Influential Murdoch Figures – Series 1

Influential Figure feature

Here is the first collection detailing the positive ripples of change some Murdoch figures generate that resonate long into the future.

I would love to nominate not one, but three inspirational tutors. Firstly, to Dr David Moody. David has always been someone who is compassionate and understanding towards his students. He makes sure everyone feels important and purposeful in the classroom environment. He encourages creativity and allows his students to flourish at their own pace. He understands that life can get in the way and is very empathetic and patient towards his students. He was the first tutor at Murdoch to ever make an impression on me and I will never forget what he has taught me. 

Secondly, Dr Jenny De Reuck. Jenny is fantastic at what she does. I never thought I would ever enjoy Shakespeare, but to this day that unit has changed not only my opinion, but my life. Because of Jenny, I now incorporate Shakespeare into my own teaching (as much as my high school students hate me for it). Jenny pushed me to take my character to the best level I could and inspired me to pursue acting outside of university. I can never thank her enough for that. The thing I loved most about Jenny is that she would always give her students a clean slate. If they couldn’t commit to a part in a previous semester, they still had a fair opportunity for a decent part in the next semester. I was absolutely gutted when she retired.

Thirdly to Kathryn Dehle. Kathryn is the most compassionate, kind human I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. She’s always checking in on her students and their well-being. She practices what she teaches, which makes her very easy to learn from. The fact that she has an extremely overloaded timetable and still has the time to give guidance and advice to each and every one of her students is truly remarkable. She does not get enough credit for what she does for her students and the university and if I can be half the teacher that she is, I’ll be very happy.

Hannah Gibson
B Arts 2018

The person who had a profound influence on me achieving my Doctorate is Dr Kathryn Trees. Dr Trees guided me through to Masters and PhD. Without her influence I would not have reached these goals. Things that influenced me the most were her gentle, respectful yet firm encouragement and direction through some difficult times. Kathryn stands out in my academic journey and indeed in my life as a shining star and guiding light never to be extinguished.

Gerrard Shaw
M English and Comparative Lit 2004
PhD Communications 2012


Dr Judith Thomson (who I had as a lecturer in consumer protection law back in 2006) had the most memorable impact on my time at Murdoch. Having self-sabotaged my TER in Year 12 when I made the conscious decision to pursue economics rather than law, I had intended to go take over the world by landing a grad role at the RBA. That didn't happen. The HD I scored in a cross-discipline subject run by a faculty that I, at the time felt inadequate to be part of, had a large impact on my future goals though, with the fall of Enron a very fresh memory at that point in time.

I became a new father during that semester and was surprised to even survive. After graduating from Murdoch, and with a referral in hand, I sought admission to a law qualification at the University of Sydney or UTS, having just started a career in banking. The latter offered a night school option for a Juris Doctor-style qualification, which I pursued in the childish hope of making the world a better place. A financial crisis later, I sought employment at APRA, thinking that this would be the legal role of my dreams and that my future career would be clear as day. While I loved my time there, I found that the most interesting work was pseudo-legal, rather than in the purist sense. 

Inspired by a number of academics that I had learned from, I did distinctly recall the ridiculous quantum of post-nominals Dr Thomson held. This fuelled my outside-of-work-hours insanity to complete Masters' qualifications at Macquarie (MBA), Harvard (Finance), and a PhD (Management and Governance) at The University of Sydney. I now lead the prudential regulatory team as a Director at KPMG, still based in Sydney, and moonlight as an academic at Macquarie Business School, covering banking and governance topics where needed. The field(s) I work in are in many ways emerging, so never had a clear entry pathway. I'm glad to have landed here nonetheless.

Anything further I might add will be mindless waffle, but I often reflect that I'd never have stumbled through the many paths to be here without a Law academic that believed in me and helped me to succeed. As I gladly pay off my HECS debt in 2019, that is what I think of when I reflect on how worthwhile were the many "DR" lines relating to Murdoch all those years ago.

Dr John Paul Monck
B Economics 2007
B Commerce 2007

Dr Samuel Makinda was the most influential lecturer I had whilst doing my Politics and International Studies degree. Sam always gave such interesting and thoughtful lectures. And his tutorials were so much fun and innovative. I loved the tutorials that involved role playing, which required deep research, which I love, and the opportunity to play someone else in a senior political position. He enthused me to search for information outside of the normal scope which I retain to this day. Dr Samuel Makinda was number one for me!

Lindsay Dorman
BA Politics & International Studies 1999


The biggest impact on me was Dr Max Sully. I felt very vulnerable as an undergrad and Max really demonstrated to me what being a psychologist was and meant. Max made me feel I had a lot to offer, even if I didn’t feel I did at the time. He was my supervisor for my thesis and I learned so much from him. He said to keep in touch, and he really meant it. He always made me feel welcome long after I graduated when I did drop in and it had such a positive impact. He will never know how much.

Danielle Fry
B Psychology/Grad Dip Education 2004

Nawal Hijjawi

Professor Una Ryan
was the person who helped me a lot to accommodate difficult challenges in my personal life, helped me to grow up and believe in myself and to stand firm against the obstacles that I faced during my career. She helped me to establish an excellent research program in my country (Jordan) which was very hard for me, and to get promoted to Associate and full Professor. There is no way I could have achieved all this without her encouragement and continuous support. Words can’t express my deep appreciation and respect for the highly scientific, honest and lovely person, Una Ryan.  

Nawal Hijjawi
PhD Veterinary Studies 2003

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” - Lily Tomlin

After a lot of thought and deliberation, I had selected the MBA program at Murdoch and sincerely hoped that I would be able to survive a Master’s degree after ten long years of being out of touch with academia. Thankfully, the support from the faculty and my peers enabled me to gain a considerable amount of knowledge and fulfil my true potential.

I remember vividly that while I was enrolled in the 10th module, a good friend of mine mentioned that I MUST choose the 'Business and Sustainability' module delivered by Keary Shandler. Although I was clueless about the contents, I went ahead with the advice and chose it as my last module. Stating that the module changed my life would sound a little dramatic, however it did! From the first lecture itself; I was a transformed individual.

The passion with which Keary delivered her lectures inspired me and everyone else in the class. I often remember our after-class conversations about the world and the environment, and the perspectives she had shared with me are still etched in my mind. I had made up my mind that I would continue to pursue this further and not let the learning stop after the MBA. It would not sound surprising that I have become a lecturer myself teaching sustainability to others and have recently been enrolled in the PhD program; my area of research interest is sustainability...surprise surprise!!

At times, I feel like my teaching style and passion for the subject are an extension of hers. I owe this positive transformation in me to her.  She is an asset to Murdoch and a living testament to the view that teachers shape the world.

Sufia Munir MBA 2017
Posted on:

18 Nov 2019



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