For law and arts student Tara Moore, becoming president of the Southern Cross University Law Student Society was an honour to which she brought a wealth of experience.
With qualifications in both event management and music and years of experiencing managing musicians, large-scale events and as piano and performance teacher, Tara was in her mid-twenties when she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer through Southern Cross University.
“I loved the business side of music and organising gigs and events, so it’s when I studied a diploma in event management that I was first exposed to business law,” she said.
“I had heard really good things about Southern Cross University, especially from the musicians I knew and had worked with who studied here. So, when the time came that I was looking for a law degree, it was definitely on the radar.
“I had just had my first baby and because of the nature of my husband’s job and not knowing where we’d move next, I wanted a university that offered a good online degree and online cohort. After a bit of research, I chose Southern Cross and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Tara will hand in the last assignment of her degree at the end of October which is when she will pass on the leadership baton of the law student society, with a new student president soon to be elected. She said completing her honours year in the midst of ongoing restrictions and home-schooling has been a challenge, but the student society has helped her to feel connected with her peers.
During her part-time online studies, Tara and her family moved from Orange to the Blue Mountains and welcomed another child. It was in her second-last year of her degree that Tara was appointed President of the law student society.
Little did she know that 2020 would serve up so many uncertainties and restrictions. But with a background in event planning, she took it in her stride and delivered stellar virtual industry events with some big legal names in Australia.
“Last year we had to cancel everything we had planned but we’ve since pulled together a series of online panel events for students and with practitioners and others in the legal profession,” Tara said.
“These events gave students high profile connections and gave them a feel for these different avenues in law.”
Through the law discipline’s Practice Professors Program, students had the opportunity to connect with professionals such as Joelene Nel, Clare Owen, Mark Carkeet and Lee Aitken.
“We hosted a panel event with The Honourable Justice Gregory Geason from the Supreme Court of Tasmania and his daughter Victoria Geason who is also in law – so two in one. It was a bit of a coup to get a judge and was very well attended,” Tara said.
“We also had a Women in Law Panel where we heard from some incredible lawyers including Philippa Noakes, Binnie O'Dwyer, Kristal Naividi and Tanya Chapman, about their experiences, about gendered issues, and the intersection of work and family life. We also hosted a government lawyers panel about working in that field, and an Associate in Law panel for students who wish to work while studying.
“We built a really good relationship with Southern Cross University’s Careers Team and hosted resume writing and interview workshops, exam preparation, social and networking evens for students, as well as online negotiations competition to improve advocacy and communication skills.”
As an online student Tara has led the student society remotely for two years, with students on the committee from campuses at Lismore and the Gold Coast and online students across Australia.
“When you look at the stats, 80% of law students at Southern Cross actually study online, 80% are female, and 80% commence their degrees after the age of 25,” Tara said.
“These people are bringing all this incredible knowledge and experience with them into the degree. For instance, I know a law student who was previously a police officer, one who has studied psychology, one who came straight from high school, and many from international backgrounds with lived experience in their home countries.
“It’s such a thriving community. I enjoy it, it’s been fun and I’ve met lots of people.”
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