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Perfect planning puts Bethany back in Bundaberg

17 May 2018

A university internship at Bundaberg Regional Council has evolved into a job as one of the city’s strategic planners for new USC graduate Bethany Williams-Holthouse.

The keen horse rider was completing a final-year thesis on water management of horse properties in rural Childers during the work-integrated placement when she gained a full-time position as a strategic planning officer with the council.

Bethany, 23, a former Isis District High School senior, received a Faculty Medal for academic excellence when she graduated recently from USC with a Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning (Honours).

“My study and placements allowed me to graduate with work-ready skills, helping greatly to prepare me for the transition from student to planner,” said Bethany, whose new role includes helping to implement the city’s region planning scheme.

USC’s Regional and Urban Planning (Honours) degree is accredited by the Planning Institute Australia and designed so students develop professional skills through placements at regional councils, planning consultancies and State Government department.

While being mentored by planning practitioners, students work on projects that include community urban design, planning green field subdivisions and preparing strategic plans to support future community initiatives.

Bethany grew up on the Sunshine Coast before moving to Childers and completing Year 11 and 12 at Isis District State High School. Having returned to the Bundaberg district after her university study, she now plays for the city’s Across the Waves club in Wide Bay women’s leagues in both AFL and rugby league.

She said hard work and good time management were some of the tools she used to achieve an impressive grade point average of 6.82 out of a possible 7 while completing the four-year degree.

“It is also important to set a goal of what you would like to achieve, which helps to maintain motivation,” she said.

While an undergraduate, she received an inaugural Sunshine Coast Council Award for Excellence in Cultural Heritage Research for generating original research on Indigenous cultural heritage protection in Montville.

Bethany aims to eventually return to USC to complete a PhD in cultural heritage planning. “I generally aim to work hard and take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way, continuing to enjoy what I do,” she said.

Applications are now open for mid-year entry to study at USC, with Semester 2 starting on 23 July. USC’s annual Open Day will be held at its Fraser Coast campus on Saturday 23 June and at its Sunshine Coast campus on Sunday 22 July.

- Clare McKay

USC graduate Bethany Williams-Holthouse

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