Perfect GPA points Alistair to brain research project - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Perfect GPA points Alistair to brain research project

22 May 2019

A maths major who coded his own games on his first computer in the 1980s scored a perfect grade point average of 7 out of 7 when he recently graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Science.

Alistair Kerr, who received a University Medal for his academic achievement, is now contributing to brain research as he studies an Honours degree in Science at USC’s Thompson Institute. He also works as a mentor to Indigenous students and tutors in physics at USC.

“My interest in IT began when my family got its first computer, a Microbee 64K, in the 1980s and I taught myself BASIC (an early programming language) to create small choose-your-own-adventure games,” said Alistair, 43, of Montville.

“It further developed in the summer break after Year 10 when I taught myself Turbo Pascal (a software system) from books and practice because I did not have internet access.”

Alistair gained an OP1 from Burnside State High School and topped his Maths II class. In 1998, with an IT degree from QUT, his career in software engineering took off.

He worked for companies such as The Aeronautical Design Service on the Sunshine Coast and in Bundaberg, where he developed automated software testing for light aircraft certification.

Alistair returned to study a few years ago to explore a lifelong love of mathematics and find other ways of contributing to society.

“Studying at USC allowed me to pursue my academic goals while living in an environment I love,” he said.

He joined the ‘Mathematicians of USC’ and a social chess club and enjoyed lectures and one-on-one interactions with maths lecturers such as Dr Aaron Wiegand and Dr Robert McDougall, who gave valuable feedback.

“My ultimate career goal would be to make a useful contribution, no matter how big or small, in humanity’s quest for the stars – or planets,” Alistair said.

Alistair’s current research is part of the Longitudinal Adolescent Brain Study (LABS), a five-year project monitoring changes in the brains of participants aged 12 to 18, using regular brain imaging and neurocognitive assessments.

Based at USC’s Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience Thompson Institute at Birtinya, the study aims to understand the factors affecting the mental health of young people and develop evidence-based youth mental health programs.

He is supervised by Senior Research Fellow Dr Kathryn Broadhouse and Dr Aaron Wiegand.

Science graduate and University Medallist Alistair Kerr

Related articles

Top honour for graduate who ignored advice she shouldn’t go to uni
12 Apr

Told she wasn’t “university material” in high school, Belgium-born Liesbeth Borburgh never anticipated more than a decade later she would receive the highest academic honour for a graduating student from a university on the other side of the world.

Graduating dad opts to sit with kids – to watch mum cross the stage instead
10 Apr

Only one of them will cross the stage at a University of the Sunshine Coast graduation ceremony this week but husband and wife graduating students Clayton and Lisa James wouldn’t have it any other way

Fireworks in the sky, chaos in the mind
29 Jun

Percy would have felt rattled every time a firework erupted in the sky above.

Contact: media@usc.edu.au

Name Position Email Phone
Janelle Kirkland Media Manager (Acting) jkirklan@usc.edu.au +61 7 5459 4553
Clare McKay Media Relations Coordinator cmckay@usc.edu.au +61 7 5456 5669

Search results for Recent news