UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture is now 100K alumni strong. We spoke with some of our alumni who are making the world a better place. Here are their stories.

A foot in two worlds

Growing up in the Northern Beaches of Sydney as a “half Iranian, half white Australian”, and often the only “vaguely brown” girl in the classroom. Maya lived with the constant feeling she had a foot in two worlds, unable to penetrate either space. Her mother’s family fled Iran as refugees, instilling in her an appreciation for how cultures intersect, a deep-rooted sense of justice and a desire to uplift alienated voices.

Maya knew that she wanted to use her lived experience and passion for social justice to make a positive change. Using this to guide her career path she discovered UNSW’s double degree program, Bachelor of Media Communications and Bachelor of International Studies and leapt at the opportunity to experience a year-long international exchange.


School of Art & Media


Bachelor of Media Communications (Journalism), Bachelor of International Studies 2021

Current Title

Freelance Writer, former Lifestyle Writer at Time Out Sydney

Image Credit: Provided by Maya Skidmore – Maya Graduating during the Pandemic
The intersection of international studies, with a year-long exchange, married with journalism, spoke to everything I love in life – telling stories.

Studies at home and abroad

Maya describes UNSW as an inviting and inclusive space that allowed her to explore ideas and new experiences over her five years of study. She credits her impactful education to her educators like Dr Emma Jane and Dr Na'ama Carlin, who introduced her to diverse cultures and knowledge. UNSW pushed and nourished Maya's writing capabilities. "The Hard News class was one of the most helpful and challenging subjects for me,” she says. “People think it's easy to interview and create a snappy news story, but it's not. Starting off as an early career journalist, all those skills I learnt constantly came back."

But it wasn't all about textbooks and lectures, UNSW was a place where academia was mixed with a generous dose of fun and innovation. "It's a place of possibility; you can do whatever you want, and there's always a niche for you," says Maya. For example, her friend established the university's first yoyo society, YoSoc. It's this kind of creative freedom UNSW offered that added to its charm.

However, what holds a special place in Maya's heart is the languages department at UNSW, where she learnt French, which allowed her to experience the transformative year she spent in Lyon, France, as part of a degree-integrated exchange program. This experience allowed her to travel extensively, forge connections with people from various walks of life, and immerse herself in a different culture.

“It made me appreciate the diversity in life, that different people can come together at the same time and be respected."   
Image Source: Image provided by Maya Skidmore - Maya with fellow students

Journalism isn’t dead

Whilst Maya only graduated in 2021, she has already seen immense change in the media industry. "When I was at university, TikTok was a vague little whisper; now it's a major tool in different media organisations. Pieces to camera are suddenly central to the news again. Media is constantly changing, so as a journalist, you've got to be a social media creator, a writer and a researcher. Suddenly, all the hats need to be worn. Many new platforms are going to come through. Threads just launched, and that will bring adaptions too."

While familiar with the arguments about journalism being a dying industry, Maya takes a less cynical approach to the future. She envisions journalism remaining accessible to a broader audience and continuing to play a vital role in providing reliable information.

“There is the constant argument that people won’t want to read anymore, but there is, the more important, counter argument that people grow fatigued of clicking short-form content. The human brain is amazing and complex. Nothing is finite."
Image Source: Image provided by Maya Skidmore

Career in the making

Maya worked as a freelance writer throughout her studies, focusing on social issues such as the environment, human rights and gender equality. After graduating, she quickly landed a role at Time Out Sydney, starting as Sydney's Lifestyle Writer and eventually managing and editing the portfolio. Throughout her time at Time Out, she crafted compelling articles and videos showcasing contemporary Sydney's vibrancy without sacrificing the depth and substance of its rich history and culture. She has written pieces for outlets such as Refinery29 and featured in the top 30 entries in SBS's emerging writers' competition. Maya aims to produce accessible and informative writing that gets to the crux of an issue and helps people engage with important ideas. 

“I like to write in a way that is nuanced, measured and informed. Everyone deserves the right to know what is going on in the world and they have the right to make their minds up through factual journalism.”

Maya is now taking her writing to the Big Apple, hoping to live her Carrie Bradshaw fantasy to focus on the world of culture writing, politics and media content creation. “New York is a city of stories, with so much happening in terms of culture, Alicia Keys says it best.”- New York is a place where you can feel inspired and make your dreams a reality. 

Advice for students

Journalism is a fast-paced industry where the ability to adapt is crucial. But Maya says that shouldn't mean avoiding the challenge. Lean in! When Maya entered the media landscape, she wasn't fluent in social media and content creation. However, her experience at Time Out Sydney taught her the value in honing this skill. Every journalist is trying to manage landscape shifts successfully and is putting in significant effort to adapt.

Maya also has advice for those navigating the balance of respecting the facts of a story in a nuanced way while driving digital traffic. “Get the facts in the headline,” she says. Don’t get too lost in the clickbait aspect of it. I'm always trying to dance between the two.

Celebrating 100K Alumni

Join us in celebrating the achievements of UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture alumni like Maya.
Learn about the evolution of UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture and meet the UNSW ADA Alumni who are making the world a better place.