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Patrick Beers

Passport to learn


With one foot on a plane to commence a scholarship in the United States, Emily Ford can barely believe the direction her military background and university studies have taken.

A former operator movements coordinator, Emily was responsible for the travel and documentation of Australian Defence Force personnel and cargo both domestically and abroad.

It was a complicated and rewarding job, one that took her on deployment to the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

The military stint also helped the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) student secure an American Australian Association Veterans’ Scholarship.

Next year the soon-to-be teaching graduate will take her ACU degree to the US to explore further qualifications in teaching English as a second language.

It’s a launchpad to pursue postgraduate study in the career which has commanded her passion since she was a young child.

“I’d always wanted to be a teacher, but I wanted to do something different first. I thought I’d do a year in the army and ended up doing three,” she said.

“I’d had a lot of good teachers when I was at school. I had the same English teacher all the way through. She was always interested and even the naughty kids had a lot of respect for her. Teachers like that play a big role in our lives.”

Pacific experience

The non-profit American Australian Association is dedicated to broadening, strengthening and developing ties across the Pacific. Its Veterans’ Fund supports veteran scholars and alumni by providing international educational opportunities that enrich their post-military careers.

Former air dispatcher Patrick Beer is thankful for the opportunities his ACU studies and military service have created.

“It’s a blessed position and not one that I thought I’d be in,” he said of the scholarship offer.

Emily Ford

Emily Ford

Patrick is nearing completion of a Bachelor of Theology/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree at ACU’s Melbourne Campus.

It’s a field that has fascinated him for as long as he can remember.

“My brother has a disability, and I was able to do my pro bono hours at the Disability Discrimination Legal service,” Patrick said. “I had two years there which was really rewarding to see different people access the justice system.

“I enjoyed being able to have that hands-on exposure to clients and be an advocate for them in a small capacity.”

Patrick will put his US scholarship on hold next year while he completes a graduate role as a policy officer with the Department of Defence.

“The graduate program is a great opportunity to mix with people in the field and see what qualifications and experience have helped others to have a rewarding legal career,” Patrick said.

Veteran success

Emily and Patrick are part of a growing cohort of current and ex-ADF members studying at ACU.

Veterans are ideally suited to higher education, and ACU has created dedicated pathways, including the Veteran Entry Program (VEP) and Veteran Transition Program (VTP), to support their post-military careers.

“You learn discipline and time management in the army,” Emily said. “That’s valuable when you get to uni and are not told what to do all the time.

“Socially, too, you learn to mix with people of all ages and backgrounds. That’s something that helps down the track in a professional sense.”

Interested in pursing your passion? Explore our courses. 

Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2022 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G