Ciara Duffy (2011) Inspires Year 12 Students

It was really amazing to listen to Ciara Duffy’s personal journey and how it fuelled her passion in the study of science and, specifically, human biology.

Our Year 12 Human Biology class felt a sense of relief when we realised that Ciara was certain she wanted to study medicine, yet after experiencing obstacles, she discovered a new passion in the area of medical research.

Ciara undertook a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Anatomy and Human Biology/Physiology at the University of Western Australia. She then went on to do her honours in Anatomy and Human Biology. Finding inspiration from her mother’s battle with cancer, she chose to work with senior scientists in studying the effects of honey bee venom on breast cancer cells.

Ciara’s discussion of her research was fascinating, and also emotional. She described the first time she realised the honeybee venom could actually provide a treatment for breast cancer. She went on to undertake her PhD through the School of Human Sciences. This allowed her to continue her research, collecting further data, and gathering the venom from bumble bees and honey bees from all around the world.

It was obvious Ciara was incredibly passionate about her studies and refreshingly hopeful for the future of medical research. It was really valuable for us as Year 12 students to comprehend how Ciara overcame the adversity she faced, with her mother being diagnosed with breast cancer. In coping with this difficult news, whilst completing her second year of university, her circumstances became a reason for her to prosper in her chosen university field.

Ciara’s talk ultimately emphasised how our own circumstances and work ethic can enable us to discover a passion in our lives and possibly even encourage further study in that area.

Natasha Stevens and Steph Haines, Year 12

Parents participating in a discussion during Santa Maria College's 'Parent Voice' evening, highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion in education.

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