17 April 2019
Hervey Bay’s Ella McGrath has embarked on a career devoted to improving outcomes for children with complexities such as autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and developmental delays.
The former Xavier Catholic College senior graduated this month from USC with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) and is working with the Children’s Therapy Centre, a not-for-profit private paediatric service for the Sunshine Coast, Gympie and Caboolture regions.
“My role involves working with children from birth to 18 years to help develop the skills they need to grow, flourish and be active participants in the activities of everyday life, such as making friends and independent self-care skills,” Ella said.
“The most rewarding aspect is being able to build special bonds with the children and their families,” she said.
“I absolutely love the energy and passion the children have, and when they set their minds to achieving something, there is usually no stopping them.”
The 21-year-old said her interest in a career in paediatrics and early intervention services began in high school, where she received a gold academic award and top-of-subject awards for health studies and hospitality in Year 12 in 2014.
“Throughout high school I regularly babysat children and I worked in childcare as a school-aged care educator throughout my degree,” Ella said.
“I had the option of going to university in Brisbane but after growing up in a small coastal town, the laidback, relaxed feel of the Sunshine Coast was much more attractive to me than the hustle and bustle of city life, making USC the perfect fit for me.”
She was also sold on the practical side of USC’s Occupational Therapy degree, which included 1,000 hours of fieldwork to build professional skills and clinical experience in a wide range of settings.
“A huge highlight of my time at USC was having such a supportive network of peers, tutors and lecturers,” Ella said.
“We began as a cohort of strangers but graduated as one big family, with the small course and class sizes really allowing us to get to know one another and work together on our four-year journey to become OTs.
“The academic staff want to see you succeed, celebrate your achievements and have such passion for our profession; it made my experience that much more enjoyable.”
Applications are open to study at USC, starting Semester 2.