School of Indigenous Studies

Deborah Katona


Bachelor of Arts Graduate Deb Katona 

After finishing Year 12, I always found employment. These positions were in a variety of areas and usually had a customer service focus. After I turned 30, I realised that I required more stability to provide a good life for both my son and me. After applying for a few entry level positions in the Australian Public Service, I was told that the successful applicants were university educated. I realised that to compete in this environment I would need to improve my skillset.

I knew UWA had a solid reputation for providing students with qualifications that were recognised worldwide as being of high quality. I had friends who were supported in their study through the School of Indigenous Studies (SIS), and they encouraged me to enrol in the Orientation Course. This course allowed me to test the level of skills that I already had, and build on them to cope in an academic environment. After having come from Darwin, I found that SIS provided an excellent support network with tutors and general support as well as a place where I could meet other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. I now attribute the support of the staff and fellow students at SIS as supporting me to stay in study and complete my degree.

When I first began my education at UWA I had little idea of how to structure my degree. I stumbled into finishing a History major almost by accident. I was given the advice to study subjects that I found interesting and was naturally drawn to. I always found the history units interesting - they extended my knowledge, and I was challenged to think critically about issues raised.

I have held a number of positions in the Australian Public Service since graduating. All roles, at times, have been demanding and complex. I constantly apply the critical thinking, analysis and writing skills developed during my degree course, in a professional setting. I am able to utilise these skills across a range of policy areas, ensuring that employment opportunities are both rewarding and varied.