Following footsteps of wonderful role models


CATHOLIC university graduate, Samantha Harris, found it difficult to decide whether she would study nursing or teaching.

Growing up in Batemans Bay, attending St Bernard’s at Batehaven during her primary school years and then Batemans Bay High, she decided she wanted a career in which she helped and supported people.

After completing a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University, she went to rural and regional areas, working in a variety of specialties including community, general hospital settings and operating rooms.
Career progression and curiosity about what it would be like to work overseas, meant that Mrs Harris later took up a position for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom for two years.  

Although she enjoyed her 10 years as a nurse, she began to seek a change.

“I used my practical experience to help inform the next stage of my working life as a public servant at the Department of Health and Ageing,” Mrs Harris said.

“I worked in a variety of areas which included policy development and project management and completed a Masters of Health Administration through the University of New South Wales.”

On maternity leave with her second son, Mrs Harris had time to reflect on her life, family and career.

With a desire to spend more time with her two young boys and fond memories of her primary school days, she decided to return to a career that was “more meaningful”.

“I remembered some wonderful teachers who were fabulous role models, so I decided to enrol in the Masters of Teaching (Early Years) at the Australian Catholic University,” she said. 

“With a baby of three months and a five year old, I started another round of study and completed the degree part-time over a three-year period.”

Studying her Masters course online meant that she needed to be both organised and disciplined. She had little up-front contact with lecturers to remind her when assignments were due or to give her on-the-spot help.

“I really enjoyed the course, in particular the practical component which allowed me to use all the theory I had learnt and put it into practice,” she said.

“It was completely crazy sometimes juggling study alongside everything else and looking back I actually don’t know how I managed to do it all.”

Mrs Harris is now working at Palmerston District Primary School as a kindergarten teacher.

“It is fabulous and I enjoy every minute of it,” she said.