By Alex-Marie Howard
Halfway through my third and final year of undergraduate study I started to think about what my future holds and where I want to take my degree and everything I’ve learnt.
I started looking at honours degrees, as I never really had the opportunity to try my hand at research, research that would actually have an impact.
I spent some time thinking, and talking with friends and family, about what would be best for me, and I would find most rewarding. I chose to work with Associate Professor Nicole Williams at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital studying the long term complications of septic arthritis in paediatric hip patients.
Septic arthritis is inflammation of the joint caused by organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes and Kingella kingae all of which affect different children of varying ages depending on their medical history.
This particular research is important and interesting to me as I firmly believe if we can determine why long-term complications of diseases arise there will be fewer recurrent infections and fewer associated diseases such as osteomyelitis; and hopefully fewer surgeries such as washouts, drainages and total hip replacements.
My AVCAT scholarship has been paramount in making it possible for me to buy textbooks required for all of my subjects. It has given me the opportunity to visit my mum who lives in Canberra, and who is a Warrant Officer Class Two in the Australian Army. My mother has been a huge influence on who I am today (my father is also to thank for raising me as a single parent). My AVCAT scholarship has made life as a full-time university student easier.
Alex-Marie was awarded an AVCAT TPI South Australia Scholarship in 2017. She recently finished a Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences degree at the University of Adelaide. Alex-Marie sat the GAMSAT in September 2018 and will commence a post-graduate Bachelor of Medicine at Flinders University in 2020. She is applying to join the Australian Defence Force as a doctor.
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