Indigenous alumnus shares passion for university days

Indigenous alumnus shares passion for university days

Meet proud Indigenous RMIT alumnus Tiana Rose Koehrer as we celebrate NAIDOC Week. Tiana shares what she’s up to now and how her university days and connection with the Ngarara Willim Centre positively influenced her life.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'Ngarara Willim and RMIT alumnus Tiana Koehrer' Ngarara Willim and RMIT alumnus Tiana Koehrer

Who’s your mob?

I am a proud descendant of the Ulupna and Moira Clans of the Yorta Yorta people and the Yarra Yarra of the Wurundjeri people.

What did you study at RMIT?

I studied an Advanced Diploma of Business (in Public Relationa) in 2015 and completed in 2016.

What are you up to now? 

I just started a new job as a Senior Project Officer working for the Department of Justice and Community Safety in Parkville working directly for the General  Manager of the precinct.

I absolutely love working here, with our young blakfullas and the rest of the young people, and having a strategic oversight and managing projects too.

I also sit across the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place Board as a Director, and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Board as an observer as well as an Executive on the Koorie Youth Council.

I'm busy, but I love every second of it.  

Can you tell us about your journey into University?

RMIT was the best experience ever, I mean it. I remember the open day, my applications, I remember my first day, my first friend, induction, everything.

And that mainly comes down to Ngarara Willim. I was not the best at school, it just wasn’t for me, but I knew that I world enjoy Uni as it had a lot more flexibility  and independence.

I originally wanted marketing but settled for PR and I am so glad I did, it taught me so much about the digital world, crisis management and most importantly for my current and previous roles, stakeholder and project management.

I think education is one of the most powerful tools and we are all so lucky that we have it at our fingertips.

What did you enjoy most about engaging with

Ngarara Willim?

Where to start?!  On my application and to Ngarara Willim, I remember writing “when I walked into the centre it felt like home’, and that’s because it did, it still does.

The amount of endless support and opportunities that the centre provide is amazing.

I had some of the best memories of my life, made lifelong friends, got amazing study support and I was safe. To be honest, Ngarara Willim was half the reason I even came to Uni. You would either catch me in class or in the centre, nowhere else!

Not to mention the beautiful staff, building of culture AND Indigenous Uni Games! (still a life highlight).

What would your message be to our mob who

may be considering studying at RMIT?

You can’t go wrong. RMIT is the perfect choice for your studies.

With a welcoming and community feel, great facilities and opportunities, support for study and cultural development and you will always be left smiling.

Ngarara Willim and RMIT will be able develop you personally and professionally.

How did your course influence your career?

My course opened me up to a business and digital  world that I didn’t knew existed. Every single unit that I ever took in that course, I use in my day-to-day job, and my course is so versatile that I can utilise my learning into any career path.

What was your biggest takeaway from studying

at RMIT?

Studying at RMIT taught me how to prepare for life. From the routine of things, to the reality of ‘this is how the real-world works’.

It taught me patience (especially in group projects), and it taught me that no matter what, you will always have a home at RMIT.

What are the top three things you’ve learned in

your career?

Maybe your career doesn’t exist yet- create your own pathways, don’t be afraid to not have a ‘forever career’,

I mean hey, only a few short years ago I had never even imagined myself doing what I am doing. Take your time. If you can’t get to something straight away, it doesn’t mean the world will end.

Take EVERY opportunity you can, don’t be afraid to ask or be assertive.

What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?

Put my head down and work. I am at a really good place in my career where I have my foot in the door, so now I just need to home in on my niche and build up. I also want to buy a house, which is one of my bucket  list goals!

I think COVID was really hard on a lot of people, and I am looking forward to really focusing on my mental health and wellbeing too.

This story was first published in the Ngarara Willim newsletter.
Banner image created by Kamilaroi artist, Louisa Bloomer

09 November 2020


09 November 2020


  • Alumni
  • Student experience
  • Indigenous Australia

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer