Stephanie Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2018 Graduate

Stephanie

University of Western Australia
2018 Graduate
Stephanie studied Engineering and Commerce at the University of Western Australia.

I grew up in Perth and studied Engineering and Commerce at the University of Western Australia.

I worked as an engineer in the construction industry, and during my commerce degree I gained experience working for a number of boutique marketing agencies. The defining moment in my studies proved to be while researching a paper on the on the intricacies of free trade agreements. This sparked an intense interest in trade and I applied for DFAT, thinking my decidedly non-legal background would be a hindrance to pursuing a career in international relations. In fact, the opposite has proven true: diversity is prized here, and I have found many occasions where the unique skills I gained through my experience as an engineer have been highly valued.

I have had the privilege of working in two diverse areas. I was part of the team the responsible for managing the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties process (JSCOT) for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), where I was able to lead on developing briefing and advising on strategy for public hearings. Currently in the passports office, I now work on developing policy surrounding the issuance of child passports, where our team manages complex issues to do with parental responsibility, surrogacy and adoptions.

One of my many highlights while at DFAT has been a week spent at a round of trade negotiations for the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement. Seeing our negotiators in action was a fantastic learning opportunity and confirmed for me that a career at DFAT is one I want to pursue.

I have fallen in love with Canberra and its people – the city is full of things to do but has the charm of a small town, and I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing friends and colleagues who continue to support me unconditionally, challenge me intellectually, and selflessly mentor me.