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Strengthening community is a passion for award-winning student physio

Published:15 November 2022

Award-winning physiotherapy student Abeshek Nadarajah.

He’s building a career to help people stay healthy, and CQUniversity physiotherapy student Abeshek (Abe) Nadarajah is already creating healthy communities, too.

The enthusiastic fourth-year Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) student has received the 2022 Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) Board of Directors Award, recognising his diverse community contributions.

Abeshek, who moved from Melbourne to Rockhampton to take on his studies with CQUniversity, has lived at Capricornia College since 2019, been a student mentor and events coordinator, and volunteered with a wide range of community organisations.

While it’s made life hectic for the 23-year-old, he said the experience has grown his skills, and helped prepare him for an exciting career in physiotherapy.

“For the past four years, I’ve really taken every chance I can to get involved in both my academic and extra curricular interests, and I am grateful for being supported by an amazing University as well as a  supportive community in Rockhampton,” he said.

“The decision to move to Rockhampton was for the degree, and I am so grateful for the quality education and mentorship I received as well as the small class sizes, something you might not see at other universities. My time in Rockhampton has come with so many new opportunities to grow my experience and connections as well."

Over the past 12 months Abe has completed his final clinical placements as a student which has helped prepare him for his dream career.

CQUniversity Physiotherapy Senior Lecturer Dr Luke Heales said Abeshek’s attitude was a perfect fit for the physiotherapy profession, and the APA award was well deserved.

“Abeshek has exceptional skills in communication, time management, project management, and teamwork… and I am confident we will see him as a future leader within our profession,” he said.

Organising events from Great Keppel Island trips to pub-crawls and colour runs for Capricornia College, Abeshek has also been central to ensuring a fun and friendly atmosphere on campus, even leading community events remotely through the challenges of the pandemic.

As a Change Champion at CQUniversity, Abeshek and his colleagues even partnered with social enterprise SecondBite to provide food to struggling students following job losses and financial hardship when COVID-19 hit.

APA Operations Manager Sam Goodier praised Abeshek’s broad community commitments.

“(Abeshek’s) extensive contribution to the student and university networks whilst living at Capricornia College demonstrates (his) ability to connect, engage and contribute as a team member and as a leader,” he said.

“(His) efforts and innovative approach to support students impacted by COVID lockdowns, in particular partnering with SecondBite, is heartwarming and inspirational.”

Abeshek has previously been awarded the Capricornia College Academic Award, and the highly prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Leadership Excellence in 2019.

He’s also represented CQUniversity at the NEXT Impact international conference led by Stanford Social Innovation, and is the co-founder of the AT Academy, providing educational services, private tutoring, and student mentoring to high school and university students across Melbourne.

As part of the Student Prize, Abeshek receives $1000 from the APA and a further $500 for professional development, as well as graduate membership to the APA.

Available to study on campus in Rockhampton and Bundaberg, the four-year Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) at CQUniversity is accredited by the Australian Physiotherapy Council.

The degree features extensive real-world learning in purpose-built labs, and professional practice placements.

Visit cqu.edu.au/courses/physiotherapy to learn more, and register your interest to study in 2023.