When Martina Donkers began her honours year, she got a lot of doubtful questions. But five years on, she says her Honours in Science Communication and Drama has been the most valuable part of her education.
Before starting Honours, Martina had already decided she was not going into drama professionally, and had a hunch full-time research was not for her either.
"People would ask why I would spend a year of my life on something that wasn't going to add to my career," she said.
"The answer I gave at the time was because I was interested. I had a question I wanted to explore. I wanted to see if I could find an answer and contribute to some knowledge."
Now, reflecting five years on, Martina sees her Honours year as the thing that most enabled her to be successful.
"The vocational value of my Honours has been immense, in ways that are just now really starting to become obvious."
Martina described a project proposal she is currently writing for a particular type of therapy in perinatal mental health. It is not related to her Honours topic — but she says it was her experience designing, executing and assessing her own major project during her Honours year that gave her necessary skill base.
"I'm working with subject matter experts who tell me what I need to know about the field — I contribute value around the project structure itself."
"I do the same thing to develop innovations in aged care, support people with a disability in the workplace, and introduce low-tech solutions to improve supply chain management for anti-malarial drugs in sub-Saharan Africa."
The other major skill area her Honours year contributed to was writing. The pressure to develop a long, well-researched, robust and coherent argument for her thesis made it an easy step to writing up professional projects.
"So many people question why you would do Honours. People think it only leads to a PhD or a research career, that it has very limited real-world value.
"My experience has been the exact opposite of that."
Martina Donkers completed her Honours in Science Communication and Drama under the supervision of CPAS's Dr Lindy Orthia.