Pathology students build networks, gain job insights

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Wide Bay Scientific Group organising committee, from left, USC graduate Lainey Flint, Committee chair Dean Johns from Pathology Queensland, USC student Erynn Quilty, Ralvin Sanchez of QML, student Tate Corfield, Dominique Brehaut of QML and student Sarah Sharp.

A former high school science teacher is helping fellow USC students gain a competitive edge when it comes to finding employment in Australia’s pathology industry.

USC Medical Laboratory Science student Sarah Sharp volunteers as the industry liaison officer with the Wide Bay Scientific Group, a professional body for scientists and technicians working in South East Queensland’s pathology services.

Ms Sharp, who is also the student representative for USC’s Associate Degree, recently helped to organise the group’s annual conference on the Sunshine Coast.

“There is always more you can do to increase your employability and that is why I became part of the organising committee and worked to convince students to attend this year’s Wide Bay Scientific Group conference,” she said.

Ms Sharp said she learned the hard way about the importance of making industry connections and taking up professional development opportunities.

“I made mistakes when I began my first degree in Applied Science fresh out of high school by not taking up opportunities to network, gain work experience and pursue industry placements. After I finished, I was terrified when it came to looking for a job.”

She said working as a high school science teacher and then as a sessional tutor at USC reinforced her belief that many students lacked confidence when it came to finding work.

“Not-for-profit conferences like this are a fantastic opportunity for students to network with those in the industry, expand on what they've been taught in the classroom and apply it to real-world cases and patients.”

Twenty students and academic staff from USC were among almost 100 delegates who attended the conference to hear scientific presentations on a range of pathology disciplines.
USC Associate Professor in Medical Laboratory Science Dr Lin Fung, who presented a lecture on using animal models to understand transfusion-related acute lung injury, said the conference was a major success from the University’s perspective.

“USC students attended workshops, actively engaged with industry members who are their potential employers, gained insights into unusual case studies and could see how their course work related to professional practice,” she said.

Ms Sharp has volunteered to be on the seven-person organising committee for next year’s conference along with two other USC students, Erynn Quilty and Tate Corfield, and USC graduate Lainey Flint.

Dr Fung said their involvement would help raise the profile of USC students with local employers and strengthen the Wide Bay Scientific Group’s association with students studying USC’s Associate Degree of Medical Laboratory Studies.

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