'A nice piece of paper, but what are you going to do with it?' 


Scott Nathan Knight. Current Address: Washington DC 20009 USA

How does a 22 year old Elliott school teacher become a 45 year old international researcher and lobbyist on Capitol Hill in the United States?

For Scott Knight, a current member of the American League of Lobbyists, it has been the passion for his chosen research field and a clear vision of where he is heading that has kept him in pursuit of his PhD, that 'piece of paper'.

"My professor at Charles Darwin University, Ian Falk, once floored me by asking that question," Scott said. "But it should be thrown out as a challenge to every postgraduate student.

"All postgrads need to ensure they are passionate. It is the passion that will sustain you. Dream the dream of where your CDU research or degree may take you - around the world to international conferences, or to be able to participate in one of the world's largest economies - as it has for me," he said.

Scott moved to Northern Territory as a young adult and his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in education are from CDU.

After teaching, Scott changed careers to National Policy in Education and Labor Market Economics. He met his American wife in Darwin and expects to return here after finishing his current leave in Washington DC.

"The calibre of domestic and internationally renowned professors and researchers attracted to CDU is astonishing. You don't really see that until you go overseas," he said.

"I have a strong interest in how governments form and implement policy for the benefit of the public, industry and the economy in general. As a senior manager in government it has always intrigued me how all governments can get it 'right' and 'wrong' about their respective commitments to the public, commercial and political entities," Scott said.

His PhD research in Washington has looked at 'what counts as evidence' for strong policy, which he reported at two international conferences, in Scotland and Australia in 2005, and next will focus on 'policy at the cutting edge of shaping national identity'.

"Being in senior management positions with government, even at the regional level, has provided me with opportunities to directly contribute and influence policy formation at the national level.

"My greatest achievement so far is becoming an emerging international researcher from the Northern Territory. I want to continue to contribute to the body of knowledge of public policy," he said.

"The NT has given me great opportunities and professional growth and I feel I am an unofficial ambassador for CDU when engaging in the Global Research and Commercial Community," Scott said.

In 2005 Scott established an NT business to help get commercial opportunities moving between the Territory and the USA and has entered into a memorandum of understanding with a US company in Washington DC.

"I want to see how the Northern Territory and the Eastern States of the USA can increase transnational commercial/service activity, particularly in the Free Trade Agreement environment.

"It is my aim to create a non-government organisation in Washington DC as a conduit for NT business interests in the USA and establish a transnational business between Darwin and Washington DC," he said.