27 September 2018
USC Psychology student Helen Hall will receive the prestigious Chancellor’s Medal at her graduation ceremony on Friday 28 September for her research into the growing epidemic of parental loneliness and for her extensive volunteer work to help alleviate it.
She will graduate with a Bachelor of Psychology with First Class Honours after doing research into the risk factors and impact of loneliness, which can carry a greater risk of death than obesity.
Helen said she was excited to be chosen for the award, which recognises high academic achievement and outstanding contributions to USC and the local community, and to have the honour of delivering the graduate address on behalf of her fellow students.
She will be cheered on by her husband and four children, as well as friends from her university journey, as she crosses the graduation stage to collect her medal from USC Chancellor Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC.
During her degree, Helen was active in a range of volunteer community roles, including running a Friday afternoon children’s club in Nambour to give local mothers a chance to connect and take a breather, and to mentor teenagers on their life journeys.
She served on the board at the community radio station Salt 106.5 FM, and Neighbours Aid Community Stores, promoting the charity while running the 2015 Gold Coast half-marathon.
Helen has travelled to Malawi and Kenya to support local women and aid projects, and founded the annual ‘Live, Love, Laugh’ conference, which is now in its 10th year of encouraging and inspiring Sunshine Coast women.
She also represented the USC Golden Key Society chapter at the International Scholar Laureate Medicine and Health Delegation in China, where she met students from all over the world.
Helen said her decision to study psychology was sparked by work she had done with an international aid organisation and in supporting local youths.
She praised USC’s psychology academics for making her study experience enjoyable and worthwhile.
“I couldn’t have achieved what I have, without the support I’ve had,” she said, also recognising the contribution of her family, fellow students and church community. “It’s been an amazing journey.”
Helen is now working at the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute to further develop the research from her Honours project.
- Gail Champion