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Bachelor of Health Sciences
Melbourne Burwood Campus
Completed her degree in 2010
After completing her Bachelor of Health Sciences in 2009, Sarah Roberts decided to continue on and complete her honours year. Pursuing honours gave Sarah the chance to really explore her interests in the health field and figure out which direction she wanted to take career-wise. It also gave her hands-on opportunities in her field, the chance to build on her writing and investigative skills and the opportunity to work on her own qualitative research project.
Partnering with a youth organisation in rural Victoria to conduct her research, Sarah interviewed young mums in rural areas about their experiences leading to pregnancy. ‘In the existing evidence base there is a lot about [young mums’] pregnancies and after pregnancy but not a lot about the time before. I wanted to know how they got to where they were, their experiences that led them to being pregnant at 16.’ Sarah has recently found out her honours work will be published in the Australian Journal of Rural Health. ‘Deakin offered honours students a writing scholarship to fund the writing of a journal article.’
Sarah currently works in a graduate position at ISIS Primary Care (a not-for-profit community health organisation) as a health promotion worker. Her main work is with community health projects including a multicultural playgroup for newly arrived refugees (at the moment she is focussed on women from Burma), and other community-based health projects. She is also now leading a new research project at ISIS, which is studying same-sex attracted young people, setting up an online forum where young people from the western suburbs who are same-sex attracted can talk about their experiences online. This research will be informing new projects in the area, including support groups and events. Both Sarah and her boss are extremely excited as this is the first ISIS research project that has ethics approval. ‘In community health you find there is not a lot of evidence-based research, more informal research that cannot be broadly applied to different situations’.
Without honours Sarah feels she would not have known where to begin with her research project. ‘I wouldn’t have felt comfortable. Definitely not something I would have been able to lead without having done honours.’ But with her honours year under her belt Sarah knew exactly how to approach the project. ‘I felt a lot more prepared and confident going into a graduate position having done honours - plus it gave me more to talk about in the interview!’
Sarah would definitely recommend the Deakin honours program to others. ‘The staff in the Faculty of Health were really knowledgeable and helpful. A big part of enjoying the course was the excellent staff who really know their stuff and in honours you get to build a stronger relationship with them.’ Sarah has always been interested in women’s health and honours gave her the chance to ‘sharpen her skills in that area’. ‘Honours makes you stand out, gives you a real area of interest and a talking point - it’s been a really big help and a big confidence booster in obtaining my graduate position.’