Alumni profile: Helping people through policy

March 20, 2015

It was a fitting coincidence that Jay Martin learned about Murdoch University’s Asian Studies undergraduate degree while travelling Asia as a teenager.

Jay (BA (Hons) 1998) had not completed Year 12 and was pleased to hear that tertiary education was not beyond her reach, with Murdoch offering an alternative entry program.

“I found out about Murdoch University when I was travelling in South East Asia when I was 19 and came across a guy who was doing his PhD research on travellers in South East Asia,” she said.

“Before that I had never even thought about going to university.”

After graduating, Jay worked in Canberra for 13 years as well as several overseas posts including Tajikistan in Central Asia, Azerbaijan (part of the former USSR), East Timor (now Timor Leste) and Papua New Guinea advising governments and the private sector on the effectiveness of social programs.

Now employed by global professional services company KPMG in Perth, Jay said her expertise as a policy analyst extended to the realms of health and human services, more specifically housing and child welfare.

“My vision at uni had been to do something with international development but I went into domestic social policy so I worked for governments and not-for-profits. I worked with Ministers in Canberra and all kinds of social justice programs,” she said.

“What happened over the years is that I had the opportunities to apply that experience overseas so although I went into a domestic policy environment, I ended up working for international governments advising them on how to do social policy better.

“My Asian Studies background was really useful then. You don’t usually know where an arts degree is going to take you but mine has taken me down some pretty interesting paths.”


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