Past student testimonials
Nancey Hoare - Tertiary Preparation Program to PhD
I left school after Year 10, completed a hairdressing apprenticeship, and continued to work as a hairdresser, on and off, for the next 20 years. I have had other employment experiences, such as bar attendant, waitress, factor worker, electoral roll officer, mail sorter in a post office, accounts clerk in the Royal Australian Air Force, and office manager. I also owned and operated my own hairdressing salon prior to starting my university journey. I am a single parent with three wonderful children, who were 10, 12, and 13 when I started university. I had never entertained the idea of university, believing that I needed to have completed Year 12 to be eligible to apply. However, I had been interested in psychology for many years, prompted by my intense interest in people and by my hairdressing clients, who would often confide in me and share many significant life experiences. I wanted to learn more about human behaviour, decision-making, personality, and motivation, and to learn some useful counselling strategies to be able to help people who were experiencing difficulties. After some strong encouragement from my mother and friends, I phoned USQ and found out about alternative entry through the Tertiary Preparation Program.
I completed the TPP and then went on to complete my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the USQ. I then took the supervised practice pathway to becoming registered as a Psychologist in Queensland. Psychology is such a wonderful degree that provides you with a variety of career options. For example, I have worked as a Research Assistant on some very interesting projects in areas such as driver stress and fatigue, organisational climate, and organisational change. I have also worked as a Sexual Assault Support Worker, where I gained valuable experience in working with clients in crisis. I also worked as a Personal Counsellor at the USQ, which involved helping students to work through personal issues that were impacting on their progress through their university program. I am now working as a Psychologist in the area of career development with the USQ careers and employment service for students and graduates. Working in the career development industry has given me an even better understanding of the diverse career pathways psychology students can take. My current role is a counselling role that involves assisting USQ students with their career decisions, which can range from deciding on a particular career path, selecting a relevant degree program, managing their studies, looking for casual work, taking on work experience, or gaining employment after they graduate, and also helping students to identify and work through barriers to achieving their career goals. The psychology degree has been invaluable, not only because it provided me with the relevant "piece of paper" to be able to enter the field of vocational psychology and career development, but also because the knowledge and skills I gained from the wide range of psychology courses available in the degree program allowed me to make a more informed choice as to which career path I would eventually take.
Mr Gavin Baccaria - Bachelor of Applied Science to Academia
I commenced my undergraduate at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in 1989, and Graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science with a major in Psychology. I have enjoyed a strong association with the USQ since. I went on to complete postgraduate studies and USQ and graduated with Master of Psychology (Community and Health) in 2003, and I am currently in the final stages of completing my Doctorate in Psychology (clinical).
Study at USQ has provided a great launching pad for my career. I commenced work as a Family Services Officer, at the Department of Family Services (now known as the Department of Child Safety) in 1993 and worked there until 1994 when I left to take a psychologist position at Queensland Health. I remained at Queensland Health until April 2007. In the 13 years at Queensland health I had the opportunity to work in a wide range of clinical settings, and I have no doubt that my part-time postgraduate studies gave me the confidence to take on new challenges. My studies were helpful in a number of ways. Firstly I gain an array of practical skills, which I utilised in the work setting. Secondly I was able to integrate my assignments with work tasks. Thirdly I was encouraged to link my theoretical knowledge with my practical skills, enabling me to be a complete professional. When I left Queensland Health I had been promoted to the Director of Psychology position in the Toowoomba and Darling Downs Health Service District. This was one of nine (9) Director positions in the state, and I had professional responsibility for nearly 40 staff. In June 2007 I will be joining the staff at the University of Southern Queensland as a Lecturer. I will now have the opportunity to assist students with their knowledge and skill development while continuing to develop my own.
There are many things I have like about USQ, including highly skilled and available staff, flexible learning, and practical skill development. I have appreciated the availability of the staff, and their willingness to actively take an interest in my learning. When I was completing undergraduate studies, staff would be available for consultation, and would give me advice of course selection to become a practicing psychologist. When I was completing postgraduate studies the USQ staff assisted me with skills I could use in the workplace so I could gain better results with clients. Even after completing postgraduate studies staff continued to take and interest in my career.
