Rice House member Ellen Brophy graduated from the Kolbe Catholic College community in 1997.
Ellen left the College with a keen desire to study marketing and tourism, hoping to land a career within the field.
Following her graduation from university, it was hard to find work as a young graduate as it was pre-mining boom, leaving her future husband and herself to look for other opportunities further afield in the federal public service, being fortunate enough to secure positions which prompted a move to Canberra in 2002.
“The work in the Government’s Graduate Program was diverse and exciting, which allowed us to rotate through a number of work areas over the course of a year.”
At the conclusion of the one year graduate program, Ellen was offered a permanent position with the government.
“The stigma of being a boring public servant has never been true in my experience, as I have been offered many amazing opportunities to work across a range of strategic issues and projects, influence government and foreign policy, along with working with some highly skilled professional people,” she said.
Ellen has spent most of the last decade service the Department of Immigration and Border Protection overseas both in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, working to strengthen Australia’s bilateral relations with these countries.
She said like most overseas diplomatic roles, the work is varied and diverse.
“Some days I could be presenting at a conference or opening a training course and next I could be out on a patrol boat or searching a container, with the variety of work keeping things interesting!
“The best part of the role is the opportunity to live overseas and expose my family to other cultures and experiences.”
Ellen said she thoroughly enjoys meeting new people and enjoys working with foreign counterparts to help manage Australia’s shared borders more effectively.
Her latest posting at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta finishes up shortly and while working overseas is amazing, Ellen said she is excited to come home.
“Beyond the academic side of things, the College’s Ethos of service to others and the importance of contributing to the wider community has served me well and perhaps that is a reason why I have ended up in this field of work.”
When asked what advice she would offer her younger self and others, Ellen said she would encourage all to be open to every opportunity.
“You never know where life is going to take you!”