Accident leads to career rethink for Kilkivan mother - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Accident leads to career rethink for Kilkivan mother

22 Jul 2019

A serious car accident forced Loretta Wilkinson to make some major life changes – setting the Kilkivan mother-of-four on the path to USC’s Gympie campus and a career in accounting.

The 37-year-old was recently acknowledged for achieving outstanding results in USC’s Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting/Management) with a bursary from Graduate Women Queensland Inc. Sunshine Coast Branch.

Valued at $1,500, the bursary aims to help the advancement of women through education.

“My husband and I were running a cleaning business, which we started in 2012, when a car accident left him with a permanent injury,” said Mrs Wilkinson, who lives 50km west of Gympie.

“We had to scale back our business and I started considering what alternatives I could pursue,” she said.

“Being an accountant was a goal of mine that started in junior high school when I was 14, so a return to university seemed like a suitable pursuit.”

Not wanting to study online and with USC Gympie offering her chosen degree, she enrolled at the campus in 2017, and is maintaining near perfect results, with a grade point average (GPA) of 6.89 out of a possible 7.

Her impressive GPA allowed her to meet the criteria of the Graduate Women Queensland bursary, awarded to high achieving female students enrolled full-time or part-time in the second, third or fourth year (including Honours) of their first undergraduate degree.

Mrs Wilkinson was one of four USC students to receive the bursary in 2019, which was presented at a special ceremony at the USC Innovation Centre earlier this month.

The bursary, which was also assessed on financial need, came at an opportune time for Mrs Wilkinson.

“We have had to close our business completely in January this year due to further failing health,” she said.

“The bursary will assist with my studies by helping to keep the bills paid, including the car registration, which without I would not be able to attend university.”

Mrs Wilkinson was also successful in gaining a H&R Block regional scholarship this year to complete a 16-week income tax course, which led to a casual contract for the tax season.

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