Inspiring Women of CAP: Sandra Bourke

07 March 2018

To mark International Women's Day this year we are celebrating some of the professional and academic staff who make our College a world-leading insitution for research and teaching on Asia and the Pacific.

In this piece, we chat to Sandra Bourke, Manager of Course Development and Delivery at the Crawford School of Public Policy.


What inspired you to get into area of work?

Service with adventure! At the age of 20, policing and the Army sounded exciting. And they were – although perhaps they were more challenging than what I first imagined. So do your career path homework!

With respect to project management, I have always loved school projects. This is really the same thing, except with bigger budgets and scary risks that keep you up all night.

And through it all, there has been a love of learning. Right now at ANU NSC it is all about sharing, networking, building knowledge and hopefully value-adding to the ‘grand narrative’ that underpins national security for Australia.

Who is a woman you look up to?

I look up to my Mum and my three sisters. Mum raised four of us and still managed to realise her vision of ensuring that we all had a higher education. She instilled us with resilience and a strong sense of family and community. She is from a generation that left school early and stopped working once married and yet today Mum and my sisters are all graduates with extended families that love life and learning.

What motivates you?

People – their energy, passion and potential are all highly viral. Empathy and humanism gives me hope.

What are you most proud of?

On a personal level, my resilience. You get knocked down, you learn and you keep driving towards your goals. On a family level, I am most proud of my daughter and being a part of my wonderful family. On a professional level, I am at the point in life where I can finally give back what I have learned and very much enjoy working with great minds here at ANU.  

What’s your advice to your younger self about choosing the right path and juggling life’s different demands?

Find gravity in your strengths and passion. Be authentic. Avoid toxic people and places. Take care of yourself – your body and your being – and all else flows outwards. Drink more water, read more books and learn to dance.

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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team