I also believe that USQ has the right balance between research and teaching. Quality research should not come at the expense of quality teaching. I am pleased to say USQ has both. Finally, at USQ you are more than a number. I believe staff have taken a genuine interest in me, and have been a significant part of my career development.
Dr. Sharron Dawes - Bachelor of Science to PhD
Dr. Sharron Dawes completed her Psychology Undergraduate degree with first class honours at USQ in 2000 before starting a PhD with neuropsychological focus at the university under the principal guidance of Dr. Graeme Senior in 2001. While completing her doctorate, she also gained valuable teaching, tutoring and marking experience at two universities (USQ and QUT), as well as working as a psychometrician and group counsellor, while completing her registration requirements to become a fully registered psychologist in Queensland. Dr. Dawes is currently a member of a number of professional organisations including the Australian Psychological Society, International Neuropsychogical Society, National Academy of Neuropsychology and the American Psychological Association.
Dr Dawes describes her outstanding and developing career:
"Since completing my dissertation in 2004, I have been working as a post-doctoral researcher and junior faculty at the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego's (UCSD) HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center. My job role includes co-managing a multi-site study into the effects of NeuroAIDS, and chairing the main research review meeting each week. Over the past 2.5 years I have also made a number of research presentations at both national and international meetings, co-authored a book chapter on the neuropsychological assessment of persons with HIV (currently in press) and collaborated on a number of research articles (some first author, currently under review). In September, I shall be starting a much sought after fellowship position awarded by the National Institutes of Health, at the Veterans Administration/UCSD in San Diego, working with aged persons with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. This is a wonderful opportunity, as during this research training fellowship, I shall be broadening my research interests into Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and other Imaging techniques, as well as continuing my research into clusters of neuropsychological functioning and everyday functioning, and the psychometric properties of tests. My initial research training and guidance through the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Sciences, USQ, gave me the foundation that enabled me to follow this path. Without the guidance and expertise of the lecturers, especially my principal supervisor, Dr. Graeme Senior, it is unlikely that I would have attained my current or future positions."
Michael Freeman - Bachelor of Science (Honours)
I finished my Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology at the end of 2005. I chose Psychology because I am interested in behaviour and helping people. I entered uni after Year 12 and worked in hospitality throughout the 3 years of the degree. After my graduation I heard that the Department of Child Safety was looking for psych graduates and so I applied. I have now worked at Child Safety for over a year and thoroughly enjoy it. I work on the investigation and assessment team which means I investigate child abuse and if need be remove children or refer families on to relevant supports. During my time at Child Safety I have used my psychology skills quite a bit in new and challenging ways. Furthermore I get to work closely with police, psychologists, paediatricians and Education Queensland every day. I am also enrolled in the Psychology Honours program through USQ. Honours has been challenging while doing full time work and I am looking forward to finishing so explore more of what the field of psychology offers.
Dr. Gene Moyle - Masters of Psychology (Sport & Exercise)
My journey at USQ started within a Masters of Psychology (Sport & Exercise) Degree, following undergraduate/postgraduate studies in psychology and a previous career as a professional ballet dancer - and finished years later with a return to complete a Doctor of Psychology (Sport & Exercise). My experiences at USQ included feeling like part of an extended family - one that would just happen to provide me with the qualifications I required to meet my professional goals! The training, research skills, support, supervision, and practicum opportunities that USQ provided have directly contributed to my success within the field of psychology - and a number of varied psychological fields at that. The networks that I formed at USQ, both at the fellow student and lecturer level, have been extremely valuable within my career to date - ones that I still maintain and refer back to for collegial support and mentoring. My psychology degrees from USQ have taken me on a varied and exciting journey that has included working in -45 degrees Celsius by the side of an Olympic ice track through to trips underground in a coal mine!
Within the field of Sport Psychology, I have worked across a varied range of team and individual sports at the Olympic, Para-Olympic, elite and sub-elite level. As a National Network Provider for the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), I work as the Team Sport Psychologist with the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) Short Track Speed Skating and Skeleton teams - work that has seen my provision of services through one Winter Olympics and into preparation for a second. I have worked as the Sport Psychology Coordinator at the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) since January 2006, following in Professor Peter Terry's (my previous USQ lecturer and mentor) footsteps after two years as the Assistant Coordinator. I have worked with a large number of QAS and National level sports - everything from mainstream sports such as Netball and Football, through to more unique sports such as Ten Pin Bowling, Indoor Cricket and even Croquet! The theoretical and practical training at USQ has contributed significantly in facilitating my ability to develop as a balanced researcher and applied practitioner - a combination that is highly valued in today's markets!
