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Amber Wilkinson is at ease with a microphone in her hand. She is nearly at the end of her postgrad studies in broadcasting at ECU and has her sights set on a career in TV news.

Amber graduated from Carramar campus in 2016 and dived straight into university studies. She admits her Year 12 results weren’t what she had hoped for but were actually a blessing in disguise, when her dream of studying at UWA didn’t eventuate and she started to ECU.

“I headed straight into full time study, doing a Bachelor of Media and Communication at ECU. I ended up loving my time at ECU and couldn’t imagine studying my degree anywhere else,” Amber says.

“The course was so hands-on, the staff were so nurturing and after realising in Year 12 I wasn’t great at exams having such a practical-based university was the best thing for me,” she says.

Amber has made clever use of her time as a uni student, embracing opportunities to gain experience in the industry while studying. From interning at some of Perth’s top media outlets to working with Southern Cross Austereo and Sky News Perth, Amber’s been able to learn in the real world and create broadcast material on top of university study.

“I was able to get hands-on experience working as a match reporter for Netball WA and as the lifestyle and entertainment editor of ECU’s Dircksey Magazine in 2020. In my time at university, thanks to connections at ECU, I was able to have two segments that I produced and presented go to air as part of local TV shows on Channel 7. As well as presenting our student show Project WA in 2020.”

Sharing stories is in Amber’s DNA. She has always loved to tell a good story and has wanted to become a journalist since the age of 13 when her idea of writing a book led her to see journalism as a good career path.

“I think that as citizens people have a right to know what’s going on in the world around them, both the good and the bad. Which is why good, quality journalism is so important, because of this I’m passionate about ensuring I’m the best journalist I can be, constantly striving to create the best content I can. I also believe being given the responsibility to tell these stories to the public is a great privilege and should be handled as such.”

“I’d never considered broadcast journalism until I entered university, I’d always wanted to pursue written journalism (essentially I think I wanted to be Rory Gilmore, thanks to all the Gilmore Girls my parents watched while I was a kid). After doing a few radio and TV classes at university I fell in love with broadcast journalism and it’s what I’ve been pursuing ever since.”

“I also love how creative you can be and being able to share the stories that are really important to people.”

In 2019 Amber took some time out from university to volunteer as a camp counsellor in upstate New York for four months. She ran the camp radio station and spent her time teaching teen campers how to create shows, podcasts and edit audio. She says she would love to do another season when the world is a bit more back to normal and international travel can happen.

Amber says the opportunity to take part in the camp has been one of her greatest achievements since leaving St Stephen’s School, along with gaining a place in the competitive post-graduate diploma course she is completing.

“Both of these were things I’d been dreaming of for a long time and to achieve them both in such a short time has been really rewarding.”

“Having the chance to intern at some of Perth’s top media outlets has also been a huge achievement for me. I flew out to Sydney for a week with 7 News but had to come home early due to the recent COVID outbreak, but it was such a valuable experience that really made me realise how much I love this industry.”

She looks back on her days at St Stephen’s School and encourages current students to be open to veering off the path they set for themselves beyond school.

“Life outside of school is a scary but wonderful place, as long as you are open to every opportunity it will all be okay.”

“I didn’t get the results I’d hoped for at the end of Year 12 and it crushed me because it wasn’t part of my ‘plan’. I ended up studying at a university I’d never considered and ended up loving it.”

“So sometimes exploring the path you didn’t plan on taking is better for you and will actually get you where you want to be.”