Why did you come to Flinders? I chose to study at Flinders because if offers a highly-regarded Bachelor of Medical Science degree with outstanding lecturers, researchers and academics in each field and topic. It was clear to me right from the outset that the academic staff were exceptionally passionate about their topics and were enthusiastic about their research. As a student, learning is made all the more enjoyable when your teachers have legitimate passion and enthusiasm.
What is your favourite memory from your time at Flinders? I really miss the times that I spent in study groups. We often had group assignments and the teamwork skills that those study groups instilled in me has been continuously valuable in my professional career. Of course, I also miss just hanging out with my friends at the Medical Library or at the Student Hub where there was always something to do – there were giveaways from the Students Association, outdoor activities, warm places with a view to sit during winter and always a buzz from all the students from all of the other disciplines on campus. We ended up spending many long hours in those places, sorting through our assignments, studying for exams … or just hanging out.
What did you do in the year immediately after graduating? I started working almost straight away! I began in an entry level job at CMAX Clinical Research, which is one of Australia’s largest and most experienced clinical trial centres, and based in Adelaide. I began as a Study Assistant in clinical trials and within six months quickly progressed to the position of Study Coordinator within 6 months, which I’m still currently doing.
Have you maintained connections with fellow students or academics since graduating? The academics were so encouraging during my time at Flinders. Dr Voula Gaganis kindly gave me a wonderful reference for my graduate job at CMAX Clinical Research. And yes, I made some of my closest friends during my time at Flinders and we still keep in touch.
What are the three most important professional attributes that your Flinders degree equipped you with?
- Prioritising and planning to meet deadlines, which is very important in clinical trials as a delay in timelines can have many downstream effects
- Group assessments prepared me well to work in a team. This has translated well into my adaptability to work in the various project teams that I get assigned to for each trial
- Public speaking. The many tutorial presentations during my degree have helped me to be comfortable when presenting to large groups of people.
How does your current career compare to the career/job aspirations you had as a child? My younger self knew that I could see myself working in a traditional healthcare setting. However, I did not know anything about clinical trials or clinical research. It was only during my time at Flinders that I got exposure to the great big world of clinical trials and the extensive research behind pharmaceuticals.
I love the industry I work in now! The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the importance of clinical trials in drug development and challenged me in ways that I had never really contemplated. My degree has equipped me with a capacity and enthusiasm for lifelong learning and I am constantly learning and growing as more research progresses and new trials are developed.
How did your time at Flinders University change you both professionally and personally? I met so many people from all around the world and from a range of study areas during my time at Flinders! The Bedford Park campus is really welcoming and I found it really natural to meet a range of people and develop a vast array of friendships. So, I think that an ability to make friends and develop networks was a skill that I … well, I kind of gained it accidentally at Flinders!
Within the medical Science degree, different topics put us into various groups which in turn resulted in groupings of very diverse groups of people. Through this I learnt adaptability to other people’s working styles and also widened my interpersonal skills.
What has been the greatest accomplishment of your career to date? Coordinating and working on over 20 clinical trials with indications in psoriasis, hypertension, diabetes to narcolepsy and everything in between. My current field of work enables me to work with a wide range of disease profiles, various drugs and treatments and with people all over the world.