Mikaela speeds through USC science degree
29 Apr 2020
A former senior dux of Maryborough’s Riverside Christian College is fast-tracking her way to a career in the rapidly evolving field of molecular microbiology.
Mikaela Bell, 19, has completed a three-year Bachelor of Science degree at USC Sunshine Coast in just two years and, in the process, earned a University Medal for Academic Excellence for achieving a near-perfect grade point average of 6.91 out of 7.
She is now working towards her Science Honours through the individually tailored USC Science Deans Scholars program for high-achieving school leavers.
“Squeezing in extra subjects across four semesters and studying during the summer and winter breaks was full-on but worth it to be able to major in biotechnology, genetics and microbiology and wrap up my first degree so quickly,” Mikaela said.
“I also used the opportunity of studying in the summer breaks to conduct a research project and complete an industry placement with a molecular diagnostics company, which gave me great insights into both.”
While Mikaela is still deciding on her pathway as a scientist, the coronavirus outbreak has provided some inspiration for her future career.
“Molecular diagnostics or testing for infectious diseases is obviously very topical with the COVID-19 pandemic, and after doing an industry placement in this field, it is definitely something I am interested in after I complete Honours,” she said.
“This could potentially involve working as a research and development scientist or conducting PhD research to fill a knowledge gap in this area.”
Mikaela, who now lives at Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast, was the recipient of a prestigious $24,000 Thompson Excellence Scholarship from USC when she started her studies in 2018.
This scholarship was in recognition of her impressive academic achievements at high school, which included gaining an OP1.
Applications are open to study at USC, starting Semester 2.
— Clare McKay
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