IN THE Northern Star's coverage of the first O Week at Southern Cross University in 1994, Noreen Ame (now known as Noreen Chambers) was pictured checking out her new course material.
Back then she was 26, had just moved to Lismore from Papua New Guinea - a brave move for a young woman with an eight-month-old son.
"It took me a while to get back into the student mode," she said.
"I had no one to help me look after my son, so it took me while to adjust to being a student again.
"Fortunately other PNG students chipped in and helped me and I was able to settle in."
She had secured an AusAid scholarship through her employer the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery where she had worked as a public relations officer.
Now, 20 years later, Mrs Chambers works for UNICEF Papua New Guinea helping to improve the welfare of women and children.
Getting an education at SCU changed her life, now she's changing the lives of others as she travels around the country delivering health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDs programs as a UNICEF PNG communication officer.
Mrs Chambers graduated from SCU with a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in communications and media) in 1996, and later returned to PNG where she resumed her job at the museum and art gallery. Three years later, she joined the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.
Since moving to UNICEF PNG in 2003, Mrs Chambers has continued studying, gaining a Master of Social Change and Development through the University of Newcastle thanks to another AusAid scholarship.
Mrs Chambers' baby son, Adrian, is 21 and she also has a 16-year-old daughter, Natalie.
"I'm very pleased to have been among the pioneer students at SCU and can't believe 20 years have flown by so fast," she said.
SCU celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend with a special alumni reunion.
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