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Social causes high on agenda for Bay graduate

9 Oct 2019

Through her USC studies, Hervey Bay’s Katie Brown had opportunities to use her business and marketing skills to help others in need – now she plans to make this her life’s work.

The 22-year-old graduated recently from USC with a double degree in Business and Commerce (Accounting) and received a Medal for Academic Excellence for achieving a grade point average of 6.65 out of a possible 7.

“A business internship project and cultural immersion in Fiji to set up a homestay business for a local village really opened my eyes to how I could use my use my accounting, marketing, and financial planning skills to help people,” Katie said.

“I first wanted to study business and accounting because so much of our world revolves around business and they were subjects I really enjoyed learning about in school and excelled in,” she said.

“As I got further in my degree, I was inspired to do more. Managing money and resources is something that can make a big difference to people’s lives especially in low socio-economic areas or where financial literacy is not high.”

The former Xavier College student said she hoped other students from the Fraser Coast would find insights and motivation from her educational journey, which included being the first in her family to go to university.

“My parents only continued to Year 10 and my brothers did not go to university, so I too was a bit nervous to apply at first,” she said.

Katie took the opportunity to complete the first part of her degree at the home at USC Fraser Coast, before finishing the remainder at its Sunshine Coast campus.

It is a story she shared during visit to schools and information sessions while working as a USC student ambassador during her studies.

“Being able to inspire school students and other people that university really is for everyone, and is achievable, was a big highlight of my time at USC,” Katie said.

“I chose USC because I could stay at home a little longer and save, and I was attracted by the smaller class sizes and community feel of the campus.

“I loved being able to know everyone I was studying with. It allowed me more time with lecturers and tutors to understand the class content and excel in the assessment pieces.”

Katie said she maintained her high grades through “a lot of hard work, time, effort, and a few tears”, and with the support of her family and USC lecturers and tutors.

Of the skills she developed at university, she said problem-solving was the one she expected to find the most transferable across many jobs.

“My internships with the Sunshine Coast Council’s economic development team in the lead-up to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and in Fiji, also cemented that having experience working in a team environment was also very important.”

Katie plans to travel for the rest of the year, before finding a full-time role that could involve marketing for social causes or assisting people and organisations in low socio-economic areas with finance and resource management.

Applications are open to study at USC next year.

— Clare McKay

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