Graduate story: Ben Newton
Disability Discrimination Act Community Engagement Officer
Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), 2010
Bachelor of Psychological Science
Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours
I enrolled in a psychology degree to gain a better understanding of why people think and feel and act in the way they do. That the course was fully accredited was very influential in my decision to study at Southern Cross University, as was the promise of smaller class sizes and more one-on-one time with lecturers and tutors.
The Coffs Harbour campus was great in terms of accessibility, and staff and students were always happy to help if I needed it. I was representing NSW in wheelchair rugby during my studies and often travelled interstate to compete or attend training camps and my lecturers/tutors were always supportive. Attending the HCSNet Summerfest Conference at UNSW during my fourth year, as a member of the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Behaviour, was one of the highlights of my university experience.
After graduating, I focused on playing wheelchair rugby and, in December 2010, was selected to represent Australia. As part of its employment program for Paralympic athletes, Queensland Rail appointed me to its Accessibility Team and I am now helping to improve the accessibility of the rail network and services, and staff training procedures relating to customers with disabilities.
The statistical, high-level writing and public speaking skills I developed at SCU have proven invaluable in my current role, and my knowledge of mental health issues is also very useful.
I continue to train at an elite level as I work towards representing Australia and competing for a gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympics. I also have an interest in Sports Psychology, which I am considering pursuing through aMasters degree. I would love to apply my knowledge, skills and experience to working with fellow Paralympic athletes.
Updated: 29 October 2012