certificate III in Business. I worked in Mental health for just over 2 years before spending 4 years in advertising. I commenced working for the University of Sydney, Department of Rural. I commenced a Certificate IV simultaneously in frontline Management and a Diploma of Project Management. I always knew I wanted to continue to higher education. I began my Graduate Certificate in community Resilience and Leadership as a pathway to Master of Applied Business through Charles Sturt University, and absolutely, I love it. The reason it works for me is it uses my work as a context for the assessments. I am currently halfway through and look forward to graduating next year!

What is something surprising about you?

I have lived in Broken Hill my entire life, and I have had the most amazing education and career opportunities because of it.

What was your dream job as a child?

I wanted to work in community services as a social worker similar, working with people, helping them to overcome adversity. I am passionate about improving workforce retention, education, and positive health outcomes for the people of Far West NSW. I have spent my career in organisations that share this vision, so in a way, I am where I dreamt of being.

Sarah Rolton – Education Programs Coordinator

Sarah has been a part of the CUC FW since June of 2020, working as our Administrative Assistant. During that time, Sarah re-developed our High School Program, continues coordinating the LSA program while striving to evolve and learn in her new role of EPC. Sarah is currently in the last half of her Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree.

I went back to university study at the age of 29, with three kids in toe. It’s never too late.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that a large part of my job is talking to students, sharing our challenges and triumphs. It is lovely to see a student smile after a positive interaction with other students and our staff. It’s an honour to be a part of their journey and the community we created.

What was your dream job as a child?

I wanted to be a forensic scientist and work on crime scenes. I am still a true crime enthusiast but quashed that dream when I discovered I faint at the sight of blood.

What is something surprising about you?

I like to be in bed before 8:00pm and wake up before the sun. Early bird gets the worm.

Lisa Turner – Learning Skills Advisor

Lisa is a co-creator of the LSA program and has played a large part in developing the support provided in the one-on-one sessions and workshops. Three years ago, Lisa stumbled upon CUC FW as a veteran student looking to use a printer. We are unsure if she has left The Centre since.
Your education experience as a student?

I studied Business and International Relations at UniSA, both on-campus and external. Followed by a Law degree externally through Southern Cross University and a postgraduate in Legal Practice through Adelaide University.
I love working with students and helping make their studies lives easier by sharing tips and tricks I’ve learned through being a student.

What was your dream job as a child?

A rocket scientist

What is something surprising about you?

I am a Scuba Diving Instructor

Dani Minnis – Learning Skills Advisor

Dani is the newest member to join the LSA team and is a passionate peri-operative nurse. Dani has spent most of her nursing career serving our local community. She brings her experience as both an on-campus and online student to provide academic support to our students.

I love when I see students realise their potential in tertiary education, especially those who doubt their ability!


Your education experience as a student?

After finishing my SACE in South Australia, I completed a Bachelor of Nursing at Flinders University. I have since completed a Graduate Diploma of Nursing Science (Anaesthetics and Recovery) as an external student through Adelaide University. I am now three-quarters of the way through A Bachelor of Laws.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that a sympathetic ear can make for a far less isolating experience. I love when I see students realize their potential in tertiary education, especially those who doubt their ability!

What was your job dream job as a child?

Swimming Instructor

What is something surprising about you?

I started an architecture degree before I ever considered a career in nursing.

Giti Haddadan– Learning Skills Advisor

Giti joined the LSA team in late 2020. With 15 years of experience in tertiary education, Giti holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a PhD in Biomedical Science.

Your education experience as a student?

I am so grateful for the people that came into my study journey, whether it was a study buddy or a lecturer that guided me with inspiration, as the study wasn’t always easy.

What was your dream job as a child?

Scientist -dreams really do come true!

What is something surprising about you?

My ability to procrastinate.

According to the NSW stay at home orders, the Centre is temporarily closed. We are still here for you. You can book a virtual LSA session with Lisa, Dani or Giti. Keep an eye out for our next virtual event and connect with other students and our staff. While our doors are currently closed, our emails are open! Reach out to Danielle or Sarah; we are always up for a chat and here to support our students in any way we can. Want to get inspired? Check out our Win Wall and share your lockdown successes! Lastly, if you lack motivation, check out Episode One of Degrees Closer podcast – Prue from Head Coach has some great tips to get productive at home!

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