Inspiration by example 

Graduand Michelle Koulakis (Graduate Diploma in Primary Education) with sister Sara and mother Malika before the ceremony

Alumni Scholarship recipient Sara Roberts was on hand to congratulate her sister, Michelle Koulakis, on receiving a Graduate Diploma in Primary Education at Charles Darwin University’s mid-year graduation ceremony on Thursday night.

Sara and Michelle were at the ceremony with their mother and mentor, Malika O’Keil. This was Michelle’s second award from CDU.

Between them, the women have a long association with CDU. Michelle completed a Bachelor of Science in 2001, Malika has a Master of International Management (2007) and Sara is in her first year of a Bachelor of Creative Art and Industries (new media).

It was a busy few days for Sara and her family. On Wednesday night her mum and sister attended a ceremony to see Sara being awarded a 2008 CDU Alumni Scholarship.

The scholarship was awarded in recognition of Sara’s academic and community engagement activities. Sara graduated from Darwin High School last year, receiving high marks for all her senior subjects, and was a volunteer and contributor to the “Grind Youth Magazine”, a sponsored publication of the Northern Territory Government, which publishes at least one magazine a month.

Sara says her mum inspired her academic achievements, particularly when it came to going to university.  While Sara was studying for her Year 11 exams, Malika was in her final year of a part-time Masters in International Management, which she undertook over a five-year period.

She says her mum’s example encouraged her to stick with her studies and to enrol in higher education straight after completing year 12.

Malika said she always stressed to her daughters the importance of getting an education before exploring other life paths, and encouraged them to keep going with their studies. From her own experience, she knew that a better education would give her daughters better employment opportunities.

“Learning gives opportunities to gain new understanding, new perspectives, and awareness of broader issues in the workplace, particularly cultural implications,” Malika said.

“Not to mention the sense of achievement it gives – from the point of view of personal reward, education has been immensely satisfying.”