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Student Stories

Nathan Portell Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Education (Primary) graduate. (1:50)

Teaching is my passion. Every day I come to this job I understand the importance.

You can't take that lightly, you need to really respect it and that's why I try to give everything I have in each day to these kids.

My name is Nathan Portelli and I'm a Southern Cross University Educational graduate.

After I finished year 12 I had a great opportunity with a feeder team for the Gold Coast Titans. Part of the requirement was that I was either working a certain amount of hours or studying full-time.

I was thrown into a job working with children 1 to 6-years-old and I instantly enjoyed that so I started studying at the preparing for Success Program through Southern Cross which then led into starting studying full-time.

If I look back at my time at Southern Cross I'm very thankful to the staff. They're real people, they do the whole professional aspect really well but they also take the time to get to know you.

They supported me by allowing me to study online, particularly with the Summer School that's offered for those that are willing, they can continue their study over summer.

That flexibility is really a great thing. Through Southern Cross I was awarded a scholarship to go and teach in Vietnam for three weeks, it was an amazing experience. Being an educational professional it was really refreshing visiting a country where education is just valued so highly.

I've now been teaching nearly three years at core public school. I do come every day and I want to learn and I grow and I want to get better at what I'm doing. It's one of those professions that the more you give the more you get back and the more you feel a sense of achievement.

You can turn a kid's day from being an average day to a really great day with just a few little comments.

And I think that is so powerful.

Kristy Harris Bachelor of Occupational Therapy graduate. (1:56)

There's been children that I've been seeing for five years. Watching their progress in the development that they've made is incredible and I think that drives us.

Just those little wins every day and they all add together to really great outcomes.

My name is Kristy Harris and I'm a pediatric occupational therapist and I'm a director of Empowered Kids. I'm also a mum to three girls.

I was working as an employment consultant and decided that I wanted to do something a little bit different. Southern Cross was advertising for a new degree called occupational therapyy and I thought it sounded very much like something that aligned with what I've believed in and what I was looking for.

At the time I had two children at that point so to leave a full-time job and uproot the family and move out of the area to go to uni, it was a big decision.

The first lecture on the first day I really knew that I was in the right place and occupational therapy was for me and there was quite a mix of people that were really passionate.

I just settled in really quickly. I found the class sizes to be great and every single lecturer was so impassioned about occupational therapy that they really wanted to bring us along on the journey as well.

At the end of third year my husband and I had our third baby. The university was really great with finding placements for me that weren't too far away from home and I was able to take my youngest daughter to uni with me.

The support while I had young children was amazing. So since graduating from Southern Cross University I started a business called Empowered Kids.

Being able to watch a child that has significant challenges work really really hard and overcome them and you can see them having really bright futures I think that's what I'm excited about.

My business is called empowered kids but I empower my own kids as well because I've seen something that I've been passionate in and I've pursued it and I just want my children to be able to see that as well and I'm very proud of myself and what I've done.