PROUD RESULT: CQUniversity Chancellor John Abbott with graduate Shae Marr.
PROUD RESULT: CQUniversity Chancellor John Abbott with graduate Shae Marr. Contributed

Emerald mum celebrates the day she thought would never come

EMERALD woman Shae Marr had her whole world turn upside down when she found out some exciting news.

Ms Marr had planned to progress straight from high school to university in Brisbane but found out she was pregnant with her first son, only a few days before flying out.

She found the flexibility of CQUniversity study critical as she completed her Bachelor of Science (Applied Chemistry) with Distinction, while raising four young boys.

"It was four years later when I started seeing my friends starting to graduate that I decided I should have another go at enrolling in tertiary study," she said.

"I was working in retail but securing a CQUniCares BHP Indigenous Scholarship gave me the freedom to focus on my studies, while also funding child care."

Ms Marr now has two young boys and has also helped care for her partner's two young sons for the past 18 months.

She also juggled her study alongside a volunteer role as director and chairwoman of Central Highlands Aboriginal Corporation.

"My life was pretty full on as a mother, student and volunteer," she said.

"It certainly helped being able to study via distance education, meaning I only had to come to Rockhampton for residential schools, where I really enjoyed putting my knowledge into practice.

"My assignment for Food Science and Analysis was published in an international scientific journal during my second year, under the title: The Use of Electrochemical Biosensors in Food Analysis.

"As well as being a proud indigenous student, I have the accomplishment of being the first in my family to graduate university."

Ms Marr was delighted to be offered a role with the Emerald office of a global firm, SLR Consulting, while she was still completing her exams.

Her job focus is on monitoring groundwater quality at local mine sites, ensuring compliance with environment agreements and reporting to government, meaning she spends about a third of her work time in the field.