Tapping into my background as a professional ballet dancer, my degrees at USQ provided me with training and practicum opportunities to combine these two professions into a 'niche' career. As a result, I have been a casual lecturer in Performance Psychology within the Creative Industries - Dance department at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for more than 7 years, in addition to writing regular articles for Dance Australia magazine and working regularly with other dance and performance training institutions, companies, and individual performers. Furthermore, the opportunities and support I received in my thesis research within this specialised area has provided multiple publication and presentation opportunities throughout Australia and overseas.
The training received within Masters and Doctorate degrees in psychology at USQ have additionally provided me with the skills and experience to work across fields outside of the Sport and Exercise area. I have previously worked within a private Job-Network company as a Psychologist, Senior Psychologist, and finally as the National Health Services Coordinator. Within this setting, the basic clinical and counseling skills I received throughout my training at USQ as a 'psychologist' (regardless of my specialisation), equipped me with the necessary skills to deal with quite challenging clinical and health-related presenting issues. Furthermore, I currently work within the Organisational Psychology field with a global company that consults to the mining and resource industries. This work sees me at the 'coal-face' literally, working with frontline employees right through to the Board of Directors of large multi-national companies. Additionally, I am the Business Leader for the assessments unit within this company - again drawing upon standard skills and training in psychological testing that was covered during my time at USQ.
As the current Secretary of the APS College of Sport Psychologists, and a member of the Australian Psychological Society, the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences (UK), the Performing Arts Medicine Association (USA), the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, and Ausdance; I build upon the value placed upon building networks, becoming involved, and contributing back to the profession that was instilled in me during my time at USQ - particularly from my past lecturers and mentors Steven Christensen and Professor Peter Terry.
All in all, the thorough training as a 'psychologist' with a specialisation in Sport and Exercise psychology has provided me with a wonderfully varied and equally rewarding career to date. As such, I have no hesitation to encourage those of you considering USQ as your training ground in the field of psychology to jump at the opportunity to benefit from the great training, wonderful lecturers, and great colleagues and friends to be had there!
Steve Bannon - Masters of Psychology (Sport & Exercise)
I have worked within three different elite sport institute systems; South Australian Institute of Sport, Scottish Institute of Sport and currently the English Institute of Sport (EIS). I have involved in the preparation and enhancement of National athletes, coaches and World Class programs for Olympics (Beijing, Sydney, Athens, & Torino), Commonwealth Games (Manchester & Melbourne), various World Championships and World Cups. During the course of this I have worked with and assisted many sporting governing bodies, such as British Olympic Association, UK Sport, SportScotland, Australian Institute of Sport, Australian Paralympic Committee and Australian SIS/SAS network.
In addition to my Masters degree in Psychology (Sport and Exercise) from USQ in 2001 I undertook a Professional Doctorate which examined change within organizations and the importance of motivational climate. The knowledge gained from this degree has been invaluable when implementing change within elite sport programmes.
My Role at Present
English Institute of Sport:
As National Lead I am primarily responsible for:
Leading and managing the delivery and development of Sport Psychology services and facilities for World Class Programme athletes in the UK.
Overseeing the strategic development, implementation and management of the national Sport Psychology support service and facility provision for the EIS.
Managing, developing and delivering psychological support programmes to athletes to enhance elite performance.
Supervision, quality assurance and performance reviews for all EIS psychology (11 practitioners throughout England ranging in experience from Regional Leads, full time, part-time, consultants and interns)
As part of my current role I also liaise with the National Governing Body to develop service level agreements for all podium level sport. This usually involves negotiations with performance directors, performance managers, national coaches and sport scientists in regards to funding levels and resources requirements. This is often a very complex process given the funding model in operation in the UK as well as limited resources.
I have found my training from USQ invaluable in this process. This training has enabled me to successfully mediate and negotiate many complex situations in high pressure situations.