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Top medal for aspiring psychologist as 800 graduate from Coast campus

11 Apr 2023

A Nambour student who earned a perfect score for her Psychology Honours degree while volunteering and working for multiple mental health services has graduated with the University of the Sunshine Coast’s highest award.

Rebekah Belte, 27, recieved the Chancellor’s Medal at one of seven UniSC graduation ceremonies on campus at Sippy Downs from Wednesday 12 April to Friday 14 April.

More than 800 people were set to graduate in front of 3,000 cheering guests at UniSC Arena over three days.

“I want to be a clinical psychologist to help make a difference to people in their darkest moments,” said Rebekah, whose thesis in collaboration with UniSC’s Thompson Institute examined psychological distress in adolescents.

The Mountain Creek State High School 2012 graduate, who achieved a UniSC grade point average of 7 out of 7, is now continuing to study, work and serve the community.

Chancellor Sir Angus Houston, who presented the award, said Rebekah’s commitment to both her academic pursuits and the wider community was remarkable and contributed to her gaining the award.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett, who addressed the University’s 2023 graduates, praised their resilience and determination to succeed after the pandemic restrictions of 2020 changed the wider study landscape.

“The achievements of this cohort are tremendous, with the results reflected not only at this week’s ceremonies but also in the Student Experience Surveys from 2020 and 2021, which ranked UniSC first in Queensland among public universities for student satisfaction,” Professor Bartlett said.

“We are focused on becoming Australia’s most relevant university through teaching and research that creates significant and positive impacts for our regions, and we are continuing to work in partnership with our students to achieve this.”

Rebekah Belte, who completed her undergraduate degree at UniSC, said she took a break after school because she was unsure of her direction or strengths and feared making mistakes.

“I knew I wanted to help people and have an impact, so I timidly decided to study psychology. In my first few weeks at UniSC, I knew I was finally in the right field working towards my purpose,” Rebekah said.

She was offered a paid position at Sunshine Coast Psychology Clinic after voluntarily facilitating workshops to help young girls develop social and emotional skills.

In addition to that job, she also now works as a research assistant with UniSC’s Road Safety Research Collaboration and a psychosocial trauma recovery coach at Real Life Skills.

She trained at Lifeline to become a crisis support worker and volunteered at a local soup kitchen and a shelter for women and children.

The president of UniSC’s Psychology Club, she last year received a Graduate Women Queensland Bursary and the Australian Psychological Society Prize (one student selected from each university).


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