Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences students get a taste for research

2 October 2015

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Health Sciences have a unique opportunity to gain hands-on research experience as part of a new scholarship program.

University of Sydney Physiotherapy School
Scholarship recipients Amy Large and Sarah Hawker working on the 1000 Norms Project in the Sydney Performance Lab (Photo credit: University of Sydney)

Four of the best and brightest Indigenous students have taken part in the program which allows them to spend four weeks during study break working on the day-to-day running of an academic research project of their choice.
Program Coordinator Dr John Gilroy and Mrs Simone Cherie-Holt said the faculty attracts some very bright Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, but many don’t understand the research process and opportunities to progress onto honours, masters or PhD programs.
“The scholarships provide opportunities for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to experience research early on and gain a better appreciation for what it can do for their careers as health professionals,” said Dr Gilroy.
The Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences has a long history of supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through the Yooroang Garang Indigenous Student Support Unit, and has graduated 79 Indigenous allied health students between 1992 and 2014.
Indigenous student support officer Simone-Cherie Holt said many students had never considered research as a career or development opportunity before hearing about the scholarship program.
“This program is important because even if students don’t choose to keep going formally in academia, they will leave with a better understanding of research and how to implement it, which makes them better health practitioners,” said Mrs Cherie-Holt.
Physiotherapy students Scott Daley, Cameron Edward, Sarah Large and Amy Hawker are the first to be awarded the scholarship. All chose to work on the 1000 Norms Project with researchers Marnee McKay and Jennifer Baldwin.
Ms McKay said she is impressed with the professionalism and work-ethic of the students and encourages other academics to consider becoming involved in the program.
The scholarship program is an initiative of the Faculty of Health Sciences, funded by the University of Sydney’s Wingara Mura – Bunga Barrabugu strategy which aims to improve the engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in all areas of university life.

University of Sydney’s Master of Physiotherapy

The University of Sydney offers a two year, graduate-entry Master of Physiotherapy program, which is intended for students coming from an undergraduate degree in a related field and who wish to gain the requirements to become a physiotherapist. Coursework throughout this program builds on the major areas of the profession, such as musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary and neurological physiotherapy, as well as looking at the profession in its societal context.
Program: Master of Physiotherapy
Location: Lidcombe, (suburb of Sydney), New South Wales
Duration: 2 years
Semester intake: March each year

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