Dana Throssell - awaken an interest in gender security

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Dana Throssell completed a flexible double degree in International Security Studies and Asian Studies at the Australian National University

A passion for International Relations (IR) and a thoughtful conversation with her older sister were enough to decide that the Bachelor of International Security Studies (BINSS) and the Bachelor of Asian Studies (BAS) were the flawless combination for Dana Throssell’s next steps.

My sister mentioned that International Security was the ‘cool new brother’ to IR. Security appealed to my interest in learning about the transnational issues that our world faces. Asian Studies was the perfect pair to Security because it allowed me to study another language without doing linguistics and, thankfully, it turned out to be a very strategic choice.

Dana successfully completed her flexible double degree in Bachelor of International Security Studies (BINSS) and the Bachelor of Asian Studies (BAS) at The Australian National University. She is currently undertaking her final year of Honours in International Security at ANU.

If she has to name a favourite course among the two programs, she chooses ‘Australia and Security in the Pacific’ from her BINSS program. Dana highlights that the course differs greatly from some more conventional security subjects. “Because the course focuses on the Pacific, it was awesome to learn more about the region and the increasingly important non-traditional security sectors, such as gender security and environmental security,” she said.

She loved the course because it had an interactive learning component. She did an ongoing crisis simulation where students formed groups and played the parts of different key actors.

Through her degree, she had various marvellous experiences. She had the honour of going to Indonesia for a year as a New Colombo Plan Scholar (NCP), where she studied two semesters at different universities, and conducted field research for the first time, and wrote a thesis in Bahasa Indonesia.

Furthermore, she interned at the Indonesian Council in Jakarta for two months and at Mitra Wacana, a grassroots non-governmental organisation in Yogyakarta, for 3 months. Lastly, she travelled around East and Southeast Asia, attended conferences, and represented Australia at three forums in Thailand and Indonesia. Fascinating!

To complement her incredible journey at ANU, her double degree allowed her to study Indonesian as a major language and German as a minor. “It is something I would not have been able to do outside of a language’s degree. I also went on exchange to Indonesia for a year, which was invaluable to my language skills,” Dana states.

Dana was an ANU student ambassador for over two-and-a-half years. “I acted as a spokesperson for ANU to assist in furthering its image and reputation. The role focused on student recruitment. My primary duties involved conducting campus tours and offering tailored, comprehensive degree advice to prospective students and their families,” she explained.

She also worked with the College of Asia-Pacific Student Society at ANU as an Education Officer. “I supported the team organising exciting and relevant educational events such as forums, talks, panels and workshops for the ANU student community,” she says.

Dana is now working at The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the Project Manager for the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership (AASYP). “I am working with AASYP to develop the 'Break the Chain Project', which aims to bring together emerging youth leaders from around the region within the human trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery space.”

“I’m still not sure what comes in the future, but I want to work in the security sector, with a focus on gender security and how gender can affect larger transnational and national threats,” she concluded.