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Alumni profile: Sophia Jacka

14 May, 2024

Sophia Jacka graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2023 with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing and Economics, and by early 2024 she had commenced a role with Creating Communities, where she is a Graduate Consultant supporting the work of the Engagement and Research team.

During her degree, Sophia undertook an internship with the Telethon Kids Institute through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship (the Centre) and joined the Centre’s Student Advisory Committee. Sophia credits her involvement with the Centre for helping inspire her as an active citizen, and broadening her view of how she could pursue a career that benefitted the community.

“After my McCusker Centre internship, I finally started my dream volunteer role at Starlight, got involved in a research reference group, joined the McCusker Centre Student Advisory Committee and even became a student consultant with 180 Degrees Consulting,” Sophia said.

“My experiences with the McCusker Centre empowered me to get involved in these ways and opened my eyes to a career in community engagement; I’m so thankful for the support I received from the team at the McCusker Centre.

“Following my graduation at the end of 2023, I immediately went straight into job searching mode. Searching for a job felt daunting, I had missed out on many graduate programs and there weren’t many other entry level roles,” she said.

While she wasn’t searching only for roles in community engagement or consulting, Sophia said that when she came across the role with Creating Communities, an organisation that works on social sustainability strategy and provides community engagement, development, research and creative services, she realised that it was everything she wanted in a grad role.

Since starting in her position, Sophia has been involved in a wide range of community engagement projects, from big mining projects to working with new schools. What she loves most about her role as a grad consultant is the diversity of the work and opportunities to try new things. Day-to-day, Sophia might find herself analysing data, scheduling social media posts, writing reports, engaging with community members, organising logistics, or creating email campaigns.

Sophia encourages students to embrace every opportunity they have during their time at university, within the uni setting and beyond.

“Get involved in the wide variety of university clubs (not just the party ones), you can learn so much, and these look great to future employers.

“Start volunteering how you can, it provides an incredible opportunity to make a direct contribution to the community, and can be a nice balance in the hectic schedule of a uni student,” she said.

Sophia also has advice for students undertaking an internship with the Centre.

“Make the most of your internship by embracing opportunities to develop new skills and upskill. Tell your supervisor if there’s a specific skill relevant to the internship that you would like to learn,” she said.

“Ask your supervisor about their professional history and how they got to their role today - learn from them and let them be your mentor! At the end of my Community Engagement internship with Telethon Kids Institute, I joked to my supervisor that I wanted to be like her ‘when I grew up’ – and now just over a year later, I am working in a community engagement role!”