Graduates from all walks of life
An Afghanistan war veteran, a mature aged health worker and a group of altruistic medical students are some of those graduating from James Cook University in Townsville today (December 16)
There are 745 graduates in JCU’s Division of Tropical Health and Medicine. Future doctors, vets, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, molecular and biological scientists are just some of those who will be presented with their hard-earned degrees.
The two ceremonies – one at 11am and one at 3.30pm, will be held at the Townsville Entertainment Centre.
Michael Lyddiard, a former bomb disposalist with the Army, almost died in Afghanistan in 2008. He was uncovering an improvised explosive device when it exploded. He lost his lower right arm, half of his left hand, his right eye and suffered severe lacerations to the rest of his head. He will graduate with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy.
Chris O’seighin has been a shop assistant at Kmart, an electrical linesman with Queensland Rail, an advanced care paramedic with QAS, and worked for a decade as a well-regarded podiatrist. Health care and helping people is his passion. He will graduate with a Bachelor of Health Science - Physician Assistant.
Seven medical graduands feel very passionately that they have a responsibility to do something about extreme poverty. They have aligned themselves with 'Effective Altruism', a social movement that not only involves making regular and sizeable donations to charity, but also uses evidence and reason to determine the most cost-effective recipients of their money. They will all graduate with a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery.
More details of the graduates are below.
JCU Townsville Health sciences graduation ceremonies
Date: Wednesday, December 16
Location: The Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre, Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, Townsville
Ceremony 1 - 11.00am: Nursing Sciences, Sport and Exercise Science, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychology and Speech Pathology.
Ceremony 2 - 3.30pm: Health Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacy, Medicine, Veterinary Sciences, Public Health & Tropical Medicine.
Michael Lyddiard – War veteran, triathlete, father and OT graduate
Michael Lyddiard has overcome odds that would seem insurmountable to some to graduate on Wednesday with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy.
Mr Lyddiard, previously a bomb disposalist with the Army, was severely wounded in Afghanistan in 2008.
He said his main reason in choosing OT was inspired by his Occupational Therapist/ rehabilitation provider, Fiona Smith.
"She really showed me the importance and attributes of being a good OT while advocating and supporting me through my barriers to achieve meaningful and purposeful goals,” he said.
“Because of the harshness of my service and been asked to move on, I felt I lost a sense of belonging and my identity where Fiona offered me a glimpse into a potential career that empowered people and families.
“Having survived mental and emotional breakdowns, and struggles with PTSD in the first few years of study, Mr Lyddiard found the inner strength to push through. “I wanted to better myself and help other soldiers who had similar experiences by showing moving on is possible.”
He has since become an experienced triathlete and an adventure sport enthusiast and competitor.
“I always believe in leading from the front. That is one of the many attributes of being an OT – it’s getting out and achieving. All the adventure sport; triathlons and kayaking was also about self-help. I hope people look at me and think: ‘he’s trying, so there has to be some hope’.
‘I also do it for my sons. People (in the street) do stare at me sometimes, and I can understand that, but there are also comments, which hurts me because my sons may hear them.
“By competing, getting out there, being a graduate, it helps me to gain pride and social acceptance; to show my sons: life is there to be enjoyed. Be proud of who you are and what can be achieved through resilience.”
Chris O’seighin – Physician Assistant graduate
After a career including being a shop assistant at Kmart, an electrical linesman with Queensland Rail, an advanced care paramedic with QAS, and a decade as a well-regarded podiatrist, you may wonder what is his next career step.
Chris O’seighin (pronounced ‘O Shine’)will graduate with a Bachelor of Health Science - Physician Assistant - at JCU this week.
Health care has always been appealing to Mr O’seighin. “I get great satisfaction from helping people and in particular helping people to overcome disease processes or recover from painful problems relating to their feet allowing them to increase mobility and engage in activities that significantly improve quality of life.”
Mr O’seighin’s JCU supervisor describes him as “tough as nails”, having managed to complete 1600 hours of clinical placement over the past two years on evenings, nights and weekends as he continued to work full-time.
Mr O’seighin’s currently travels to rural towns across North Queensland that would otherwise not have access to podiatry services.
As part of Chris's professional development over the next couple of years, he will be working closely with JCU’s Dr Roy Rasalam doing research on high-risk diabetes patients.
Medical graduates - Effective Altruism group – socially conscious graduates
This year, seven JCU medicine graduates have aligned themselves with 'Effective Altruism', a social movement that has been gaining popularity in recent years.
These young doctors feel very passionately that they have a responsibility to do something about extreme poverty.
This not only involves making regular and sizeable donations to charity, but also using evidence and reason to determine the most cost-effective recipients of their money.
Each of these aims is equally important, but the latter is what sets Effective Altruism apart from other altruistic movements.
There are only a handful of other Effective Altruists around Australia.
Effective Altruist JCU graduates include Tom O’Donohoe, Brenton Mayer, Dan Charles, Laura Koefler, Ally Hardy, Kaitlyn Palmas and Shannan Searle.
Caroline Kaurila, JCU Media Liaison, 0437 028 175