Claire Marnane completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree with a major in psychology, and believes that the practical aspects of her degree gave her skills that are valuable in any career. “There was a big emphasis on developing expertise in both independent work and team projects, which are undoubtedly useful experiences as well as perennially favourite topics for job interviewers. I was surprised at how comfortable I became giving presentations during my undergraduate course, which is something that I’ve used time and time again since graduation.”
Claire says that a science degree at University of Sydney provides a broad grounding in different subjects. “This is so important, because you never know what specific skills will be valued in the jobs that will be available after you graduate. I studied biology as part of my undergraduate degree, which I didn’t think I’d use a lot. Years later, I was surprised at how useful that knowledge was as a platform for understanding diet and disease relationships in my nutrition course,” Claire explains. “It’s about walking that line between keeping a clear focus on where you want your degree to take you, while also trying to introduce knowledge, skills and experiences in as many different fields as possible to balance your prospects.”
After completing her undergraduate degree, Claire worked as a research assistant in a teaching hospital, at a clinic treating anxiety disorders. She then decided to complete further training in the field of dietetics, and completed a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at Sydney. “When I studied dietetic treatment of eating disorders I realised I’d found the perfect hybrid of psychology and dietetics,” she says. Marnane now works part-time as a clinical dietitian in the eating disorders unit at Wesley Hospital, where she’s also research active, and does research for the Psychiatry Research and Teaching Unit at Liverpool Hospital.
“Undergraduate science gives you a firm grounding to undertake research, especially in knowing where to obtain credible sources of information. These days anyone can post “information” on the web; paradoxically, the plentiful internet sources have made it harder than ever to find accurate facts amongst the reams of misinformation. Working in dietetics, I regularly see internet sites making claims about foods that aren’t supported by the evidence cited – so for me, it’s a critical skill to be able to evaluate the scientific research first-hand.”