Brenna and Bronte Petrolo, pictured in their graduation gowns. Photo: Mark Newsham

Graduation a family affair for Bronte

Graduation a family affair for Bronte

Sisters Bronte and Brenna Petrolo graduate on the same day

When Bronte Petrolo was choosing a place to study, the University of Wollongong (UOW) was a natural choice.

“My whole family has studied at the University of Wollongong. My mum has a Bachelor of Primary Education, dad studied electrical engineering, my brother studied materials engineering and my sister will be graduating on the same day as me with a degree in primary education,” Bronte said.

Bronte, who celebrated her graduation on Tuesday (3 May) with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Sociology) graduating with First Class Honours and graduated in 2020 with a distinction in a Bachelor of Arts (Dean’s Scholar) (International Relations and Sociology), credits her parents with instilling a strong value for education.

“Mum and Dad just taught us to make the most of every opportunity,” she said.

“They taught us that studying is not necessarily about scoring the highest marks, but that working hard will bring its own rewards.”

After COVID delayed graduation ceremonies for two years, Bronte’s sister Brenna will be donning a cap and gown on the same day.

“We’re planning a family day trip down the track to celebrate. It’s really special that our whole family can celebrate together.”

 Brenna and Bronte Petrolo, both pictured in their graduation gowns, with their families. Photo: Mark Newsham

Bronte and Brenna Petrolo with their family on graduation day. 

Family was also a key theme of Bronte’s studies with her honours year independent research project focussing on family relationships.

I really connected with the sociology of emotions study subjects.  

“I'm very passionate about the private domestic elements of sociology, studies of family and gender. It really played to my strengths and my interests.

“I had a lot of support from my supervisor, Associate Professor Roger Patulny, especially during COVID when I was studying in my room most days.”

UOW’s campus life has been a highlight of Bronte’s university experience.

If you can come on campus and network with other students and make friends it really enhances the university experience.

“Making friendships that will last outside the classroom has been a highlight of my time here.”

“I completed a lot of volunteering and co-curricular activities within my studies which led me to graduate with a UOWx Award for my significant co-curricular involvement. I also worked in casual paid roles with UOW. It is a great way to network and make friends!”

Bronte is now working in the Student Career Development Learning Team at UOW and considering studying a PhD later in the year.