This is Uni Hitting all the right notes

Hitting all the right notes

Hitting all the right notes

Recent JCU Speech Pathology Graduate Brittany Vella has combined her love of the Arts, particularly musical theatre, with her academic pursuits and yielded some life-changing results

Brittany’s hard work, dedication, and commitment have landed her in the Speech Pathology department of the Townsville Hospital. Brittany considered the coveted position a far-off goal when she walked into her first lecture at JCU.

Her new position is the latest in a long line of good news Brittany received throughout 2018, and it all started with her Honours project, which focused on the Townsville Choral Society’s production of Les Misérables, an ironic origin for such happy news.

“I was always interested in the Arts, I did a lot of drama, singing, and dancing at school,” Brittany said.

“I always knew I wanted to get into the healthcare industry, I wanted a job that was rewarding and one where I worked with patients to reach their goals.

“There are so many areas of speech pathology that you can get into and the one area that I was really interested in was voice, where you can work with musical theatre singers, public speakers, and performers. I think it’s a really good combination of both healthcare and the arts together.”

A portrait of JCU Speech Pathology graduate Brittany Vella in her Honours gown and mortar board.

Brittany graduated Speech Pathology with Honours, and the University Medal thanks to her GPA of over 6.5 and a 1A grade for her Honours project.

Even a 19th century French peasant could figure out that Brittany has found the ideal combination of her personal and professional interests, and her honours project was a culmination of this meeting.

Brittany used the Evaluation of the Ability to Sing Easily (EASE) self-assessment tool (created for use with professional musical theatre singers) with the Townsville Choral Society’s amateur performers. Brittany’s research found that the tool is also useful for amateur singers, as with professionals..

For her efforts Brittany earned a 1A for her Honours, and was awarded the University Medal at her graduation ceremony.

“It was not expected and I was very happy to receive the University Medal,” she said.

On top of this achievement, Brittany’s work has been recommended for publication, so she’s begun the meticulous process of editing and refining her paper before peer review and publication.

“I’m working with my honours supervisor Louise Brown and one of my Senior Lecturers from JCU Dr Debra Phyland, who is the voice consultant for Melbourne Theatre Company, and one of my lecturers from JCU. We’re looking at my project and preparing to submit for publication in the Journal of Voice,” Brittany said.

The final feather in Brittany’s cap may be her most life-changing, her position in the Speech Pathology department of the Townsville Hospital straight out of university.

“Townsville Hospital was my first choice, I didn’t expect to get it first up, I was prepared to work my way up to the Townsville Hospital so I’m very happy that I’m there,” the Speech Pathologist said.

“I start in the Paediatric ward, the first week will be orientation and then my case load will be in the paediatric ward, then after three months I rotate somewhere else.”

“It’s been a little overwhelming, I’m not the kind of person that expects all these awards, and to get a job straight away, it has been a bit overwhelming. I’ve always been someone that will work my hardest and it has paid off so it’s very exciting.”

To discover how you can combine your passion with your profession, study JCU Speech Pathology.

Published 10 May 2019