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WIN TV reporter graduates with double degree

Vanessa Lam

15 October 2015: For WIN News television reporter Jelisa Apps achieving her long-time goal of graduating from the University of Canberra was a bitter-sweet affair.

The 25-year-old graduated with a double degree of a Bachelor of Journalism/Bachelor of Laws just weeks after losing her grandmother to cancer. Her grandmother's passing followed her grandfather's death less than two years ago.

Ms Apps said that whilst happy to have graduated from the University, the ceremony was filled with mixed emotions.

"My grandparents raised me and they were always so encouraging and pushed me to achieve. I couldn't have got where I am today without them. Unfortunately they both got cancer at the same time two years ago and I began caring for them," Ms Apps said.

"My Pop passed away just ten weeks later. For two years, my Nan battled with so much courage and her one wish was to see me graduate "for Pop". Unfortunately she passed away just a few weeks ago. So graduating is kind of bittersweet."

The Booroowa-born graduate said the University had been very supportive and flexible during her family struggles.

"Caring for my Nan and Pop was difficult at times when I was trying to finish my double degree. Often I would have to quickly take my Nan to treatment in Sydney at very little notice and not knowing how long I would be there for," she said.

"But the flexible style of many of my classes meant I didn't have to miss out on being able to finish my studies. I was able to do much of my learning online and spend time back home. This meant so much to me because I could spend precious time with them while still achieving my goal and my grandparent's goal of finishing my degrees."

Ms Apps said that she enjoyed her time at the University and it gave her many great opportunities including getting to meet former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

"The greatest moment for me was getting to meet former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and speak to her about access to higher education when she visited UC. It was so surreal for me to go from being from a small country town to be sitting with our PM," she said.

Ms Apps is currently living her dream working as an on-air reporter for WIN News in the Canberra bureau.

"I love telling stories which are engaging and which both educate and entertain viewers. There are so many important and worthwhile stories to be told and I love having the opportunity to tell them," Ms Apps said.

Ms Apps completed an internship with WIN News Canberra in 2012 as part of her degree and did some casual work before landing full time work upon finishing her degrees. She said she loved the practical aspects of both her degrees.

"The hands-on approach to learning really suited my style and better prepared me for the workplace," she said.

"In my journalism degree we often practiced working on television, which gave me a great head start."  While, she said her law degree gave her a greater level of knowledge that comes in handy when doing many of her stories.