“I feel inspired to continue to learn with an open heart and open mind.” Dr Simonne Neil, the inaugural Professor Robert Thomas OAM Dux of the Master of Cancer Sciences says her experience undertaking the Masters has reinvigorated her passion for learning and desire to make an impact in cancer.
The Master of Cancer Sciences virtual showcase, held on 6 April, celebrated the achievements of the class of 2021, graduating from the University of Melbourne degree, offered in partnership with the VCCC Alliance.
Twenty-six scholars graduated with a Master's qualification from this innovative, expert-led fully online degree in 2021. Many more achieved graduate and specialist certificate qualifications to support their professional careers.
Does it spark joy?
Keynote speaker at the showcase event, Professor Sanchia Aranda AM, Deputy Chair of the VCCC Alliance, spoke of the diversity of opportunities in careers working to improve cancer outcomes and encouraged scholars to think about their ‘why’. In her experience, a successful career is more than accomplishments: it is knowing your strengths and knowing your worth that makes a difference. Citing examples of people who have carved out inspiring careers by layering different aspects to their work including voluntary roles, she encouraged graduates to Marie Kondo their work lives, and ask, ‘Does it spark joy?’
After hearing to the presentations of the research projects, Professor Robert Thomas OAM, former Deputy Chair of the VCCC Alliance and author of over 100 scientific papers - honoured for the first time at the showcase with the naming of the Masters Dux in perpetuity - reflected on how inspiring it was to hear the quality, care and nuance of the presentations.
“I have loved hearing the presentations tonight. In my professional life, I have seen cancer care transform from a one-dimensional approach to a multidisciplinary approach,” he said. “We have seen clinical improvements, new research, and importantly, system-level changes.
"Cancer care has come a long way. The quality and diversity of the graduates we have seen are further evidence of that.”
Co-convenor of the Master of Cancer Sciences, Associate Professor David Kok, said the quality of the graduates and the high calibre of work they had produced was simply outstanding.
“The outputs of this program are going from strength to strength. We’ve seen an amazing cross-section of talented people in this cohort and it’s great to see their efforts come to fruition,” he said. “I congratulate each one of them on their achievement. As Professor Thomas said, keep your ears and eyes open and go where your spirit takes you.”
The Master of Cancer Sciences Awards 2021, presented by Professor Simon Bell, Head, Melbourne School of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of Melbourne were:
The VCCC Alliance Professor Robert Thomas OAM Dux:
Dr Simonne Neil
Ms Lauren Davies
Ms Lauren Davies
The next intake for the Master of Cancer Sciences program - including Graduate Certificate and Specialist Certificate pathways, is now open for students anywhere around the globe.
Learn more about the program from Pey Wen Mak, a Master of Cancer Sciences graduate and pharmacist.