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Kicking goals – how one Western graduate is helping The Matildas achieve world football domination

When The Matildas began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup, a Western Sydney University PhD student had a keener interest....

When The Matildas began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign by hammering 18 goals past Indonesia on the first day, one Western Sydney University PhD student had a keener – and closer – interest than most.

 

 

Tim Massard, a Bachelor of Health Science (Sport and Exercise Science) graduate and current PhD student, is the Strength and Conditioning Assistant for the Matildas. Having played football from the age of five, Tim’s love for sport, combined with his interest in science, led him to pursue a Bachelor of Health Science, with a major in Sport and Exercise Science at Western. “It seemed like the natural merge of those two interests,” said Tim who truly relishes his role with the Matildas, further adding, “and it just seemed like a good career to try and work in.”

But Tim’s academic success wasn’t instantaneous. “In high school you have someone constantly demanding work from you,” said Tim, “but then as soon as you’re at university it’s a bit more self-driven and it takes some time to get used to that, you really have to be on top of your own work you don’t really have anyone to chase you up. That was probably the trickiest transition for me.”

The Bachelor of Health Sciences degree starts with core subjects, before students choose a Major and branch off to more specialised learning. On being asked if the core subjects have been relevant to his career, he said, “Looking back on my degree, the way that this profession works, it’s so multidisciplinary and being able to have a better understanding of the fundamentals of other health professions, at least having a grounding in it, is super important.”

Alongside working with the Matildas, Tim is also employed as a strength and conditioning coach at the Westfield Sports High School, a public school at Fairfield in NSW that is a centre for excellence in sport. “My PhD was a placed scholarship at Westfield Sports High,” Tim said. “I was placed there for two years as part of my PhD, and in 2021 I was employed by the School.” Tim has been impressed by the School’s professionalism. “The level of quality at Westfield Sports High is really, really high,” he told us. “The facilities – especially the gym facilities, would be the envy of professional sporting teams.”

It was through Westfield Sports High that Tim’s opportunity with The Matildas presented itself. Westfield’s Head of Physical Performance, Tony Wignell, is also the Head of Strength and Conditioning for The Matildas. “I developed a good working relationship with Tony,” said Tim, “and he would ask for my opinion, we would work away at stuff or he would have certain data and he would talk to me about how best to visualise it or present that. We did that informally for a couple of years, and then The Matildas said they wanted him to hire an assistant and he told them, ‘I have pretty much already got one’!”

Although Tim seems to be a natural for both his current roles, his path wasn’t immediately laid out after he finished his Bachelor’s degree. “I connected with Associate Professor Ric Lovell at Western, and I ended up doing postgraduate degrees with him as my main supervisor,” said Tim. “I was unsure which pathway would be the one that I wanted to pursue, but Ric’s advice was that if I did a masters by research I would get academic experience, but if I was clever about what research question I focused on and how I set up my research it would give me practical experience as well.”

It was a strategy that paid off for Tim. “I worked with state league football teams as their sports scientist, and then when I finished that I was still on the fence about which way I wanted to go, henceforth, I extended the experience and did a PhD program with Western and Westfield Sports High School, so I’m continuing to get experience in both the professional and academic realms.”

Tim was part of the Matildas’ support team for the Tokyo Olympics, an experience that was unforgettable. “It was disappointing to know we could have won a medal; we were so close but at the same time it was one of the first times we’ve really shown in a global tournament that we’re contenders,” said Tim. “In the past Australian footballers have been stereotyped as being really hard working but not being tactically very good. It’s much harder to teach work ethic, and I think now we’re starting to lift the technical and tactical side, and matching it to the level of physical prowess that we have.” Tim believes this bodes well for the Matildas’ chances in the coming years. “The fact that we’re constantly improving technically and tactically and we’ve already had a history of high physical capacity, it’s all starting to combine into hopefully peaking in the 2023 World Cup.”

The Matilda’s began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign on Friday, 21nd January at 9.00 p.m. AEDT. Click here to have a look at their remaining fixtures. All games will be broadcast in Australia live and free via Network Ten and 10 Play.

Editor’s note: The Matildas’ journey in the AFC concluded with a quarter-final finish after a 0-1 loss to Korea Republic on 30 January, 2021.

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Cup49 makes DIY bubble tea a reality

By TILEAH DOBSON With Australia being a multicultural country, it was only a matter of time for Taiwan’s boba tea to make its way Down Under. With t...

By TILEAH DOBSON

With Australia being a multicultural country, it was only a matter of time for Taiwan’s boba tea to make its way Down Under. With the rise of franchise chains like Chatime, Gong Cha and Sharetea, bubble tea has become a popular beverage.

