SCU graduations at Coffs Harbour Campus

Dr Peter Butcherine at the tanks at the National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour. Photo: SCU.

SOUTHERN Cross University Faculty of Health student Jason Schaap will graduate with 164 others in ceremonies on Saturday 10 September at SCU Coffs Harbour Campus, where over half of the graduates have focused on health studies, answering the call for more health workers.

After a 30-year career as a motorcycle mechanic, Jason Schaap, 51, needed a change and was convinced by a friend to study nursing.

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“My friend saw it was what I needed, and she was 100 percent right,” Jason said.

“I never finished school and getting back into education was an absolute revelation.

“I ended up loving it.”

Jason is now working at Coffs Harbour Health Campus as a medical ward nurse through the Mid North Coast Local Health District graduate program.

He encourages everyone who is interested in nursing to take the plunge into signing up for a course.

“There’s a huge need for nurses in all fields of healthcare,” Jason said.

Jason said it was exciting to be donning a graduation cap (known as a mortarboard) and gown.

“It’s a bit surreal.

“I think it’s one of those key pivotal moments in your life, getting a degree.”

Graduates from the National Marine Science Centre, located at Coffs Harbour, will also be recognised at Saturday’s ceremony.

Dr Peter Butcherine will officially receive his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) for research into the impacts of pesticides on prawns.

Dr Butcherine’s thesis has since been published in four journals and used to set pesticide thresholds in the European Union.

His research results showed that prawns are susceptible to a commonly used insecticide and exposure can impact food safety and reduce the productivity of prawn aquaculture.

Dr Butcherine is now employed as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Southern Cross University in partnership with the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program which aims to alleviate the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.

“I want to get out into the world and make a difference.

“I will never say no to a challenge,” he said.

Dr Butcherine was a teacher and then worked in the IT industry for more than 20 years before deciding to delve more deeply into a career in science.

He studied a Bachelor of Environmental Science and then a Bachelor of Science with Honours (First Class) with Southern Cross before undertaking doctoral research (PhD).

Dr Butcherine said this graduation, in particular, represented the culmination of a long journey.

“It’s a validation of a lot of hard work and effort that many people have put into my education, particularly my supervisors and supportive family.”

Southern Cross University will also recognise the former Executive Director of the Coffs Harbour Education Campus, Warren Grimshaw AM, at the graduation event.

Mr Grimshaw will be conferred the award of Honorary Doctor of the University.

He has served as a Member of the Southern Cross University Council and Chair of the Mid North Coast Local Health District Board.


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