Published on 2 October 2014
New Bachelor of Communication graduate and new mum Jenna Harding was awarded a University Medal for academic excellence at the University of the Sunshine Coast graduation ceremony this morning.
The Maroochydore 28-year-old walked across the stage at the Faculty of Arts and Business ceremony before a crowd including her loved ones cradling her seven-week-old daughter, Willow.
Ms Harding, who was pregnant throughout her final semester, achieved a grade point average of 6.8 out of a possible 7.
“I kept my eyes on the prize,” she said. “I was determined to get the degree done in time. I had a lot of help from teaching staff and other support from the University.”
She said receiving the medal was an honour. “It’s lovely to be recognised for the hard work.”
Ms Harding, who graduated from Mountain Creek State High School in 2003, said USC provided the flexibility she needed while juggling study with work in client services at Comlink Mobility, Birtinya.
“I’m a massive advocate for USC because it’s such a supportive environment with wonderful tutors and lecturers, especially in my favourite Creative Writing courses,” she said.
“There are so many resources available and I asked a lot of questions, but people were always happy to oblige.
“I found it so inspiring and, having spent some time at city universities, I really like USC’s nice community vibe.”
Ms Harding spoke highly of the support networks at USC when she delivered the Graduate Response speech at the end of this morning’s ceremony.
The former manager of a natural therapies centre will contemplate her next steps – including plans to write a book and study Honours – after settling into motherhood.
— Julie Schomberg