Prompting some health benefits through their various black and green teas, the customization and overall taste are why this beverage is immensely popular with residents, particularly university students.

Despite its immense popularity, the constant cost of buying one individual serving can add up over time. Thankfully, a rise of small businesses that can cater to the bubble tea need has emerged. One such local small business is Cup49.

Based in Melbourne, this small business is run by Serene Lim and was established in 2019 by Lim and her friend. Loving bubble tea but hating the plastic waste from the cups, Lim and her friend began their business by selling reusable cups.

“It all started when I saw the photo attached on Facebook of a large construction bin overfilled with plastic cups from various bubble tea brands. I love bubble tea and treat myself weekly but have never thought much about the consequences of my bubble tea addiction, until this photo,” Lim said.

“From our research, on average, a bubble tea store in Melbourne sells about 48 cups of bubble tea per hour. That’s 48 plastic cups, 48 plastic straws, 48 plastic lids and 48 plastic bags that will end up in our oceans or landfill. We decided on the name Cup 49 in hopes that our cup will be the 49th and forever reusable bubble teacup.”

What started out as a way to sell reusable cups, Cup49 has grown significantly. Photo: Supplied.

“We then expanded our range to DIY bubble tea kits because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were in lockdown and couldn’t get our bubble tea fix without breaking the bank. I remember uber-ing a single bubble tea and paying $15.49 for it! So I thought there must be a way for all of us to make bubble tea in the comfort of home, customised to our preference without going broke.”

 

What started as a small business had quickly grown into a bubble tea enterprise, largely thanks to loyal customers. A small team of nine, Cup49 aims to ensure people can get their delicious tea whilst keeping the planet cleaner.

 

Lim sympathised with university students who often spent money on bubble tea and encourages Western Sydney University (WSU) students to check out her website.

“I remember not having much money back in university and would have really loved a cost-effective DIY bubble tea solution. All those late nights studying for exams in the law library with massive uncurbed bubble tea cravings because there were no bubble tea shops near me,” Lim said.

 

Ideas for new products is a combined effort from Lin’s team and her community of loyal customers, affectionately nicknamed Boba Baes. While still working on getting halal certification for customers, Cup49 products are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. There are plenty of fruit teas available for those who cannot handle dairy as well.

 

Lim is continuously grateful for the support from not only her customers, but her team, family, and friends.

“We get heaps of support from family and customers. My dad folds our blue tissue paper, my mum helps with accounts, my in-laws and siblings help pack orders when we need the extra hand. My husband pretty much supports me in every aspect, mentally, physically, emotionally,” Lim said.

Cup49 offers two base teas for customers to pick and enjoy, Jasmine and Black tea. Photo: Supplied.

“We have the best customers ever; they’re always telling their friends and family about us and raving about our products on social media. You can see heaps of customer stories that we re-share on our Instagram cup.49. That’s not it, we’ve got customers who choose not to use a discount code just to support our small business. Like who does that!”

“It can get lonely and stressful running a small business yourself so I am so grateful to have the best support system.”

Lim’s large following on social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok has helped her business immensely. On her TikTok, she shows complete transparency with her followers on how orders are packed, what the warehouse looks like and even shows how to make various kinds of teas.

With bestsellers such as are Brown Sugar Milk Tea Kit, Ultimate Fruit Tea Combo Kit, Trio Popping Pearls and the one that started it all, Reusable Bubble Tea Cup Set, Lim and her team have a bright future ahead.

“I just find it interesting that we’ve been making tea, coffee, smoothies at home but making bubble tea at home only became a thing in the last 1-2 years. Now we have access to premium bubble tea ingredients with easy, quick recipes to make our perfect cup of bubble tea, wherever, whenever,” Lim said.

For more information about Cup49 or to place an order and support a small business, go to cup49.com.

Tileah Dobson is an editor for W’SUP and the news editor for the Sydney Sentinel.

P.S. If Cup49 wants to sponsor me, I won’t say no 😉

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Rameshwar Roy: “It is our duty to grab the chances whenever possible”

Rameshwar Roy takes us through his journey from Kolkata to speacialising in Aboriginal health with a Masters of Public Health...
Rameshwar’s Graduation at Western Sydney University (June 2021). Source: Rameshwar Roy.

Rameshwar Roy completed his Masters in Public Health last year after completing his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology – sticking to what he’s always wanted to do. After finishing his course, he started working in the lab sector, but his heart was looking for a person-centred role.

Interviewed by former W’SUP Director of Student Publications, Sarah Cupitt, Rameshwar shares the journey of how his involvement in various NGO projects led to the idea of further specialisation of his career in the health industry as an international student studying at WSU.

