Meet Liza Brachtendorf: Graduating MAPS student and Recipient of the Postgraduate Medal for Academic Excellence

Liza Brachtendorf (Photo supplied)
Liza Brachtendorf (Photo supplied)

It’s Graduation Day. Liza Brachtendorf is excited. Not only is she going to dress up in the customary regalia and walk the stage, but she’s also going to receive the Postgraduate Medal for Academic Excellence. Congratulations, Liza!

Ahead of this momentous occasion, we caught up with Liza to get to know her better and learn more about her student journey at ANU.

Congratulations! You’re going to be a graduate today! How does it feel, especially since you’re also receiving a medal – the PG medal for academic excellence, no less?

I feel very honoured and grateful to be selected as a medal winner. It is a very proud moment for me to have my studies and work recognized with this award. I am immensely grateful for everyone who has been a part of this journey and made my studies at ANU so unforgettable! 

What are you most looking forward to at your graduation?

I am most looking forward to walking the stage! I am already excited to wear the regalia and celebrate with classmates and colleagues; it’s a day to really celebrate the spirit of community, achievements and milestones, hope, and so much more.   

 Why ANU? How has it made your journey special?  

ANU is the best place to study Asian and Pacific Studies, and studying here gave me the opportunity to be taught by some of the best academics in their fields. My classmates and friends have also made this journey truly special, and I will treasure these memories for a lifetime.  

How was experience with the Master of Asian and Pacific Studies?

Studying the Master of Asian and Pacific Studies was the best decision I ever made. The program's variety of subjects and specialisations allowed me to understand dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region holistically, while at the same time learn about unique cultures, people and political landscapes. In terms of well-rounded, culturally immersive education, studying Chinese as part of the degree enabled me to work with original sources and bridge the theory I learned in the classroom with research praxis. I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities this degree enabled me to take!

What’s next for you?

I am now working full time at the university at the position that was previously my part-time job during my studies as a research officer at the ANU's Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research. In the long term, I hope to be able to expand my master's thesis into a PhD and work in academia. part-time job during my studies at ANU. In the long term, I hope to be able to expand my thesis into a PhD.   

If you had one golden tip to give students who want to follow your footsteps what would it be? 

My number one tip would be to have a curious mind – embrace the journey and meet both challenges and successes with the willingness to learn and grow. 

If you could share one famous quote or dialogue that resonates with you today, what would it be?

A quote that inspires me and inspired my thesis: “Be uncomfortable, be as sand, not oil, in the gears of the world's machine.” - Guenther Eich


Liza Brachtendorf (Photo supplied)
Liza Brachtendorf (Photo supplied)
Liza Brachtendorf (Photo supplied)
Liza Brachtendorf (Photo supplied)

And now, we will move aside and let Liza walk that stage, dressed in the regalia, proudly wearing her medal—a testament to all her hard work, perseverance and dedication. Here’s wishing you all the best for the future, Liza! And who knows? We might be catching up with you again, when you graduate as a PhD!

Watch this space for more coverage from Liza’s graduation and award ceremony in the coming days. In the meantime, if you want to know more about the Master of Asian and Pacific Studies, visit our website.