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Social Work student to attend Australia Youth Summit

March 31st, 2008

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) student Naomi Godden, has been been selected to attend the Australia Youth Summit in Canberra, in the lead-up to Australia 2020. She was selected from a field of 1260 applicants to voice her visions and ideas for meeting the challenges facing Australia in the future. The Australia Youth Summit will bring together 100 young Australians on the weekend of 12-13 April, and will be chaired by Kate Ellis, Minister for Youth, and Hugh Evans, who was Young Australian of the Year in 2004. The Summit will conclude with the release of a communiqué, setting out the key issues raised at the forum, and providing messages to go forward to Australia 2020.

Associate Professor Max Liddell, Head of the Department of Social Work, in congratulating Naomi, described her as “an outstanding student who would make an important contribution to the Youth Summit”.

Naomi has only a few Arts subjects to complete in order to graduate, and has recently completed an Honours thesis which focused on barriers rural young people experience in accessing the Youth Allowance subsidy in order to support their tertiary education. She interviewed ninety five people, including students parents and teachers, from seven locations in four states. Independently, she raised $16,000 to finance her research. This was an outstanding achievement in itself, and, in addition to her thesis, Naomi also produced a report which has been circulated to Education Minister Julia Gillard and other politicians around the country. A press release she distributed led to some two dozen radio interviews on the subject.

Associate Professor Liddell said that he has “no doubt that the Youth Summit will be hearing plenty about the need for greater support for rural students accessing tertiary education”.

Naomi is also the recipient of the Social Work Department's Margaret Yandell Fieldwork Prize for the most outstanding field-placement conducted by an off-campus student in 2007.