Skip to content

Graduate charts course of success

Last week shaped up to be a big one for University of Southern Queensland law lecturer Dr Sarah McKibbin.

After months of hard work, Dr McKibbin and her colleagues received the first copy of their newly published book, before she rounded off the week by attending her PhD graduation ceremony.

During her time at the University of Southern Queensland, Dr McKibbin has made the move from top student to a much-valued member of staff.

She started her journey as a resident of the University’s McGregor College in 2008.

“I had dreamed of being a lawyer since Year 3,” Dr McKibbin said.

“I think this had sprung from my want to be the first female prime minister of Australia and I knew that a few of them held law degrees.

“When Julia Gillard was voted in, all of my siblings sympathised with me - my hopes were dashed.

“However, I still wanted to be a prime minister, so when I found out the University of Southern Queensland offered law, I jumped at the chance.”

After starting at the University, she immersed herself in her studies, earning top grades and becoming the President of the Law Society.

“I didn’t know what to expect and was quite shy to begin with – but I grew in confidence as I went along. I felt like law was a great fit for me,” Dr McKibbin said.

“All of my courses were very interesting, but the area I liked the most was an elective called private international law, which I studied in my final semester.

“At that point I had progressed beyond my desire to become a prime minister and instead wanted to enter the academic side of law – that’s where I felt my future lay.”

In 2013, Dr McKibbin graduated as valedictorian of her class, surrounded by family and friends.

It wasn’t long before she was snapped up by a local law firm, but her dreams of an academic career never left her and a year and a half later she returned to the University of Southern Queensland to start her PhD.

She now teaches legal history at the Toowoomba campus and has published a book, A Legal History for Australia, alongside Associate Professor Libby Connors and Associate Professor Marcus Harmes.

“We sent the manuscript in January and it was published the day before my graduation last week, which was very exciting,” she said.

“After years as a student, it was nice to make the crossover into staff. Some of my lecturers became colleagues.

“From both positions I’ve been able to watch the law school grow – it’s now the second largest in Queensland by numbers.

“I would certainly recommend it to those looking to study, the small class sizes and experienced lecturers have helped me to get to where I am today.”

For more information visit the School of Law and Justice.

woman sitting at table
Last week shaped up to be a big one for University of Southern Queensland law lecturer Dr Sarah McKibbin.