USC sets wheels in motion for bike shop manager’s new career - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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USC sets wheels in motion for bike shop manager’s new career

20 Oct 2020

When Matthew McCurdy finished high school on Phillip Island 17 years ago, the competitive cyclist completed a biochemistry degree, achieved success in team-racing human-powered vehicles and worked for 10 years in bike shop sales and management.

But he left behind one ambition.

“I’d always loved maths and science and thought teaching would be the perfect avenue to embrace that passion, but I didn’t have the confidence to pursue it straight out of school,” he said.

Mr McCurdy, 35, is now the new science and maths teacher at Warwick State High School, after recently graduating from USC and earning a University Medal for his excellent grade point average of 6.88 out of 7.

He, his wife and two young children have embraced regional life in Warwick after moving from the Sunshine Coast where he completed his combined degree in Secondary Education and Science, majoring in Mathematics.

“I enrolled at USC because I wanted to be able to look back on my life and be proud of my career and the people I helped,” said the former Landsborough resident.

“I felt my life skills and maturity would set me up to come back to tertiary education as a mature-aged student and make the most of all of my opportunities.”

Mr McCurdy said teaching was rewarding and challenging, and he particularly enjoyed seeing students have “lightbulb moments” when he related the content to their own lives.

“One of my best experiences so far was helping a boy go from an E to a B in science.”

He said his USC degree had equipped him with a solid foundation of maths and science content, along with the skills to tailor learning to a range of classroom environments.

“Completing Advanced Reading in Mathematics in a one-on-one setting with Dr Aaron Weigand was a highlight,” he said.

“I also set up a maths tutoring group and supported Dr Margaret Marshman in a research project focused on engaging first-year student with maths subjects.

“Completing my final semester over Zoom (because of COVID-19 restrictions) was difficult but our small cohort of graduating teachers banded together and supported each other.

“In my final year I enrolled in the Queensland Government’s Teacher Education Centre of Excellence program, which was supported by USC and guaranteed me a permanent position in a regional location on graduation.”

Mr McCurdy, whose team won the Australian and International Pedal Prix in South Australia in 2011, plans to continue racing human-powered vehicles when opportunities arise. Most recently, his team won the 2019 Fraser Coast Technology Challenge charity race.

Applications are open to study at USC in 2021.

Graduate Matthew McCurdy at Warwick State High School

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