Undeterred by the threat to their own health, or the sacrifices they would need to make to keep loved ones safe, University of Tasmania graduates were on the frontline when their community needed them most.
Whether it was tending to the sick, searching for chinks in the armour of the coronavirus, or finding new ways to work in their respective fields, the alumni community were quick to offer their expertise to help others.
Some graduates, like alumna Sophie Cunningham (BN 2012, BNClinHons 2014, GradCertN2016) went above and beyond to serve during the height of the global pandemic.
When the Royal Australian Navy issued a call for help on the frontline during the outbreak in Victoria, the Royal Hobart Hospital ICU nurse knew instantly she wanted to be part of the support efforts.
The Burnie-born nurse landed in Melbourne within 48 hours of answering the call-out, where she worked in a drive-through testing facility set up in the Melbourne Showground.
“When I was there, they were just starting to lock everything down, so I got to see the shift in public perception, people became quite scared as the virus began to spread.
”Sophie was required to quarantine for 14 days upon her return to Tasmania.
“Being part of a close-knit team that were all working to help the Australian community was a really worthwhile experience; I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” she said.
Sophie has always had a desire to make a difference. The first country she visited upon leaving Australia was India.
“It was a shock and it made me realise that I wanted to help those who needed it most.”
She later spent time working in Africa.
In 2018 she joined the Navy Reservists because she felt it would enable her to continue to use her expertise further afield to help others.
- by Lucie van den Berg
Picture credit: Navy Reservist Sophie Cunningham worked in Melbourne during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. LAC John Soloman.