Growing up in a sporting family, University of Southern Queensland graduate Lucy O’Neill understood the importance of movement from an early age.
However, it was only after she embarked on an exercise science degree that its restorative powers became clear.
Ms O’Neill will join more than a thousand graduates officially completing their studies at a series of celebration ceremonies next week (April 12-15).
It will cap off years of hard work and industry experience for Ms O’Neill, who has gone the distance to pursue her passion.
“I had always found exercise physiology to be relevant and exciting, but when my grandad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I truly realised the field’s value,” Ms O’Neill said.
“I noticed a big change in him, he stopped moving – so being able to keep him active became very important.
“The overarching idea of exercise physiology is we prescribe movement, rather than a script from a doctor, which helps to combat disease in different domains.”Ms O’Neill threw herself into her studies and quickly excelled, completing her Honours year placement at Southern Queensland Rural Health.
“It was a great experience. I had the chance to help collect data for clients who were at risk of developing chronic disease,” she said.
“It was all about studying the different signs and criteria, then finding out which exercise gave the best health outcomes.”
Following her final class, Ms O’Neill learnt she had topped her discipline, earning her a University medal.
“I was on holiday with my parents at the beach when I got the email – my heart skipped a few beats,” she said.
“I had a great time at the University. My favourite thing was the awesome lecturers who were personable and approachable - I didn’t feel alone at any point.”
As a cherry on top of her achievements, she was offered a job with Better Movement Clinic before she started her Honours year. She now works with the service as an exercise physiologist.
“It’s a super interesting job that keeps me on my toes,” she said.
“I work in the clinic, help host Pilates at kindergartens and assist with Indigenous health.
“We see many patients of all walks of life, but I’m definitely interested in Parkinson’s disease clients who come through our doors.
“I’m getting a taste of everything and am enjoying where I am.”
What: Toowoomba graduation celebrations
When: Monday April 12 – Thursday April 15 2021 (Three events a day: 9.30am, 1.30pm, and 5.30pm)
Where: Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre, Baker St, University of Southern Queensland Toowoomba
Lucy O’Neill will be celebrating her graduation from the University of Southern Queensland at a ceremony next week.