Published on 25 May 2016
A desire to effect social change in her hinterland community and to improve the health of people across the Sunshine Coast motivated former banking boss Gillian Hall’s recent graduation from the University of the Sunshine Coast.
With a grade point average of 6.44 out of 7, the Dulong resident was awarded a Faculty Commendation for academic excellence when she received her Bachelor of Social Science at a ceremony on campus at Sippy Downs last month.
Ms Hall, 55, is now studying Honours at USC while leading Dulong Futures, a group addressing issues such as health access, ageing population and public transport services in her community near Mapleton.
“I founded this community group a year ago, in the last year of my University degree, so I could apply what I had learnt,” she said.
Ms Hall is a health and community advocate with the Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network, and during her studies was a housing facilitator with the Graceville Lutheran Community Care Centre at Nambour and a research officer for the Endeavour Foundation, managing a caseload of about 70 people in supported accommodation.
In her Graduate Response delivered to hundreds of people in the audience at the USC ceremony, the former assistant branch manager with ANZ Bank explained her decision to return to study after juggling family commitments and a management career.
“As a social sciences graduate, I have gained a deep understanding about why this field is so important,” she said.
“Part of my role is to critically examine society and address problems such as inequality and poverty. This knowledge has opened my eyes to issues in our own region and led me to work for social change in my local community and in the health sector.”
— Julie Schomberg