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How Coast mum-of-five mastered her career with Southern Cross Uni


Jessica Nelson
19 January 2021

For mother-of-five Amy Ella, graduating with her Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Southern Cross University is an incredible achievement that will impact many lives.

Amy is one of hundreds of postgraduate students who will attend Southern Cross University graduation in March, joining a group of alumni who are creating meaningful change in industries such as health, law, business and IT, engineering management, education, the arts, and who officially enjoy some of Australia’s best graduate salaries (Good Universities Guide).

But for Amy, her passion for helping people was the motivation to pursue further study at Southern Cross, when her youngest child started pre-school.

At 32-years-old, the Tweed Coast local enrolled in the Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science, with the thought to pursue Physiotherapy, then decided to instead continue with the Masters of Clinical Exercise Physiology to become an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

“I want to help people who are living with chronic conditions, to help alleviate their pain. About one in three people are living in pain, so there’s a huge need in the community for treatments that can assist,” said Amy, who has now secured fulltime work as an exercise physiologist at Club Active Tweed Heads.

“Using exercise as medicine is a very rewarding job to be in – it was a career path that sounded appealing to me.”

Amy says her journey back into study as a mum-of-five had its challenges, but through the constant support of Southern Cross University lecturers and clinic staff, plus the backing of her family, she couldn’t be prouder of what she’s achieved.

“I never thought I’d be smart enough to go to University, but when I got in and gave it a crack, not only was I able to gain my Bachelor degree with flying colours, but now to have my Masters is such a big achievement for me.

“To come from not believing in myself, to now finishing this degree while being a mum, it’s a massive confidence booster for me, and it’s done wonders. I’m just so stoked to be done and it’s an amazing feeling. There are no words to describe how I’m feeling – ecstatic obviously.

“Southern Cross University Gold Coast has amazing fresh new facilities such as the new Move Room, and it’s given me plenty of opportunities to be very hands in the labs and in the clinic on campus treating clients where I’ve learned a lot.”

Hi my name is Amy Ella and I study a Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology at Southern Cross University. I've always had a passion in helping people.

I started a Bachelor in Exercise Science and then the opportunity came to study a Masters of Clinical Exercise Physiology and I liked the thought of using exercise as medicine. So I was 32 and I just knew that I was at that point when my youngest was three or preschool age and I just knew I wanted to follow my passion and that was to work with people in the sporting industry.

I didn't think I was smart enough to go to uni so I've got in there just going let's do this and then never looked back. Southern Cross University Gold Coast here obviously it's really fresh and new and it's given me plenty of opportunities to be very hands-on and then just being here in the clinic and actually having people come in who we get to see and help here at the university and our new move room which is a fantastic facility. It's been a really big journey, I had to jump many hurdles some challenging ones obviously being a mum of five beautiful children, just hanging in there and just working hard and got through to the end. There's actually no words I’m ecstatic obviously it is such a big achievement for me to come from not believing in myself to finishing and being a mum like I said. It's a massive confidence booster for me and it's done wonders.

My name's Katie Hotko and I'm studying my PhD at Southern Cross University exploring teachers’ creative self-beliefs and how that interacts with art making. I've had a really exciting couple of years exploring those issues. So I've taught visual arts in the community particularly focusing on children. I love watching children create they have such bravery and that's my real area of passion is helping people who don't feel confident to create to find out that everyone can do it. So that's what brought me here, to find out ways that we can really empower people to create using the visual arts. Southern Cross has really given me a really welcoming and supportive community of scholars being a smaller university I have so many connections with other people and I've, it's become like a real family so that's the highlight for me. I would encourage someone who is considering postgraduate study to apply at Southern Cross I have never met a more supportive group of scholars with the supervisors they care so much about your success and will bring you in as colleagues in postgraduate studies.

My name is Priscila Cezar I'm studying a Master of Engineering Management and an MBA at Southern Cross University. I chose the Master of Engineering Management because I graduated in Brazil in Civil Engineering and I wanted to specialise in Australia, to get a good job, to work as a manager in a great organisation. And (I chose) the MBA is because in the future I want to have my own business and I'm like building the foundation to it. I discovered I want to lead people and this degree helped me to see myself. I chose this university because it's really cool to live in Gold Coast by the beach. What I like most about Southern Cross University is of course the team because they are really supportive and they really care about the students. I really recommend the Southern Cross University it has been a fantastic journey I'm enjoying and I'm learning a lot.

Southern Cross University Education PhD researcher Katie Hotko is exploring teacher’s creative self-beliefs and how it interacts with art-making, after years of teaching community art to children and adults.

“I’ve always wanted to study, and then I met Professor Lexi Lasczik who is really passionate about the arts in education. Through our relationship I decided to come on to explore the role of creativity for primary teachers,” Katie said.

“I would encourage anyone who is considering postgraduate study to apply at Southern Cross. I have never met a more supportive group of scholars, with supervisors who care so much about your success and bring you in as colleagues.”

For International postgraduate student Priscila Cezar, studying her combined Master of Engineering Management and MBA at Southern Cross, meant she could further her career while making the most of the incredible campus location overlooking North Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast.

“I studied my Bachelor of Civil Engineering in my home country Brazil and I wanted to pursue postgraduate study to expand my leadership skills and give me more career opportunities in management, and one day own my own business,” Priscila said.

“Southern Cross has a really good international support team, which I love most about the University. They’ve cared for us so well throughout 2020, and the University community has become like my family.”

Postgraduate scholarships are available to domestic and international students for a range of courses. Apply now to further your career with postgraduate study at Southern Cross University. Visit


Media contact: Jessica Nelson, media office at Southern Cross University, 0417 288 794 or [email protected]