Nutrition degree feeds graduate’s health career

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Nutrition degree feeds graduate’s health career

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Generic photo of USC campus.

5 April 2017

When Fiona Hegarty crosses the stage to receive her Bachelor of Nutrition at the USC Graduation Ceremony at 1pm tomorrow, Thursday 6 April, it will be a milestone in the 21-year-old’s burgeoning career in health.

“I found a real passion for the public health area and plan on studying a Master of Health Promotion at USC next semester, aiming to work in preventative health with a not-for-profit organisation or at a government level,” Fiona said.

She is already working as a nutritionist for national health food cooperative, Go Vita, and is starting a volunteering program with a disability services provider.

Fiona’s passion is certainly making her parents proud – her father is Kevin Hegarty, who leads the region’s public health services as Chief Executive of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service.

Mr Hegarty, also an adjunct academic at USC and on the board of its Clinical Trials Centre, said he was looking forward to seeing his eldest child graduate from the University.

Media are invited to the USC Graduation Ceremony at 1pm on Thursday 6 April at the Matthew Flinders College Performance Centre, Stringybark Road, Buderim.

Fiona, who achieved a grade point average of 6.5 out of 7, said she enjoyed studying alongside a diverse mix of students and staff on campus at Sippy Downs for four years and wanted to continue the experience with a postgraduate degree.

“I’d had close interaction with the University when I was at high school (Caloundra’s Unity College) and felt welcomed on campus,” said Fiona, who now lives at Toowong in Brisbane.

“USC was close to home and one of the few universities to offer my desired course. I want to break down the science of food and bring it back to basics. Food should be nutritious and enjoyable, not complicated, tedious or stressful.

“I loved the hands-on kitchen classes, including the opportunity to volunteer for Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food mobile kitchen in 2014. Combined with my electives relating to public health, this all sparked my current educational and career goals.”

Mr Hegarty and his wife Judy said they were delighted that all three of their children had decided to study at USC.

“They’re all immersed in the courses they have chosen, and seem to be particularly enjoying the internships and personal contact with lecturers who are really supportive,” Mrs Hegarty said.

Nicole Hegarty, 20, of Pelican Waters, is already experiencing work at ABC Sunshine Coast while in the final year of her Bachelor of Journalism. Her younger brother Tim has started a Bachelor of Business (Management).

— Julie Schomberg

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