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Monica chalks up recognition as a fourth-generation teacher

Published:08 May 2019

Mackay graduate Monica Erba with her mother Megan McNamara, father David Erba and grandfather Barry McNamara.

While forging her own career in education, CQUniversity graduate Monica Erba has also been keeping alive a long-standing family tradition.

Monica’s mother is a teacher and the maternal line also includes grandparents and great grandparents who were teachers.

Her former teacher grandfather attended this week's CQUni Mackay graduation, alongside Monica’s parents who are both CQUniversity graduates (father David from an Accounting degree and mother Megan McNamara from a Master of Education).

Monica’s family were able to witness her accepting the Campus Medal, for academic and community achievements, and delivering an address on behalf of graduates.

Not only did she strive for excellence in her own studies, but Monica was well known to assist and mentor her peers and up-coming students.

Actively involved in events throughout the community, Monica participated in a wide variety of opportunities such as Under 8s Week celebrations.

Selected as one of the first Rising Star Program participants from Mackay, in 2017, she undertook a research project reviewing the literature on the experiences of graduate teachers in rural and remote schools in Queensland.

Later that same year, she represented CQUniversity at the Australasian Conference on Undergraduate Research in Adelaide, presenting her research project findings alongside other undergraduate students from across the country.

During her graduate address, Monica praised the contribution of lecturers, family members and friends in helping students overcome the bumps and hurdles of their study journey.

“I was born in Mackay and raised on a sugar farm so I was proud to study on campus at CQUniversity in Mackay,” Monica says.

“During my degree, I moved to Perth and was able to complete my degree as an online student, so I’ve experienced both the on campus life, with the benefits of socialising and meeting new people, and the flexibility of online.

“Both modes were very supportive and I felt I knew where to go if I needed help and there were people looking out for me throughout the degree.

“Our practical placements in classrooms were incorporated during each year of the four-year degree and I was able to gradually take on more responsibility from the teacher … it’s been a really immersive way to learn.

“Comparing with friends at other universities, it seems they did not get as much time with practical hands-on learning, so I feel really fortunate.”

Monica started her teaching career in Perth and is currently employed at Highgate Primary School. She works in a Year 1 classroom for three days a week and spends two days a week as a relief teacher.

Almost 150 graduates, including several from vocational programs, attended this week's CQUni Mackay graduation ceremony at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre. Three Indigenous graduates received a special cultural sash.

The guest speaker was Cindy Emmett, Asset Management Planner – Field Shutdowns (BHP).

Ms Emmett achieved Distinction as a Mechanical Engineering graduate from CQUniversity, who put herself through university as a mature age student whilst being a single mum of four boys.

During her earlier employment with Anglo American, Ms Emmett promoted women in underground mining as part of the Operational Readiness team for the development of a greenfield mine site.  Due to her success in this role, she was awarded the ‘Rising Star Award’ by Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ).  As a result of this accomplishment, Cindy also won the inaugural ‘Most Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources’ presented by Women in Resources National Awards (WIRNA).