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5 health science careers all about helping others

Health science careers

Want to help people live their best lives? These ECU students have all found a path to doing just that

One of the most important roles for health scientists is to protect humans from everyday things that can really hurt us. Meet health professionals working in health science careers, doing the behind-the-scenes work we all need.

#1 Caitlyn Roberts, health protector

Caitlyn’s health career has her keeping a super close eye on mosquitoes!

Environmental health officer - Caitlyn Roberts

After graduating with a Bachelor of Health Science from ECU, Caitlyn is now an environmental health officer.

Her job involves doing food business inspections, making sure the business is following safe food practices to prevent food borne illness.

To prevent disease, she also does mosquito surveillance! “This involves going out on foot to see if there are large numbers of mosquito larvae to determine if treatment by hand or helicopter is required,” she explains.

Caitlyn says she would have never believed you if you told her three years ago that she’d be walking through pools of water looking for larvae. But there are plenty of opportunities in environmental health emerging all the time.

“One opportunity is around drinking water and how we can secure different drinking water sources for the future,” she says.

Caitlyn’s STEM study and career path

  • Bachelor of Health Science (Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety), ECU
  • Environmental health officer, Shire of Harvey

#2 Kate Mann, safety coach

Kate’s STEM career sees her coaching people to stay safe at work

Kate Mann - Safety Advisor

Every day at work is different for Kate. As a safety adviser at mining company Talison Lithium, Kate is basically a safety coach, making sure workers are compliant with legislation, codes of practice and site requirements, so they’re less likely to get hurt on the job.

Kate landed her graduate role before she’d finished her Bachelor of Health Science (majoring in occupational and environmental health and safety) at ECU. Prior to her studies she did a community development traineeship at the Shire of Augusta Margaret River where she says “I discovered my passion for risk management, keeping people safe and love of high-visibility clothing!”.

“ECU’s course delivery made it flexible and achievable to work in my field whilst finishing my study,” Kate says. She’s super grateful for the hands-on learning and practical experience ECU delivered.

Kate’s STEM study and career path

  • Community development trainee, Shire of Augusta
  • Bachelor of Health Science, ECU
  • Safety advisor, Talison Lithium

#3 Alexander Mugford, biomedical scientist

A grounding in biomedical science has given Alexander the perfect foundation on his path to becoming a medical doctor

Alexander Mugford - Biomedical Scientist

A lover of English at school, Alexander once considered becoming a writer or working in the creative arts, but switched to science because of all the stable career paths it would open up.

Now very much on the STEM train, he’s just completed a degree in the biomedical science area at ECU. Biomedical science is a mix of theoretical genetics, physiology and pathology with laboratory work. It’s all about using what we know about molecules and small biomarkers, and manipulating them to find a way to discover new things or new processes. “This helps us diagnose, manage and treat illnesses in research and the community,” he adds.

During his time at uni, Alexander has appreciated how supportive ECU has been. “They would ensure we had the tools to succeed in our degree but also challenged us with assignments that built skills for our careers outside of university,” he says.

His next step? Becoming a medical doctor. Alexander has been accepted into studying medicine but says there are fantastic jobs in labs and research you can land with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science.

“Additionally public health is a growing space, where government policy and programs are designed to improve the health of a large population at once,” he says.

Alexander’s STEM study and career path

  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science, ECU

#4 Sharon Webb, speech pathologist

Sharon Webb - Speech Pathologist

Sharon Webb loves getting up in the morning knowing she’ll be able to make a difference in someone’s life

As a speech pathologist, Sharon helps people with their communication and swallowing difficulties.

“It is so easy to think of communication as just ‘talking’ but people communicate through spoken language, sign language, using low- or high-tech communication methods, non-verbal communication cues, and communication boards,” Sharon explains. 

And when it comes to swallowing, she assists people who have coughing or choking issues to remain independent and safe to go about everyday activities,
like eating lunch.

So if you want a super employable career, you’re in luck. “Currently there are not enough speechies and there’s a huge demand for speech services. If you’re thinking of studying speech, just know you will be so appreciated by the clientele that need you!” Sharon says.

Sharon’s STEM study and career path

  • Bachelor of Speech Pathology, ECU
  • Cert II in Sport and Recreation, North Regional TAFE
  • Certified practicing speech pathologist, Speech Pathology Australia

#5 George Goin, environmental health assistant

George’s STEM career as an environmental health assistant has him exploring Perth and helping its people!

No two days on the job are the same for George. As an environmental health assistant for the City of Perth, he protects, promotes, and improves public health to prevent people from getting sick from their environment. This includes inspecting, educating, running projects, assessing, planning, and monitoring everything from drinking water to tattoos and piercings.

George says the coolest thing about this gig is that he’s able to be out of the office while undertaking inspections and enjoying what Perth has to offer!

But how did he get here? Driven by wanting a career that would be helpful to his community, George (who liked maths and science at school) studied a Diploma of Environmental Health at ECU. At uni, he loved the interaction with his peers and the assistance provided by his lecturers. He also enjoyed learning about anatomy and toxicology, which has been handy in his current role.

If environmental health sounds like the right path for you, George says there are many great opportunities. “It covers a wide range of different careers, like environmental health officer, hygienist, and working with youth, the community or even mining.”

George’s STEM study and career path

  • Bachelor of Health Science, ECU
  • Diploma of Environmental Health, ECU
  • Food safety supervisor, Australian Institute of Food Safety
  • Lead food safety auditor, Australian College of Training
  • Environmental health assistant, City of Perth

These profiles were brought to you in partnership with ECU. A version of it was originally published in Careers with STEM: Health, where you can read about more health science careers.

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