Udayan, in Kolkata, is an NGO that Steve Waugh contributed to which helped leprosy-affected children. Waugh’s association with Kolkata and the NGO shaped Rameshwar’s teenage years. Later, when he researched and found Australia as the 2nd top country for Health Service, he decided to study here at WSU to learn and gain experience.

How did you find a full-time job in the Health sector after graduating, especially in Aboriginal health?

“A health service job depends on experience – how much anyone can acquire throughout the study period. I attended a lot of seminars, workshops to understand the perspective of various organisations. I also attended seminar invitations hosted by other universities, which helped build a clear picture of the system-specific necessary information. The job market is always looking for an enthusiastic candidate, willing to learn and a good team player. Everyone has to be positive in attitude and try to help peers.

A helping attitude is one of the factors which employers try to find in candidates. From those activities, I got a chance to do some training on Aboriginal culture awareness, which helped me to get an extra advantage to become Service Delivery Coordinator for Aboriginal Health Service in Kimberly.”  

How has being an international student shaped your journey and the challenges you’ve faced?

“Being culturally and linguistically diverse, it is not easy to understand and absorb the different systems, cultures and pace [of the systems and cultures]. But the main thing is to keep the eyes and the heart open to learn. Understanding the subject content taught in university and how that can be utilised in the real field is the main factor. University professors were really helpful to grip the subject content as much as I needed. I got my first part-time job in the health sector through the University job portal – Career Hub.”

What programs at WSU assisted you in your journey to success?

“I would say the whole journey was very important to success. I did all the classes on campus except last semester online due to COVID 19. I also attended student activities arranged by the student union and student success committee, e.g., LEAD, 21C project, RUOK, Mentorship programs, internal and external seminars, subject related exhibitions. I attended all, participated actively and was the winner of few group projects. Those gave me a lot of ideas and experiences for future steps.”

LEAD Presentation Ceremony 2019 at Parramatta South Campus. Source: Rameshwar Roy.

If you could redo your university experience, is there anything you would do differently?

“Some student programs like Project Boost I would have liked to attend definitely. I could not participate in many research projects due to the pressure of the units in my degree subject. Recently I came across a new module named Engaging Students for Community Wellbeing which made me fascinated to join some research courses so that I can be part of the program. I wish to join similar projects later with more experience from work to contribute to the future health system.”

You mentioned you were involved in various NGO projects; what were they, and what’s a memorable experience you had with them?

“I was involved in different NGOs focused on various aspects in the health industry like mental health, gender quality, disease burden, refugee funds etc. Those are important episodes of my university journey in Australia. Back in India, I was part of those NGOs working on health service programs for sex workers and their children. All those experiences brought a lot of memories, challenges that words cannot describe. Still, it can be said, a single smile from the participant can bring all happiness after overcoming the challenges for them, and that encourages me to do more for the community.”

Rameshwar with Sydney Health Service Delivery Team. Source: Rameshwar Roy.

Rameshwar’s words of advice:

“It is very important to relate the units which are taught in the syllabus to the real world. That helps get a clear perspective of the education system required for future research or the job world. University provides a lot of exposure. It is our duty to grab the chances whenever possible.”

 

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COVID-19 through the eyes of a pharmacy assistant

Pharmacy assistants are used to seeing it all, but nothing could've prepared anyone for COVID-19....
Pharmacy assistant with gloves at register, EFTPOS machine in cling wrap. Image: Stephanie Clarke

Pharmacy assistants are used to seeing it all. Ingrown toenails, fungal infections, burns, open wounds … you name it. Although no two days in pharmacy are the same, nothing could have prepared us for the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a major impact on pharmacies and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. Panic-buying of items such as products containing paracetamol, hand sanitiser, face masks and sanitary pads have caused extensive shortages.

The initial panic began towards the end of February, with customers rushing into the shop looking for two things, face masks and hand sanitiser. Due to the amount of people asking for them, we created a waiting list, which has now grown to around 300 names.

In mid-March, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced that pharmacists would only be able to supply one month’s worth of certain prescription medication. They also announced that certain non-prescription medication such as paracetamol, would be limited to one per person.

As the weeks went on, people were forced to become more resourceful, as most of what they wanted was out of stock. They began to stock up on isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel. Which, you guessed it, they were using to create their own hand sanitiser!

Sign explaining the one per person limit. Image: Stephanie Clarke

Tensions began to rise as we enforced the TGA’s limits. People became furious about the fact that they could no longer get multiple months’ supply of their prescription medication and that they couldn’t buy two boxes of children’s paracetamol.

