Published on 12 February 2016
A University of the Sunshine Coast graduand from Bundaberg has returned to the Wide Bay Burnett region to start her career helping children with a disability.
Rachael Anderson, 21, recently completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and began work last month as an occupational therapist with the Department of Education and Training – State Schools in Maryborough.
The former Shalom College student will interact with children, teachers and parents at a number of schools to help students with a disability participate in their everyday school life.
Rachael, whose study was assisted by a $6,000 Vice-Chancellor’s Merit Scholarship and $40,000 Undergraduate Scholarship from the Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health, is passionate about regional communities having access to the same health services that are available in metropolitan areas.
“It’s really important that regional areas have as many health inputs as they can, including occupational therapy and other allied health services, so I’m really happy to be contributing to that in my new position,” Rachael said.
“I’ll be working with children with a variety of disabilities with needs ranging from mild to complex to ensure access to the school curriculum and to support their school experience.”
Rachael’s interest in occupational therapy was piqued through an online career quiz in Year 12 and completing work experience in Bundaberg. After travelling to a USC Open Day and finding out more about the University, Rachael said she was sold on the career path.
“The biggest thing that appealed to me was that I wouldn’t just be helping people, but enabling other people to help themselves,” she said. “I was able to talk to the USC lecturers and found the campus atmosphere really warm and welcoming.
“I loved that we got into practical work in the first semester of our first year. My first placement was actually at a special school, which probably started my interest in the kind of work I’m doing now.
Rachael recently won a Student Diligence Award from Occupational Therapy Australia for her commitment to developing as a professional, which included undertaking additional practice experiences and volunteering in special education programs.
For details about studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast, including at its new Fraser Coast campus, visit www.usc.edu.au/learn
— Gen Kennedy