Student Profiles

Our talented students hail from Australia, the Americas, Europe and Asia, and are enrolled in degrees across many disciplines including the arts and social sciences, economics and business, law and education.

James Wilson

Bachelor of Political, Economic, and Social Sciences, and a Master of Economics
Graduate at Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

"The USSC is such a unique institution within the University of Sydney. There’s a real focus on practical, real world issues alongside traditional theory.”

James WilsonJames’s interest in politics and the US began with Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008, where he found the process fascinating but struggled to filter the vast amount of information available on US politics, foreign policy, and domestic issues. His time at the Centre gave him both the theoretical and practical experience he needed to understand the big issues facing America and the world. “Each of the Centre’s subjects provided so much clarity; they were able to distil complex topics down to their core issues.”

James says the Centre opened doors to a number of opportunities he would otherwise have missed. Studying AMST1001: Global America led to an exchange opportunity at Washington University and a trip to Washington DC during the 2012 presidential race. “There I volunteered on Obama’s re-election campaign, and even met the President at a fundraiser. None of this would have been possible without the knowledge and expertise I gained through studying at the Centre.”

Back in Australia, James was invited to be a member on the US Consulate’s Youth Advisory Council, a position he held for three years. He now works in the graduate program in the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in Canberra. The extensive breadth of work that he does daily is a highlight of the job and he says his degree gave him the skills to manage this. “The assignments I did at the Centre were so diverse. They ranged from academic essays to briefs that required up-to-the-minute information about what was happening in the world. That taught me valuable skills in writing for different audiences, something crucial to my work today."

Jay Ng

Bachelor of Arts with Honours in American Studies
Merchandise Coordinator at Lane Crawford

Jay NgJay’s journey into the fashion industry began when she completed her honours thesis on American fashion under the guidance of Centre lecturer Thomas Adams. “The Centre’s honours course expanded my interest in the US and, while researching, changed my perspective on fashion.” As well as studying at the Centre, she led a student editorial team who put together a student journal, The Amerigo, supported by the Centre.

Studying at the Centre appealed to Jay as the classes catered to her personal interests of current affairs and popular culture, including USSC2601: US in the World and USSC2604: Sex Race and Rock in the USA. “The way our study was focused on researching recent news and looking into the latest popular culture resonates strongly with my job’s requirements.”

In her current job as merchandise coordinator at Lane Crawford, she communicates with designers around the world, including in the US. For her, the job is exciting and she loves that she gets to be in the know of next season's trends. “The knowledge I gained from my studies is invaluable when it comes to aesthetic and cultural understanding relating to fashion and popular culture.”

Jonathan Gordon

Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences, majoring in Government and International Relations
Graduate at NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

“The Centre offers some of the most interesting subjects available at the University of Sydney, taught by some of the most impressive academics. We are lucky to have an institution dedicated to US Studies at our university, especially one that is in a position to offer a wide array of innovative classes.”

Jonathan GordonJonathan always had an interest in the United States, but it was his study with the Centre that led to a six-month internship in Washington DC after graduating. He worked at the East West Center, a public diplomacy think tank, where he practiced his passion for policy and diplomacy.

Studying USSC2601: US in The World, he developed his interest in American culture, politics and foreign policy into practical skills and work. “The unit was a great chance to practice useful writing styles beyond just academic essays. In fact, one of my reports on the trilateral relationship between China, Australia and the US won the US Consulate General's Ambassador's Award.”

His enthusiasm for policy has translated into his current job at the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet, where he gets to work on everything from international trade and investment and countering violent extremism, to health policy and social housing. “Beyond furthering my interest in US politics, international relations and government more generally, studying at the Centre allowed me to practice a wide range of communications and even media skills that are crucial for my work.”

 “I encourage every student, regardless of their interest in the United States, to take a course at the USSC. The courses are innovative, the teachers are passionate, and you have opportunities to practice skills that are not offered by other faculties.”

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