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Meet Joanne Gibson

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Joanne Gibson recently joined the Library as Learning Success Advisor at the Curtin University Kalgoorlie campus. We spoke to Joanne to learn more about her work experience and her new role. 

My career story starts and continues in Kalgoorlie with what I like to think of as tasters. I have experienced an eclectic mix of roles and studies in different vocations, including graphic design, teaching, psychology and counselling. Each experience has contributed to my knowledge, personality and disposition to the world. I have been an engraver, art gallery assistant and framer, I have worked in customer service in the local public library, video store and as a bartender. I have mentored, tutored, been an education assistant, swimming teacher and completed a year as a refrigeration and airconditioning apprentice. While many of these roles were enjoyable and I have countless good memories, they never fully satisfied my desire to be a helper or keep me intellectually stimulated.

When I became pregnant with my first son, I decided I needed to settle into a career that would provide stability. I enrolled in the Bachelor of Education (ECE); however, due to unforeseen family circumstances, I withdrew halfway through my final practical and never returned. This experience led me to work with children, and I took on a role in an early learning program called ‘Spring into Learning’, where I engaged with families and children, many of whom were at risk. I decided to further my learning and enrolled in Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) at Edith Cowan University (ECU). Graduating is my proudest achievement.

From here, I joined Wanslea as the coordinator for a program called ‘Connected Beginnings’. Connected Beginnings is a national, federally funded program that aims to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (aged 0-5) in well-being, health, and education, through collective impact. I found this job challenging but highly rewarding. I got to work with many amazing people from organisations across the Goldfields and Australia, many of whom inspired me with their passion for creating change. However, the urge to expand my learning and continue my journey once again presented itself, so I enrolled in the Master of Counselling (Accelerated) through ECU, which I am currently working towards online. Unfortunately, I was overwhelmed by family obligations, working full-time, and managing a house, so I decided to follow my dreams and concentrate on my study.

When I found the advertisement for my current role, Learning Success Advisor at Curtin University Library in Kalgoorlie, I felt the job description had been written just for me! I was excited to see that the role included many skills I had built over the years and had the potential to include opportunities for further learning and development. This role involves hosting workshops to support students’ academic success, engaging with students and performing traditional library duties.

In the few months that I have been part of the Curtin Library team and the wider Kalgoorlie campus, I have learnt so much, engaged with many amazing people and had the opportunity to develop my understanding of how universities function. The biggest challenge I have encountered is navigating the different systems. It is impressive how big universities are and how they create their own eco-system of operating within the broader communities in which each campus is located. I have enjoyed meeting students and colleagues from many backgrounds, each bringing their own story and a unique perspective I can learn from.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, four children, a cat and a dog, running, reading (pure escapism), and doing arts and crafts – quite badly! I spent a few years playing with drawing, acrylic painting and lino printing, and recently, I was given a Cricut Maker. So far I have made keyrings, stickers and door mats, but there is much more I want to try! I am also exploring starting an initiative to help people who are lonely to connect. I am very interested in the concept of fictive kin, the friends who become our family, both because of my family background and the community in which I live. I believe it only takes one person, one action, to make a difference for someone in need.

Written by Joanne Gibson, Learning Success Advisor

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