Over winter, Curieux will be publishing a series of profiles aimed at introducing your new UCSRC committee. Previously, we introduced you to Samantha Endall, the new Events Coordinator for the UCSRC. This week, we get to know Shane Parnell, UC’s new Diversity and Events Officer and the Faculty Representative for Science and Technology.

Get to know Shane below…

Hi, my name is Shane Parnell, you may recognise me from around Campus! I have been a part of the University of Canberra community since 2009, initially as an Undergraduate completing my Bachelors of Science, and now as a Postgraduate while completing my Masters of Information Technology and Systems.

While at UC completing my studies, I initially worked in hospitality with the University of Canberra Union then as Events Officer for the Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Mathematics. After the grind of hospitality, I welcomed the opportunity to move into Student Administration and as a student advisor for the Faculty of ESTeM. Continuing that role with the newly established Faculty of Science and Technology, being a student advisor and a student, I can fully understand and appreciate the needs and requirements of the international and domestic student body.

During my tenure in the SRC, I am hoping to draw on my experience as a student as well as a student advisor to ensure each student who wants a voice has one facilitating change through action. This is our university, a university we should all be proud of. We are a part of a strong, supportive and diverse community and I sincerely thank you for this opportunity to represent you. Working together we can make sure it grows, leaving our mark on the University of Canberra.

Tell us a bit about yourself to get things started.

I was born in Sydney and grew up on the NSW mid North Coast before moving to Canberra in 2010 to begin my Undergraduate Bachelors of Science. I was lucky enough to secure a job at the University in hospitality working for UCU as Events Coordinator and Outlet Manager before making the switch out of hospitality and into student administration for the Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Mathematics. While with ESTeM (now Science and Technology), I completed my undergraduate studies and am now undertaking my Masters of Information Technology and Systems. In my spare time, I am an avid Aquarist and amateur Horticulturalist, as well as being a passionate console gamer.

You’re obviously already heavily involved with UC, being both part of the student admin team and as an advisor for the Faculty of Science and Technology. How do you think these experiences will equip you to better fulfil your role within the SRC?

Interacting with the student body almost every day for the past few years in my job, I have come to appreciate and understand the wide variety of problems and issues both domestic and international students encounter. I have experience across multiple areas of the university, from academic progress to student exchange and admissions. In my unique position of being University Staff, Student and your Student Representative, if there is ever a disconnect between the student body and the University I am in a position to be able to recognise this and act on it.

You’ve also been at UC as a student for a pretty long time and have been around to see some major changes happening around campus. What excites you most about being a part of the UC community?

What excites me most about being a part of the UC Community is being able to come onto an inclusive, accepting campus where each person whether that be staff or student is valued for their opinion. With such a strong multicultural community, there are so many stories and experiences which are different to our own. With the recent completion of the new Ressie as well as the upcoming hospital I can only see UC Bruce Campus growing.

Along with this at UC, we have such a strong academic community, with so much knowledge within the one area its really difficult not to be inspired when on campus!

As is written on the Blackboard outside the student centre “Education is the Kindling of a Flame not the Filling of a Vessel – Socrates”.

Can you tell us a bit more about your role as the diversity officer? What exactly does the role entail?

Diversity is defined as ‘a state of being diverse or a range of different things’ in the Oxford Dictionary. To me however, diversity is all encompassing – there is not a single person who doesn’t belong. My job is to ensure that each student feels like an appreciated, respected member of the UC Community,  and they have a safe and inclusive campus as well as empowering degrees to ensure success.

Traditionally diversity has be assigned to the LGBTQI community; however, to me diversity isn’t defined based on sexual orientation or what gender you identify as or with, it isn’t defined by your socio-economic status or which country you come from. We live in a diverse and evolving landscape here at the University of Canberra, so my goal as Diversity Officer is to ensure that all people are represented, no matter how they identify. We are all human, all the same species on this round floating rock, and we need to remember that.

Do you have a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share?

While I am Australian-born, my parents are both from Malta, coming to Australia when they were both young. Being your Cliché Australian with European heritage I am actually quite a good cook, and enjoy cooking for family and friends! However, two things I really have trouble doing is following the recipe and cooking in small amounts!

To contact Shane about UCSRC matters, please email ucsrc@canberra.edu.au or student.advocacy@canbera.edu.au