Discover their journey

To celebrate UniSA College's 10th year, we have highlighted some of our student stories from different cohorts, each with very different journeys. These inspiring stories represent the epitome of what the College's raison d'être and what makes us so special and unique.

Enjoy their positive reflections on time spent at UniSA College.

Amie Brant

Amie Brant: completed Aboriginal Pathway Program in 2018, completed Nursing in 2020

At the beginning of my journey I had so many goals, so much passion, and tonnes of excitement. The journey of study is a personal one because we all have different backgrounds, different motivators, different achievements, and different obstacles. For me, I wanted to prove to myself that no matter the background, life experience or family history, I could make my dreams a reality.

It’s the life experiences that have helped me pursue what I view as my dream career and the opportunity to love my job. If there is one thing that I would like to achieve as a nurse, it’s to be able to address the holistic health, social and emotional wellbeing disparities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Maria Rahimi

Maria Rahimi: completed Foundation Studies in 2018, has almost completed a Bachelor of Medical Radiation

I was born in Afghanistan and moved to Pakistan, where I lived for 17 years. I came to Australia in 2017 and started Foundation Studies soon after my arrival, as I’d had heard they provided a pathway into my desired degree.

I had come from a different culture and background with limited English, but I found that there was so much support at the College through the teachers, mentors, and PASS leaders. Foundation Studies really helped me prepare for undergraduate study and familiarise myself with the uni environment. When I began my Medical Radiation degree, I had learnt those fundamental uni skills and received credits for my assignments. I put that down to my time with UniSA College.

Maecho Ola

Maecho Ola: currently studying Diploma in Health (Mount Gambier)

I’m currently studying the Diploma in Health through UniSA College (Mount Gambier) and would love to eventually complete the Bachelor of Nursing (Mount Gambier) to become a registered nurse. I discovered the Diploma in Health as a great pathway to achieving my goals. My experience in the program has been amazing so far with constant support and encouragement.

For anyone in Mount Gambier considering study, and might need that extra support and guidance, UniSA College pathway programs will certainly help in achieving that desired goal.

Ben Van Loggem

Ben Van Loggem: completed Foundation Studies in 2011, Architectural Studies in 2014, Master of Architecture in 2016

When I joined the College, I was working as a landscaper but wanted to challenge myself and forge my own career. My friends were starting their careers and I thought, ‘why can’t I have that?’ I wanted to one day become an Architect and the College was the way of doing so. This was my opportunity and key to opening so many doors.

Without Foundation Studies, I don’t think I would’ve had the confidence to head further into an undergraduate degree.  Looking back, UniSA College was the catalyst that made my achievements possible. It really was the steppingstone into studying Architecture and has held me in good stead working at architecture firm, Grieve Gillett Andersen.

Emma Beinke

Emma Beinke: completed Foundation Studies in 2020, currently in Social Work (Whyalla)

Starting again at 29 is a scary prospect, however that was the position I was in. I hadn’t completed high school and had been a stay at home parent for five years. I decided it was time to invest in my future and Foundation Studies in Whyalla was the first step.

Commencing study after 10+ years was challenging. I had a lot of self-doubt, however support from the academic staff was invaluable. Maintaining a distinction average made me realise I could complete a degree. I’m now in a Bachelor of Social Work and would love to work within the community developing much needed outreach programs. For anyone considering study later in life, my advice would be to do it. I was unsure at first but investing in your future will always be worth it.

Katherine Burrows

Katherine Burrows: completed the Diploma in Arts 2014, completed social work in 2017

UniSA College supports all students - be it new to higher education, students from overseas, or mature agers. The programs offer opportunities to learn and grow in a university environment. The Diploma of Arts was fantastic, as I was able to meet like-minded people, supportive lecturers, and tutors. I excelled with my grades and that induced a sense of confidence in my abilities that I’d never experienced. I transitioned into the Bachelor of Social Work and graduated in April 2018. Here, I got a photo with one of my lecturers from the College. It was one of my proudest moments of personal growth. A full circle, from start to finish. I was offered a position at the organisation where I did my final placement and now work for the SA Government as a Social Work Case Manager for young people moving through the youth justice system.

