Scholarship recipient driven by her experience of trauma

September 17, 2010

Vice Chancellor Professor John Yovich, Claire McArthur and Chancellor Terry Budge

Overcoming personal trauma has given Claire McArthur the inspiration to become the best clinical psychologist she can be.

Claire, who was the first recipient of the Murdoch University Banksia Association Honours Scholarship, graduated with Honours last night.

Although she started her undergraduate studies in psychology in 2005, the experience of losing her partner to suicide in 2007 has given her a deep insight into the important healing role psychologists play.

“My partner suffered from a multitude of psychological problems and watching him struggle to cope was unbearable,” Claire said.

“His life was such a terrible waste that it has motivated me to try and help others facing similar situations.”

The $10,000 Banksia Association scholarship provides recipients with financial assistance during their Honours year. It was established and is funded by Banksia Association members to encourage students with exceptional potential and excellent academic achievement to continue their education at Murdoch.

Receiving the scholarship allowed Claire to complete her Honours, attend the Australian Psychological Society annual conference in Darwin and two seminars about childhood trauma by the Australian Childhood Foundation.

“The scholarship provided me with a great learning opportunity,” she said.

“Attending conferences and seminars gave me the chance to think about my areas of interest and what I might like to specialise in.

“Needing to spend less hours working I was also able to volunteer for the Murdoch University Psychology Association, as secretary and vice president. The Association is a student-run volunteer organisation that runs academic and social events for psychology students.”

Claire said that without the help of the Banksia Association she would not have been able to further her studies as much as she has.

“I am grateful to the Banksia Association members for giving me the chance to further my education,” Claire said.

The future looks bright for Claire who has already secured her first job.  She is now working as a Youth Development Officer at the Billy Dower Youth Centre, a service provided by the City of Mandurah.

“I’m excited about my new role as because it means I can finally do something practical with what I have learned, she said.

”I’m looking forward to working in a supportive role with disadvantaged youths to hopefully help them facilitate changes in their lives.”

The Murdoch University Banksia Association maintains the University’s connection with a special group of individuals who have made an impact on Murdoch University during its 35-year history. Banksia Association members include past external members of the University Senate, individuals who have been awarded Honorary Degrees, Emeritus Professors and others.

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Media contact: Hayley Mayne
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