We believe one of La Trobe’s greatest assets is our global network of alumni. As we head towards our 50th anniversary in 2017, we’re looking to welcome back alumni that we may have lost contact with over the years.
“World-record breaker and advocate for the disabled.”
Since winning five gold medals at the 1995 National Athletics Championships, Tim Matthews established himself as one of the fastest arm amputee athletes in the world. He competed in three successive Paralympic Games in 1996 (Atlanta), 2000 (Sydney) and 2004 (Athens) winning five Paralympic medals including three gold which included two world records at the Sydney Paralympic Games and was Australia’s fastest ever Paralympic athlete with a personal best over 100m of 10.86sec.
Beyond competitive sport, Tim has worked extensively as an advocate and leader within the disability sector. He has volunteered for numerous disability charitable groups including Limbs4Life, for which he is a patron and Whitelion amongst others.
Tim is a generous mentor to aspiring Paralympians and has devoted his time to coaching and inspiring athletes to achieve their own sporting goals, including coaching 2012 Paralympic gold medallist and amputee, Kelly Cartwright. In 1996 Tim’s achievements were recognised with an Order of Australia Medal.
Graduate; Alumni, Media
“Completing a double degree has given me wonderful opportunities and diversity in my career options.”
Josephine Walsgott is the campaign officer for the McGrath Foundation’s ‘Curve Lurve’ - a national initiative encouraging women to become breast aware and promoting positive body image. It’s a job she loves as it combines her twin passions of health care promotion and media.
Josephine’s career success owes a lot to making the most of opportunities that have come her way. Undertaking a double degree at La Trobe University in Health Science and Media enabled Josephine to switch from lab work to TV studio production in a standard university day. She also credits her study abroad experience in Edinburgh for opening up new horizons and enhancing her study experience.
How would you describe the path you have taken to get you to where you are today?
Returning from my study abroad experience in Edinburgh, I immediately began working for the Victorian Sports Minister at Parliament House, using my media qualifications and passion for sport and healthy living. The job included travelling to many major sporting events around Victoria with him, regional media advising and it gave me an insight to the world of politics and the vital role the media plays.
What prompted your move to your current position with the McGrath Foundation?
After two years working for the Victorian Sports Minister I decided to move into a career with a greater focus on health promotion, and so took the opportunity to move to Sydney and join the McGrath Foundation, working on a campaign called ‘Curve Lurve’ which aims to raise breast awareness in young Australians. As well as promoting our educational resources to teachers and communities, we recently launched Curvey, a pink 1950s style caravan that is travelling Australia to music, community, university, sporting, and educational events, encouraging young Australians to be breast aware. It is an amazing experience to be able to promote this health message that can have such an empowering and positive impact on people’s health.
How did your studies at La Trobe help you achieve your career goals?
Completing a double degree of Health Science and Media, majoring in Health Promotion at La Trobe University has given me wonderful opportunities and diversity in my career options. Living at Menzies College for two years facilitated my transition from country Victoria, supporting me in my lifestyle and studies. This variation in my double degree supported my passion for health promotion, and gave me an interest in media - some days I spent the morning in the cadaver lab and in the afternoons the TV or radio studio!
La Trobe also offered me the opportunity to study abroad, and I was fortunate enough to be able to complete my final semester in Edinburgh- I would highly recommend the life experience of exchange studies to everyone.
Do you have any sage advice for those starting out in their careers?
My advice to anybody looking at their career path is to follow your goals and work in something you are passionate about. Work hard and push yourself out of your comfort zone, even if it means moving away from your family and friends and trying something new. See what you can achieve- you never know what you’re capable of until you give it a crack. Life is here to be lived, be happy and enjoy it! We need to create our own adventures and challenges in life and in our careers- La Trobe University certainly provided the opportunities and support for me to do this.