Getting to know .... Claudia O'Callaghan
What is your role at Monash?
I work in the Orientation & Transition team as the Student Engagement Programs Officer, and have been in this role for just over two years now. Our team focuses on student engagement and support, especially for first year students, and we coordinate and promote each semester's Orientation program for the University.
All of our programs and events aim to support new students as they settle into life at Monash, keep them informed about important university processes and events, and encourage them to engage with the whole Monash community.
One of our main programs is MonTRACK, a peer to peer support service where senior students - Student Success Advisers - phone new students to check in with them, and offer advice and general information to help them with their studies and student life. I help supervise our Advisers, assist with the admin, and give one-on-one support to students who are referred onto me via the program. I also manage the New to Monash Uni Facebook group, which is fun!
Did you want to do this sort of work when you were small?
I always wanted to help people in some way, I was sure about that. But I had a whole variety of jobs before I figured out that I wanted to work with students at a university. Then this job came along and it was perfect - I get to work on programs and events which help support the wider student population, but I also get to support students one on one, which is really meaningful and rewarding.
What do you consider to be the most enjoyable and fun part of your job?
Interacting with the students! I love supervising our MonTRACK student staff - seeing them develop and become more confident in their work is wonderful, and we have a really good laugh together. Then at events, I love meeting students and hearing about their hopes and ambitions for the future. In terms of the one-on-one student support, it's not normally "fun", as the student is usually struggling or distressed. But having the opportunity to help them through a challenge and see them come out the other side is really special.
In three words, how would you describe the students at Peninsula campus?
Determined, friendly, caring!
What is your hobby and why?
I don't really have any hobbies per say, but there are lots of different things I enjoy doing. I'm from England originally, and still quite new to Australia, so I love going on weekends away and exploring Victoria. The Dandenongs is one of my favourite places to go - it's so pretty! I love spending time with my husband and our border collie, Samus - she's a little menace and keeps us very busy and entertained! I love to catch up with friends over a coffee or dinner as well.
What do you love most about Peninsula campus?
It's so peaceful and serene - and close to the beach! The staff are all really passionate about the quality of the student experience as well - they care so much about the students at Peninsula campus.
Are there any special services MonTRACK are offering at the moment?
We have a fantastic team of Student Support Officers providing 1:1 study coaching, which students can do over video chat or on the phone. All of our Officers are Monash students, who are really passionate about supporting their peers and sharing their own useful experiences to help others with their studies. And if there's anything they can't help with, then they can refer students to the right service for further support.
What are the contact details for MonTRACK?
We look forward to hearing from you!