When Sonia Chapman walks across the graduation stage, she’ll be followed closely by her brother in the very same ceremony with their parents proudly watching on.
The mother of three (with one on the way) will also be cheered on by her children, husband and sister-in-law.
Mrs Chapman and Jesse Markert (Bachelor of Engineering), along with about 600 fellow University of Southern Queensland students, will be celebrated during graduation ceremonies at the Empire Theatre this week.
The Bachelor of Science (Psychology) graduand will also be named a faculty medallist for her outstanding academic achievement during her studies.
“One thing I found about university is that you get out what you put in – it’ll set you up for success if you work hard,” Mrs Chapman said.
“It felt amazing when I found out that I would be a faculty medallist as it was acknowledgment of all the time and dedication put in over the past few years.”
She was inspired to study after doing volunteer work with Share the Dignity, distributing sanitary items to women and girls experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or doing it tough.
“Hearing the women’s stories really moved me and made me want to spend my life helping people,” Mrs Chapman said.
“Then subjects that really stood out during my degree came from the Child and Family electives, so now I hope to pursue my masters in the area of early education to help children with behaviour issues and those who have experienced abuse and neglect.”
Of course, her first job after graduation will be delivering baby number four.
“When I started at University, I had two children and then had my third during COVID in 2020, so it’s been a few busy years.
“In addition to help with the kids’ activities and school fundraisers, I’ve worked at the University iConnect, as study skills assistant helping students with disabilities; and served as the treasurer on the Student Representative Committee.
"I also had really great support from family and friends throughout my degree."
Find out more about the University of Southern Queensland’s Graduations Ceremonies.