Perfect grades help Maccas manager flip career to scientist | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Perfect grades help Maccas manager flip career to scientist

A former full-time McDonald’s manager seeking a change of direction now has a career in human clinical trials after gaining perfect grades during a University of the Sunshine Coast degree.

Jessika Acutt, 27, officially received a degree in Biomedical Science at the UniSC Moreton Bay graduation ceremony on Thursday 4 April – along with a University Medal for a grade point average of 7 out of 7 and a Student Leadership Award for her involvement in the university community.

After three years of study at the campus at Petrie, the Moreton Bay resident now works as an associate with the Morayfield UniSC Clinical Trials Centre.

“I’m essentially a trainee clinical trials coordinator, learning how to run trials from start up to close out,” Jessika said.

“The centre specialises in first-in-human or phase one trials, and the work we do supports the advancement of pharmaceuticals and devices globally.”

'I was acutely aware that my degree would be the key to my future working life so I decided to commit myself 100 percent' - Biomedical Science graduate Jessika Acutt
Bachelor of Biomedical Science

Gain a comprehensive understanding of how the human body works and what happens when diseases, infections and clinical disorders occur.

The Hervey Bay State High School graduate, who worked for years at McDonald’s from age 15, gained her new job after taking the opportunity to do a student placement with UniSC Clinical Trials during her degree.

“I’d previously completed two years of a nursing degree with another university before deciding it wasn’t the path for me, however, I really liked the science aspect,” she said.

“I knew I wanted to study courses such as anatomy, genetics, pharmacology and molecular biology, so biomedical science was a natural choice.”

Jessika moved to the Moreton Bay region to study at UniSC, particularly enjoying the flexible learning approach which enabled students to revisit concepts via technology.

“My study experience was rewarding and with my passion for the field came dedication – I spent all my time studying and completing research projects,” she said.

“I think that success is tied to hard work. Through competition and striving to meet KPIs, McDonald’s taught me how to continually strive for improvement.

“When I made the change from working full time to studying full time, I was acutely aware that my degree would be the key to my future working life so I decided to commit myself 100 percent.

“I was determined to finish this degree and do as well as I could. I didn’t think I would achieve 7s throughout the entire three years so I told myself I would be happy with my final grade as long as I had given it my all.”

Medallist Jessika Acutt at the UniSC Moreton Bay graduation ceremony

Jessika, who presented a graduate address at the ceremony, said she appreciated the perks of studying at such a new campus.

“I liked that they opened empty classrooms to study in if required. My classmates and I would often use the big screens when reviewing posters, and sometimes even the auditorium to stream lecture content!”

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