Already a change-maker: HMNS graduating valedictorian tells her story
Emy Huntsman may be graduating from The University of
Queensland, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences this
week, but the valedictorian is already proving herself to be a
Ms Huntsman is among 4706 students graduating from UQ in July
2015, with more than 3000 expected to attend graduation
ceremonies from July 20 to 25.
Ms Huntsman who graduates with a Bachelor of Health, Sport and
Physical Education, strives to engage with students at a deeper
level, integrating themes of relationships, social justice and
equity onto the sports field and in the classroom.
"I am buoyed by the fact that health and overcoming the
burden of disease is seen as integral to our country's financial
success and, as such, while HPE teachers are not solely responsible
for an individual's health, we are a key source of health
literacy," Emy said.
When asked how she felt about graduating from her degree, Ms
Huntsman said she was both excited and nostalgic.
"I loved my time at uni, and really thrived in the environment.
I will miss my friends and lecturers but am so looking forward to
putting my knowledge into practice at school," she said.
Ms Huntsman has already landed a job working at St Peters
Lutheran College in Indooroopilly as a HPE teacher.
Hear Emy Huntsman's story on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/133631757
What qualification are you graduating with?
Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education from
the Faculty of Health
and Behavioural Sciences
Why this field of study?
I wanted to continue to work in sport and science and with young
people but in a more applied way than research.
Did you have other challenges to overcome?
I moved to Brisbane from Melbourne to study at UQ and did five
subjects and undertook summer school to finish my degree as quickly
I broke my dominant arm in my second semester (whilst taking
five subjects) so doing exams with my left hand was rather
I was born and raised in Melbourne and moved to Brisbane to
study at UQ.
Ever since I became interested in exercise and sport science
over a decade ago, I knew that The University of Queensland had the
most prestigious and respected program in the country. Securing a
full-time health and physical education teaching position in
Victoria is difficult so I wanted to give myself the best chance I
could and UQ was the best option. I also liked that the
degree up here had a strong focus on sociocultural aspects of
My main activity revolves around rowing. I began coaching for
Somerville House as soon as I moved here and also got back into
competitive rowing again myself last year.
I have recently become a member of the Australian Council of
Health and Physical Education and Recreation Management Committee
to promote healthy lifestyles and advocate health and physical
education and recreation professions.
What do you think makes a great university
Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education lecturers Sue
Monsen, Louise McCuaig, Gary Osmond and Murray Phillips have been
my standout lecturers while at UQ. They are passionate and
knowledgeable about their subject areas and encourage students to
actively engage with the course content to share their enthusiasm.
Murray, for example, used to begin his sociology of sports classes
with a discussion of current sporting phenomena in the media and
we'd interpret it through the sociocultural lens we were studying.
All were fair and genuine and encouraged my inquisitiveness and
were always more than willing to help and engage in my endless
questions and curiosities.
Most memorable or inspiring moment at UQ
Teaching at Yeronga State High School as a pre-service teacher.
This small school is attended by a diverse range of students
including from refugee backgrounds and represent more than 56
countries and countless languages in addition to English. The
students taught me so much about the value of education and the
power of sport as a social mediator. Some of my students had
experienced significant difficulties in their lives - so much more
than I ever had - and yet they would turn up to class, eager to
learn and play sport - it was an incredibly humbling
experience. My proudest moment was marching with the school at the
recent Luminous Parade to welcome new Australians and refugees to
Queensland. The students (and the other teachers and I) sang the
song over and over again as we marched with our banner and placards
around the Southbank forecourt in front of thousands of
. . . and the most surprising
When I signed up for teaching, I was most looking forward to the
science-oriented classes because that was what I had experience in
and knew I enjoyed, however as my degree progressed, I came to
enjoy the classes on pedagogy and sociology most. While I still
enjoyed the science classes such as biomechanics and motor
control and learning, the pedagogical and sociology classes forced
me to think and analyse at a much deeper level, which I hadn't
experienced before so I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge.
I would like to pursue a career in education with a particular
focus in HPE (health and physical education) and science. I haven't
decided yet whether I would like to stay in schools long term and
move into leadership positions or perhaps one day move back into
research or perhaps curriculum development. Experience with time
This has changed substantially since I left school - which was
over a decade ago now. I originally thought I wanted to be a sport
scientist - firstly working with elite athletes at the Australian
Institute of Sport, and then that I wanted to do sport science
research as a PhD student. However, after a year of post-graduate
study, I realised that those areas weren't for me so then I
transitioned into teaching. I didn't plan to be a teacher, it just
evolved and now it makes sense. It's not easy but there is nothing
more satisfying than helping a student achieve something they
didn't think they could and seeing their face light up.
What drives your interest?
Health, fitness and social justice. I am passionate about these
topics and strive to engage in these topics with my students.. In
line with the new Australian Curriculum and the senior Health and
Physical Education courses, HPE integrates themes of relationships,
social justice and equity in addition to sport and is something in
the field that I would most like to help address.
How do you feel entering a rapidly-evolving workforce -
where some jobs no longer exist and other jobs are yet to be
This is something we have studied in class and something that I
am very passionate about. It is something that deeply concerns me,
especially with the increase in outsourcing of HPE teaching that is
starting to occur, particularly in the US and overseas, but is
increasing in Australia too with the privatisation of education I
am buoyed by the fact that health and overcoming the burden of
disease is seen as integral to our country's financial success and
as such, while HPE teachers are not responsible for an individual's
health, we are a key source of health literacy (how to be
physically/mentally/socially healthy/active or physically educated
and how to find and critique health-related information). For this
reason, I feel excited to enter this new and challenging
I start my first teaching job at St Peter's Lutheran College. I
will enjoy every moment of a very well-earned break until then.