The children’s paracetamol section. Image: Stephanie Clarke

Our pharmacy is located in a shopping centre and is next door to Woolworths. It became apparent that people were coming into our store to get items that they could no longer find in Woolworths.

We were unable to cope with this massive influx of customers, even though we began to limit in-demand items to one per person. Before we knew it, there were hardly any sanitary pads or toothpaste and no tissues, baby wipes or soap.

The sanitary pads section. Image: Stephanie Clarke

These uncertain times have called for safety measures to be put in place to ensure that staff members and customers feel safe in our store, they include:

  • No longer offering beauty services (makeup application, consultations)
  • No longer doing ear piercing
  • Removing all testers (makeup included)
  • Placing cling wrap on the EFTPOS machines and changing it hourly
  • Wearing gloves when on the register
  • More frequent cleaning of surfaces and baskets
  • Social distancing is being enforced (crosses marked on floor for customers to safely stand on)

 

Social distancing being enforced at the dispensary. Image: Stephanie Clarke

One of my colleagues, Sue Lewis, has worked in the pharmacy sector for 29 years. “I’ve never experienced anything like what is currently going on,” she told me.

“I’m not really very stressed about the virus, I’ve been trying to reassure myself that we’re going to be okay.

“We’ve got intelligent people in the area who are going to do the right thing and stay home and self-isolate,” she said.

As pharmacies have been classified as an essential service and are therefore excluded from being shut down, staff are confident that things will remain the same for a while.

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Simple tips for a safer workspace

As everything moves online, having a safe environment to study and work is now important than ever. ...

With the Covid-19 quarantine situation that we are currently facing, there is an increase in demand for working online. For students, this means our entire studying has been transferred online, which means more time spent in front of a computer and more time using technology. It is becoming more important to have a safe environment to study and work without straining yourself, physically and mentally.

There is much information online about how to achieve an ergonomical setup at your workplace, but it’s hard for some people to achieve, especially in times like these, where you may not already have the space or be able to purchase certain items in order to create the ideal setup.

Sreya Sreenath, student at WSU Campbelltown campus, said that she felt it was important to have a safe setup when working from home. She said, “Since my studies are so important to me, I want to be working in an environment where I can be safe so I can work to the best of my ability.” She also expressed the concern that many other students during this time may also be facing. “I’m very lucky that I have a proper setup at home, but I can imagine how mentally and physically exhausting it’ll be for those who don’t.”

The WSU campus libraries are currently still open for those who need a study space. However, for those who cannot travel there are a few basic ways to achieve a safer space to work.

For one, make sure you are working at a desk. Working at your bed or on the couch can be very bad for your posture as you will often be hunched over. Working at any sort of table or desk with a chair that will support your back will prevent muscle soreness, as well as maintaining your posture.

Also, ensure that you are working in well-lit room, as this will reduce eye strains from the light emitted from computer screens, which could also lead to headaches that might affect your studies. Most technologies these days have night modes, which reduce the blue light emitted by your technologies and can reduce eye strains. If your technology does not have this setting, there are many apps that provide the same service, as well as glasses that you can buy that have blue light filters.

Additionally, It is always good to take breaks. Sometimes you may be rushing to finish an assignment or quiz, however, if you feel uncomfortable, you should take a break. Stand up and stretch, even if it’s for thirty seconds, make sure you aren’t seated in the same position for too long.

It is a stressful time, but it’s never a good idea to push yourself. If you have more time, make sure you are taking breaks from work. Walk around the house and stretch, or grab a bite to eat. Reduce your stress from by even just maybe watching an episode of your Netflix show. Make sure you aren’t overstressing yourself. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

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Why young and beautiful people get flu shots

Your friend gets the flu Lauren* looks like a university student you know.She wears her long hair in a ponytail and carries a backpack to class. But s...
Your friend gets the flu

Lauren* looks like a university student you know.She wears her long hair in a ponytail and carries a backpack to class. But she’s not like everyone else. One wrong move could put her in hospital.

Her eyes survey the lecture theatre carefully. She sees some new friends sitting near the front, but one of them is holding a tissue. She makes her way to the back of the class. No one saw her. The lecture starts. Phew! She’s safe for another day.

Lauren has been fighting an immune condition all her life. A simple cold or flu can make her sick for months or even send or her hospital. She doesn’t want her condition to hold her back, though. So she has decided to go to university anyway.

Thankfully, there are some simple things you can all do to help Lauren, and others at high risk of flu infection.

Who is at risk of flu?

