By GRANT MAYNARD

Mildura’s Kellie Coff has been in the news of late…for all the right reasons.

Regular readers may remember our story from the May 1 edition headed ‘Lecturer’s care package lifts spirits of her students’, when we told you about the La Trobe University lecturer’s special relationship with her students and the very welcome COVID-19 lockdown study care packages she prepared for them.

Now Kellie, PICTURED ABOVE, is in the news again, this time for her personal academic achievements.

Kellie was recently invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society. For those in the dark, the Golden Key is the world’s largest academic honour society, and membership is exclusively by invitation only. 

To gain entry into the society members must excel in academic achievement and graduate university at the top of their class.

“It was really challenging to undertake the Graduate Certificate of Research and Innovation Management at the same time as undertaking my PhD but the extra effort was definitely worth it,” Kellie told the ‘Weekly.

Extra effort is something of an under statement! Kellie had to fly to Melbourne every Sunday so she could attend classes Monday morning.

“My other class was Tuesday night so I couldn’t fly home again until Wednesday,” Kellie said.

“It was a lot of travel, but the time in transit gave me the opportunity to really focus on my studies.

“I am really lucky that my family supports my academic pursuits. 

“I did not finish high school at all, and I do not have an undergraduate degree.

“I met my husband when I was 19 and was married at 20. 

“I didn’t even step foot into a university until I was 37 so I am definitely something of a late bloomer in the academic sense.

“It is so competitive at the PhD level too, especially these days. so I was really happy to receive the Golden Key.

“And I gained some really valuable skills and was able to access some exciting opportunities without needing to relocate my family to a metropolitan area.”

The Golden Key International Honour Society encourages members to excel in academics, leadership and service, and Kellie certainly fits the bill as the saying goes..

And, Golden Key members perform more than 100,000 hours of volunteer service across the globe each year.

Kellie actively contributes to this laudable statistic by volunteering with the Small Business Mentoring Service and the Northern Mallee leaders’ Free Little Library Community Project. 

Kellie also recently completed an internship where she researched the economic benefit and public value of the Australian Medic Alert Foundation.

“My internship was an incredible opportunity that I was able to access as part of my PhD studies,” she said.

Kellie also attributes her success to local organisations, Rostrum and the Northern Mallee Leadership Program.

“Rostrum helped me to find my voice, and the Northern Mallee Leaders helped me to learn how to use it,” Kellie said.

Kellie is currently completing her PhD with Swinburne University and lectures locally at La Trobe University’s Mildura campus.

She has been lecturing there for two and a half year, starting in Semester One, 2018.

Her subjects include Human Resource Management, Market Audience and Social Research, Analysing Business Data and Data Driven Business Analysis. 

I must have appeared mystified at this point.

“Basically, HR, marketing and statistics….even more basically, just business,” Kellie kindly explained.

So, what does the future hold?

“My ultimate goal is completing my PhD to become a full-time lecturer and researcher of ‘public value’.

Mystified look again!

“I really want to help make university education an achievable goal for people living in regional areas,” Kellie explained.

“We transitioned to online teaching due to COVID-19 and this gave me the opportunity to see if I would like lecturing online. I loved it! 

“I am currently completing my PhD with Swinburne, and I am due to submit my thesis at the end of 2021. 

“I am researching Citizen Generated Public Value by analysing the community leadership programs of regional Victoria. 

“And, I have just completed an internship where I investigated the Economic Benefit and Public Value of the Australian Medic Alert Foundation which gave me a great opportunity to lead my first real academic research project.”

Whew! Made me tired just hearing about it.