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Lumen Autumn 2017 Issue
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Widening our global networks

Our alumni networks in Australia and overseas help alumni stay connected with each other and the University, and participate in many educational and social activities. In 2017 and beyond, the University of Adelaide is expanding its reach into China.

The new China Alumni network will add to our existing networks which cover faculties and many interest areas. In the lead up to its launch, Lumen spoke with four graduates from different generations of Chinese alumni who have moved onto interesting careers.

Ken Wang

Ken Wang
A life-changing study move

Ken Wang was 16 when he arrived in Australia in the 1960s to attend school in Darwin while his father was stationed in nearby East Timor. After school Ken furthered his education at the University of Adelaide.

It was a period when Communist China was not recognised by the Australian Government and the White Australia policy made coming here difficult for Asian students. So Ken was very much in a minority.

“Most of the Asian students when I studied were Colombo Plan scholars, relatives of Asian Australian citizens and students sponsored by churches and other institutions,” says Ken.

“The strong Australian currency and full application of university fees were also limiting factors for studying in Australia.”

Ken has enjoyed an interesting and varied career since graduating with a Bachelor of Sciences and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and initially worked as an audio and television development engineer at Philips in Adelaide.

In the 1970s he was a foundation member of Don Dunstan’s Unit for Industrial Democracy; in the 1980s he moved into the finance sector and designed computer administration and trading systems; and in the 1990s he was appointed Chief Investment Officer with the Public Trustee, a position he remained in until retirement in 2011.

Today, Ken lives with his wife Patricia in South Australia. He has two children, Mimi and Mac, and both are graduates of the University.

A golden opportunity for Michael

Michael Hua

Michael Hua
When Michael Hua was offered a place to study at the University of Adelaide he leapt at the opportunity.

“It was the 1990s and only the best students in China could study overseas, so when the opportunity presented itself, I didn’t hesitate,” says Michael.

Michael was 17 when he arrived and completed his Bachelor of Commerce in 1999, before gaining some experience in accounting and tax consulting, and then specialising in mergers and acquisitions.

He moved to China to focus on corporate growth strategy consulting and is now based in Shanghai, working on mergers and acquisitions for a multinational healthcare company.

“I’d say that I’ve been very fortunate to move into the healthcare sector,” says Michael. “I have done multi-billion dollar deals that have given hundreds of thousands of people better access to the most advanced healthcare technologies.”

Michael has been actively involved in the University as Chair of the Commerce Alumni Network.

Cynthia discovers a love of research

Cynthia Yuan Gao

Cynthia Yuan Gao
From a young age it was Cynthia Gao’s dream to become a teacher. But it was during her Master of Education at the University of Adelaide 10 years ago that she found she also enjoyed research. So she went on to do a Master of Educational Research and then a PhD.

This led to Cynthia winning a position as a postdoctoral researcher at Taiwan Central University and Taiwan Normal University where she became interested in educational psychology and cognitive psychology within the context of learning with technology.

Today Cynthia is a senior researcher at Beijing Normal University’s Smart Learning Institute (SLI).

“SLI is devoted to exploring innovations and developments in effective use of information and communication technology and constructing a learning environment where lifelong learning and the diversified, personalised, and differentiated learning style of digital generations can be supported,” says Cynthia.

“I am currently the principal investigator on a project that looks at the use of virtual reality and ther on-trend technologies as strategies for teaching and learning.

“I love doing research. In the future, I hope that I can continue to combine my enjoyment of research and education in valuable projects like the work I’m doing at SLI.”

Learning the world of business

Eve Li

Eve Li
Eve Li came to study at the University of Adelaide from China after completing a semester exchange program during her Bachelor degree in international trade and commerce.

“After studying entry level courses in economics, finance, trade and accounting, I thought the best way to understand a corporate business would be by analysing financial statements, and the Masters of Accounting and Finance would allow me do that,” says Eve.

Since graduating in July last year, Eve overcame tough competition to win a place in the graduate program of global energy giant Enzen. The six-month program is in the United Kingdom where Eve will work on a local water project in Leeds and a power project in London.

“I’m looking forward to working on a range of transformational projects and learning how I can help different organisations become more energy efficient and meet the challenges presented by new advances in technology.”

The Chinese Alumni network is just one of several new networks planned to provide our graduates with more learning and networking opportunities.

Find out more about our alumni networks, or contact

Story by  Kelly Brown


Media Contact:
Kelly Brown
Communications Coordinator
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 (8) 8313 3943