Brother and sister graduates boost health of workforce and environment - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Brother and sister graduates boost health of workforce and environment

18 Jun 2020

Two Burpengary East siblings who graduated from USC this year are focused on improving Queensland life in two dynamic but very different areas: workplace injury rehabilitation and farmland agronomy for water catchment quality.

Leah Griffin, 22, gained a University Commendation for a grade point average of 6.39 out of a possible 7 during her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours).

She now works in occupational rehabilitation for a provider with offices across Queensland.

“My role involves helping people who have sustained work-related injuries get back to work,” she said. “I also assist with injury prevention, and with making home life easier following accidents.”

Her 25-year-old brother Luke Griffin gained a University Commendation for a grade point average of 6.29 during his Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours).

He has moved to Bundaberg to become a research agronomist at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

“My position contributes to the Great Barrier Reef water quality improvement program and involves working with farmers in the Burnett-Mary catchment to improve agriculturally influenced water quality through agronomic efficiencies,” Luke said.

The Morayfield State High School graduates chose to study at USC Sunshine Coast because of the study options, the size and atmosphere of its campus, and the beach lifestyle.

“USC’s size allowed me to know everyone in my degree as well as the tutors and lecturers,” said Leah.

“I chose Occupational Therapy (OT) because I wanted to work in the health industry to help people. Completing external placements put theory into practice, and I gained great insights through the fourth-year OT student mentoring program.

“I enjoy helping people get back to their roles and pre-injury lives. Working is a fundamental need and when this is disrupted, people can feel lost. I like offering hope and support and working closely with employers, doctors and others involved in treatment.”

Luke said Environmental Science suited his passion for nature and the USC Activate outdoor social club introduced him to friends from all over the world.

“I studied this degree to better understand how we can ensure balance between the natural world and the increasing impacts of humans, and the field trips to spectacular Fraser Island were highlights,” he said.

“The degree provided a broad scientific foundation for skills that are crucial in my current role at DAF, which is hands-on and diverse.

“Studying at USC also opened up connections which led to furthering my interest in this research area and applying for this job.”

Luke said he was now conducting on-farm research and demonstration trials to understand where improvements in farming system efficiencies could be made.

“The aim is to minimise nutrient, sediment and agrichemical losses off farms and into the surrounding environment, local waterways and ultimately the Great Barrier Reef lagoon,” he said.

“I am constantly learning. Working in a dynamic environment like a farm has challenges but is also rewarding when you manage to pull everything together to get the desired outcomes. The farmers have a lot of great knowledge to share.”

QTAC applications are open to study at USC in Semester 2 this year. For more information about studying at USC, go to www.usc.edu.au/study.

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