25 June 2015
A former hotel food and beverage manager has launched a new career in the health sector with a University of the Sunshine Coast degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Nina Meloncelli is an Accredited Practising Dietitian at Nambour General Hospital after a successful work placement before she graduated in April with First Class Honours and a University Medal for a grade point average of 6.96 out of 7.
The Mons resident is the third member of the high-achieving Meloncelli family to undertake research at USC.
Nina, whose Honours project focused on the nutritional quality of children’s food in Australia, said she was delighted with her success.
“I’d first thought of becoming a dietitian when I got gestational diabetes while pregnant with my daughter seven years ago and realised the importance of lifestyle factors such as nutrition,” said the 34-year-old.
“I think being a mature-age student at USC has worked to my benefit; having that outlook on life has helped me when dealing with people’s health.
“Now I work at the hospital with medical patients; people with gastrointestinal disorders or cancer or respiratory disease. I’m gathering as much experience as I can and, ultimately, I’d like to come back and do a PhD.”
That’s exactly what her husband Danny Meloncelli is doing. A former chef, Danny started a PhD in Analytical Chemistry after winning a USC Chancellor’s Medal last year as he graduated with Honours First Class in Science.
Danny’s research aims to identify the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of honey.
Meanwhile Danny’s sister, Shannyn Meloncelli, is studying a Master of Science, exploring the day-to-day support needs and coping strategies of mothers with rheumatoid arthritis.
“I hope to ensure mothers are better informed and have greater support when managing chronic health issues alongside parenting, so they not only survive but thrive,” Shannyn said.
The Meloncelli siblings are members of USC’s Inflammation and Healing Research Cluster.
— Julie Schomberg