Generally speaking, young adults are not at high risk from flu. However, various medical conditions can affect a person’s immunity and increase their flu risk at any age, even in young adults. These include Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Lyme disease, to name just a few. Many of these conditions will not be obvious to a casual observer, so you may not know your new classmate or friend has one of these high risk conditions.

If university or TAFE students catch influenza during examination times or when major assignments are due, it can have a major impact.

People living in confined spaces, such as dormitories can also be at higher risk of contracting influenza. The Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices encourages students and other people living in dormitories to be immunised.

In the broader community, young children and elderly adults are at highest risk of contracting influenza. This is because young children have not yet developed strong immune systems, and elderly adults can experience weakening of their immune systems with age.

Your flu jab could save your friend

You can help protect both yourself and the people around you by getting immunised. People with immune conditions, like Lauren, are not able to be immunised themselves. They count on the people around them to be immunised and provide protection via “herd immunity.”

Herd immunity is the protection that we gain from being surrounded by people who are immune to a disease. If the people around us, or our “herd” has been immunised, they are much less likely to get sick and spread those illnesses to us. For herd immunity to work, however, approximately 95 per cent of the “herd” needs to be vaccinated. This is why it is so important for healthy people to be vaccinated.

Dr Graham Jones, director of higher degree research and senior lecturer in human molecular biology at Western Sydney University, explains that: “Being immunised helps the community. If enough people are immunised, those most at risk – older people, young infants and people with reduced immunity – will be better protected. So being immunised every year is good for you and for the people around you.”

The following image from the National Institutes of Health (USA) explains herd immunity.

Herd immunity, as illustrated by the National Institutes of Health (USA)
When should you get vaccinated?

The best time to get vaccinated is June or July. Dr Jones explains that: “Historically, the peak time for the flu season is during August, but in some years cases of flu can already be on the increase in June. Immunisation primes your immune system to make antibodies that will fight the flu virus.”

Many workplaces provide free flu vaccinations for employees. Otherwise, the cost is usually approximately $20 from your doctor or pharmacist.

Are vaccinations dangerous?

The short answer is “No.” The perception that immunisations could be dangerous began due to an article published in a medical journal called The Lancet in 1998. It has since been revealed that the researchers responsible for this paper falsified their data and the paper has since been retracted.

Dr Jones points out that “large population-based studies have not found a link between vaccines and serious illness.”

Minor symptoms following vaccination such as a sore arm, redness and localised swelling are common and expected. These are indicators that your body is recognising the vaccine and starting to its work to build your immunity. “Serious adverse reactions to a vaccine are rare, at around 3.4 cases per million vaccinations,” said Dr Jones.

Of course, doctors and immunisation nurses are vigilant for even the slightest risk. It is for this reason that they will take a brief medical history before administering a vaccine. It is also why you will be asked to wait 15 minutes after vaccination before leaving the surgery.

Dr Jones advises: “If you have been feeling unwell, or have allergies, or other serious or chronic illnesses, you do need to inform your doctor or nurse prior to being immunised. It is important that you are informed about immunisation, so never hesitate to discuss any questions you may have with your doctor.”

Do flu vaccines work?

Immunisation is unquestionably one of the great successes of public health, significantly reducing infant mortality and keeping people healthier throughout their lives,” notes Dr Jones.

However, there are two important points to remember about flu vaccines: Firstly, the strains (or types) of flu virus circulating change from one flu season to the next. And secondly, your body takes approximately two weeks to develop immunity after you have a flu shot. Each year a new flu vaccine is manufactured to best protect against that year’s particular strains of flu.

“This means it is important to have a flu shot every year, and to have your flu shot early enough to allow your immune system to make antibodies,” says Dr Jones.

The 2017 flu season was the worst in Australia since 2009. More than 700 deaths in Australia were attributed to flu-related illnesses, and many more hospitalizations and days off work.

“While having a flu shot doesn’t mean you won’t be infected by the flu virus, it does mean that you are more likely to have much milder and shorter-lived symptoms.”

How to stop germs from spreading

If you do catch the flu, or if those around you catch it, there are some simple tricks you can use to prevent the germs from spreading. These include: 1) Coughing into a tissue and then throw the tissue away, 2) Coughing into your elbow like Dracula or The Count, 3) Washing your hands regularly and especially after coughing, 4) Not touching your face with your hands, and 5) Staying home if you’re really sick – ask a friend for their notes or watch the lecture online.

It’s also important to keep well in general. A balanced diet with ample iron, zinc and vitamin C will give your body the nutrients it needs to build immunity and fight infection. Getting enough sleep is also important for staying well.

*Editor’s note: None of the photos with this story show Lauren. In fact, we don’t know if any of the people in these photos have the flu or get vaccinated.

Author: Lois MacCullagh