Luke Lopian

Luke Lopian: completed Foundation Studies in 2013, completed Physiotherapy in 2017

Four years out of high school I had worked in different jobs, travelled, and began looking for a career that aligned with my interests. I’d always wanted to pursue Physiotherapy but completed Year 12 without an ATAR. I wasn’t sure if tertiary study was an option, until I stumbled across the Foundations Studies program page.
I regard my time at the College as the greatest achievement of my academic journey. For me, it was a chance to prove to myself that I could succeed in the tertiary environment. The confidence and momentum I generated during my time at the College was what got me through my undergrad. I’m now a fully qualified Physio working at a clinic in Mile End. My academic journey has been a great point of difference and demonstration of good character. It all started with my time at the College.

Sean Richardson

Sean Richardson: completed Foundation Studies in 2014, completed Pharmacy in 2016, completed Pharmacy (Honours) in 2019, Completed the Graduate Certificate in Pharmacy Practice in 2020.

I approached UniSA College at 22, with a mentality that it was too late. The thought of stopping what you’re doing and stepping into the unknown is something a lot of mature-age students wouldn’t do. However, I wanted to embrace a new challenge. Having loved Foundation Studies, it opened a lot of doors, and guided me into my desired degree. I decided on Pharmacy and completed an internship at the Hampstead Medical Centre Pharmacy. Working in hospital clinics is where I’d like to end up. I’m the kind of student who relishes new challenges. Getting out of that zone is a great way to discover yourself and I’ve done just that through UniSA College and my Pharmacy degree.

Donna Douvartzidis

Donna Douvartzidis: completed Foundation Studies in 2011, completed Journalism, International Relations in 2016

UniSA College prepared me for undergraduate study. Unlike many other students at uni, I didn’t feel there was a huge transition.

Higher education has been a journey of personal growth. I’m proud to be the pivotal person in our family to have chosen a different path. I've inspired my children to know that they can follow any dream and make it their reality. University is now an expectation for them.

UniSA College was like a golden ticket for me. I felt like I’d lived in this bubble of limited information all my life, and I felt so naive on how society functioned. From where I was then, to where I am now, is worlds apart.

Rhys Peden

Rhys Peden: completed the Aboriginal Pathway Program in 2020, now studying a Bachelor of Law (Honours)

I commenced the Aboriginal Pathway Program straight from high school. I was unable to complete Year 12 and wasn’t keen on repeating. I discovered the Aboriginal Pathway Program. One of the most encouraging things about the program was the dedicated staff working around the clock to ensure that we were doing our best. They were all so understanding of backgrounds and different challenges that we may have been facing and would go above and beyond to offer that extra support.

After I complete my Law degree, I am hoping to be accepted into a Master of Laws. Once I complete my masters, I want to become a practicing corporate lawyer.

Rebecca Vagnoni

Rebecca Vagnoni: completed Foundation Studies in 2016, completed Psychology (Counselling & Interpersonal Skills), Business (Human Resource Management) in 2020

When I finished high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and missed out on my first preference by seven ATAR points. I discovered Foundation Studies. The biggest impact Foundation Studies has on me was in everyday life. When I finished high school, I was very close-minded and stuck in that high school scene and culture. I didn’t have much awareness of the world around me. The College had the biggest influence on me. I started to become interested in politics and current affairs and watched the news each night. I’m a completely different person now and I really owe that to the College. It really changed my life.

Jason Bannister

Jason Bannister: completed Diploma in Health (Mount Gambier) in 2020, currently studying Physiotherapy (Honours)

I decided on the Diploma in Health, with hopes of pursuing a career as a Physio. The program was invaluable, as it gave me the skills I needed to progress into my undergraduate degree, while setting me up for success in my future career.
I’m hoping to develop my skillset in the ‘real world’ of physio (hospital/clinic/sporting team) and would love to open a sports performance centre in a rural setting to help develop country athletes.

The Diploma in Health facilitates the learning of essential skills to help you succeed in whatever career you wish to pursue.