Q&A with Ms Katherine Jukic

June, 2011

Katherine Jukic

Katherine Jukic graduated from the University of Sydney in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) with Honours Class I. From 2003 to 2008, Katherine was a casual academic within the Human Nutrition Unit. In 2008, she joined the School of Molecular Bioscience as an Associate Lecturer.

Katherine is responsible for coordinating and teaching in a number of undergraduate and postgraduate units of study. She is committed to quality assurance and improvement in teaching as well as enhancing the student learning experience. This was acknowledged last year when Katherine was awarded the Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Citation.

Katherine is also passionate about developing her skills as a researcher. She commenced her PhD at the start of this year on the topic of the quality of protein in commercial foods.

Do you remember when the idea first crystallized that you would become an academic?

While I was in High School I realised I wanted to be a teacher, however teaching primary or secondary students wasn’t the path I wanted to take. After completing my degree, I was offered some tutoring work at the University of Sydney and I loved it. I have worked as a Dietitian in research, consulting and private practice environments, but teaching has always been top of my list.

Who do you think has been your most influential mentor(s) during your career?

Each member of the Discipline of Nutrition and Dietetics inspires me in different ways; all are highly committed to advancing their academic careers and achievements within the Dietetic profession. Jill Johnston and Helen Agus inspire me with their commitment to teaching and learning, and are invaluable for their insights and ideas. I am also inspired by A/Prof Gareth Denyer’s lecturing skills, his ongoing positive relationship with students, and his commitment to innovation in teaching practice.

3. What discovery, related to your PhD research, would you most want to be awarded the Nobel Prize for? What do you think is the most pressing and exciting question in your field?

My PhD topic is my focus and passion, so I’d love to win a Nobel Prize for my work in that area. I will be using a modelling approach to help determine the quality of protein in commercial foods. I believe this will have positive implications for the food supply, food industry, and Dietetic practice.

What are the most exciting things happening in your teaching at the moment?

It was very exciting to be awarded the Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching citation last year. In my current position, there is a continuous attempt to try different things to aid student learning, to enhance their reflective skills and their engagement with other students. Quality assurance and improvement initiatives are paramount and my aim is to publish the outcomes of these in the near future.

What do you enjoy most about being in academia?

I enjoy knowing that I can make a difference to the learning experience of future Dietetic professionals. I enjoy being able to challenge myself as a teacher, colleague and researcher.

I have been able to take on opportunities that have furthered my knowledge of good teaching practice, such as the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies that I completed last year.

What are you most passionate about outside the lecture theatre?

I am very passionate about my PhD research. This has allowed me to do research in an area in which I have a genuine interest. It has also allowed me to collaborate with the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (at which I am enrolled), as well as other universities. I have been able to meet some inspirational and internationally renowned academics in the area of protein and protein quality; this has been a highlight.

What achievement outside of your work are you most proud of?

I love to travel when I get the chance, and I am proud of all the places I’ve seen around the world and across Australia. There will be more travel coming up, I’m sure!