Natalie’s path to studying a Bachelor of Justice with QUT spans multiple countries and languages. Her life and study experiences have given her a strong sense of fairness and a passion for social justice that she hopes to take into her career after graduation.
Natalie recently completed a placement with the Queensland Police Service State Intelligence Group as part of her degree and loved seeing her justice studies in action. Growing up in Ukraine, Natalie’s first experience with law enforcement wasn’t a positive one, “In my neighbourhood, police were corrupt and often abusive.”
In her late teens, Natalie moved to Israel with her mother and was conscripted into the Israeli Defence Force, assisting with passport control alongside border and civil police forces. "I've always been inquisitive and enjoy digging beneath the surface of something to piece together a complete picture. Living in different countries with different rules and values made me more adaptive and resilient to different or changing environments.”
Natalie moved from Israel to London, spending a few years there before settling in Australia in 2012, “It was hard to begin a new life (again), learn a new language (again) and find new friends, but my supportive partner at the time made all the difference.”
Fluent in three languages, English, Russian, and Hebrew, Natalie says her toughest challenge was finding a job in Australia, “I ended up in hospitality for a while, but knew it wasn’t what I was most passionate about.” Natalie volunteered in police simulations that sealed the deal for what direction she wanted to take her life in.
She successfully completed her Certificate IV and Diploma of Justice Studies at Southbank Institute of TAFE in 2016 and the following year became an Australian Citizen. After achieving these milestones, Natalie looked toward her next challenge: pursuing higher education at QUT.
Now in her mid-30’s and final semester of her Bachelor of Justice, Natalie remembers the experience of starting university for the first time. “At the beginning, I was worried that I would not fit in with the university life as I am ‘too old’ to be a student. I was facing several challenges such as language barrier, age gap and cultural differences. Growing up my family told me I would not be smart enough to study at university, so I felt like an imposter.”
However, she says, “I took a leap of faith and decided to try anyway. I’m driven, willing to learn and always curious.”
Her hard work and determination throughout her degree has seen her appear on the Dean’s List for academic achievement multiple times and become a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society. “Studying at university changed my life and the way that I think about everything. It has helped me to develop my critical thinking, writing, and time management skills.”
Being a Justice student at QUT, Natalie was able to take advantage of multiple opportunities for academic development, such as workshops and access to academic advisors. “The most influential people I have ever encountered at QUT was my academic advisor Matthew Readette and Dr Bridget Harris.”
“Matthew helped me in so many different ways and influenced the way I approach my assignments. Bridget Harris is also one of the best lecturers and kindest human beings I have met. I studied a couple of her units during my degree and those units have had significant impact on my understanding of Justice and Crime.”
Not only has she taken up opportunities to learn the theoretical aspects of the Justice degree, Natalie has also engaged in the practical side of the degree through the Vacation Research Project Scheme (VRES), where she completed a project with Dr Claire Ferguson entitled, ‘Countermeasures of forensically aware murderers.’
“I feel that my degree prepared me well with research skills and knowledge of Criminal Justice System (CJS).”
Completing a recent placement with the Queensland Police Service State Intelligence Group gave Natalie the opportunity to see her culmination of knowledge and studies applied in real world situations. Natalie assisted with a wide range of tasks including research, writing reports and producing literature reviews. These writing skills, honed through her Justice degree, helped her to produce a high-quality Justice services audit that was included in a paper published by the Queensland Police Service.
Due to graduate at the end of 2020, Natalie has recently accepted a position as a Detention Youth Worker at the Department of Youth Justice starting in November. She says she is eager to, “help build a better Australia that is safe, prosperous, and united.”
Learn more about the Bachelor of Justice at QUT.