Capacity building as a pathway to student wellbeing

Kathryn Lysons1, Karen Poh1

1Study Melbourne Student Centre, Victorian Government, Melbourne, Australia

International students are now 1 in 8 of Victoria’s youth population.  This session will focus on how the Victorian Government’s work is evolving to focus on student empowerment and capacity building.  The session will include a discussion on how we can prepare and enable students to navigate government and systems, improve their everyday engagement and networks in communities and policy processes.  The session will also review the evolution of the Study Melbourne Student Centre as an events, colocation and connection point for students, the sector, business and the wider Victorian community.  The Centre is a leading example of connectivity and enabling student success in Australia, winning the 2006 IEAA Excellence Award.


Ms Karen Poh is Senior Project Officer, Student Initiatives, International Education Sector Team, Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.  Karen is involved in the delivery of student experience investments of the Victorian Government, and is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the Lead. Intern. Volunteer. Experience (LIVE) initiative.  Karen is an international student alumni and has more than 10 years experience in international education. Prior to joining the Victorian Government, she worked as a journalist before founding and leading Meld Community, a not-for-profit media and community organisation dedicated to improving student experience through information, events and work experience opportunities.  Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Journalism from the University of Melbourne.

Kathryn is the Manager of the Study Melbourne Student Centre, responsible for the Centre operations and events delivery in partnership with leading Victorian organisations and international student groups.  With over 12 years-experience working in the not-for profit and employment and training sector, she has managed Mentor Employment Programs, delivered training to international students and was the Operations Manager of the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Work and Learning Centres.  An experienced project manager, she is passionate about delivering capacity building initiatives to vulnerable Victorians.


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education. For more information, please visit the ISANA website.

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Photo Credits: Department of Education and Training; Study Melbourne; Visit Victoria

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