The Dean is responsible for overseeing the daily management of all aspects college life, supporting both the students and residential staff in making sure the college is safe, enjoyable and all-inclusive.

Michael Patoka


I’m a husband and father of 3 young children and I’ve been working in student housing for over a decade in Sydney and London.

I grew up just over the hill in Coogee and completed my Masters at UNSW, so when I joined Colombo House it really felt like I was coming home.

As Dean, I get to be a part of the academic and personal journey of the students who live here. Colombo House is a college that celebrates diversity, maturity and independence and I look forward to having a chat with you when you arrive!

What cheers you up?

The ocean breeze and the first sensation of jumping into water.

What was the last picture you took on your phone?

My weekend cook up of pizza waffles… delicious!

What’s something you’ve been really proud of lately?

My daughter starting school.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

My grandfather. I was named after him, but never got the chance to meet him.

How do you spend your free time?

Once a week I love to go for a kayak on Sydney Harbour. I love the water!

The Deputy Dean is typically in their final year of study or already holding a degree. They have the same function as a Resident Fellow and assist the Dean in administration and discipline matters.

Laura Kenny

Deputy Dean

I’m Laura Kenny, from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and currently finishing my Law Degree at UNSW. Across my double degree at UNSW, I have been deeply involved in student life from Yellow Shirts, to the Revues, to Sports and now in College. For much of my time at UNSW I have been working at Arc @ UNSW and become run student programs and events on campus.

I have a performing arts background, having spent my high school and university years on stage in plays, musicals, comedy shows and choirs and am passionate about students using their time at College to find their niche and explore their passions.

The most enjoyable part of my role is being able to be in such a close working relationship to so many students and helping them to facilitate their ambitions. It’s such a fun role seeing the full social, sport, cooking, arts, charity events and more. I love seeing all of our many students interact with each other and learn about all of our different cultures.

What 3 words describe Colombo House?

Fun. Diversity. Connected.

Who would you pick as your mentor (living or dead)?

Michelle Obama. Balancing intelligence and hard work with humility and a loving family life. Also is pen-pals with Beyoncé, how can you go wrong?

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would LOVE to be fluent in a tonne of language - Italian, German, French and Spanish.

Favourite flavour of ice-cream?

Vanilla bean. I’m a sucker for a classic.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

Ilana from Broad City, what a woman

Resident Assistants

Resident Assistants (RAs) are assigned to each floor of Colombo House. They’re volunteer senior student leaders whose role is to make sure each and every student has access to any support they may need. The RA team works closely with the Deputy Dean and Dean, ensuring the pastoral care of all residents is of the highest quality.