Shakti Srikanth

Graduated: 2013

Current Role: Pro Bono Lawyer

Did you always aspire to be in the job position you currently hold?

Yes! For as long as I can remember I wanted to work in the human rights and social justice sector. I was involved in a lot of social justice initiatives and volunteering in high school, and this passion only grew at university. But despite this interest, I ended up following most of peers into private law and completed a clerkship (a legal internship) before working as a junior corporate lawyer at an international law firm. Every law firm has a pro bono practice, so I tried to get involved in as much pro bono work as I could, particularly across the domestic violence and refugee/asylum seeker clinic and reform space. As soon as I saw that a national law firm was hiring a pro bono lawyer, I took a 'leap of faith' and applied. I feel extremely lucky to be working in a job that is fulfilling, and where I feel like I am making – even a small difference – to someone's life.

What have you done since leaving CTHS?

After leaving CTHS, I studied a double degree of Law and Arts (English and Economics) at UNSW. Notably, I went on an exchange program through the university to Gulu, Uganda. We were paired with local university students and conducted field work over a four-week period. When I think about Uganda now, I am immediately transported to the back of a dusty 4WD going 50km/hr through dense bush, (places I do not even think Sir David Attenborough has traversed). It was such a wild experience! I also completed an experiential learning clinic in Goa, India on child rights. It was great to learn from my Indian peers, collaborate on a project to protect and strengthen child rights in Goa and help foster a relationship between our university and theirs. The clinic also reminded me how lucky we are to live in a country with a strong justice system.

Please share some words of wisdom for today's students… 

You will really excel and get the most out of university if you choose a degree or area of study that you enjoy. The skills you will learn throughout your degree(s) are transferrable. I also think that employers value students with diverse backgrounds and interests, as your approach to a task or critical thinking can vary greatly depending on what you studied. Secondly, you should not feel pressured to find 'the right fit' (i.e., degree) straight away. I changed my degree three times! And finally, I settled on an Arts degree and English major because that was my favourite subject in high school.

Any shoutouts to a special teacher or subject you think really helped? 

All my teachers (and CTHS) really laid the foundations for my university studies and career. A special shoutout to my year 12 teachers – Ms Cross, Ms Stark, Mr Henry, Mr Brennan, Mr Khan and Mr Clements.