Lava graduated as a Social Worker at Charles Sturt University in 1997 and later completed a Masters of International Management in 2009 at Charles Darwin University. She has worked in a multitude of positions, as a counsellor, working with families and children as well as with refugees and asylum seekers. She has worked in a health setting as well as in the NGO sector. She also spent a few years in management before taking a position with the Northern Territory Council of Social Service in policy. Lava has been working with CSU since 2013. Lava grew up in Germany and came to Australia as an adult.