4 December 2007

A Ukrainian student who held three jobs while completing her Economics degree will be awarded first class honours at a University of Queensland graduation ceremony tomorrow, Wednesday, December 5.

Daria Svetchnikova had an amazing Grade Point Average of almost pure 7s (the highest potential mark) throughout her Bachelor of Economics and continued the same high performance in her Honours degree.

Ms Svetchnikova will be valedictorian at the 2pm ceremony, one of three Faculty of Business, Economics and Law graduation ceremonies to be held tomorrow at the UQ Centre, Union Road, St Lucia.

She worked at two nightclub jobs and one at a hotel while completing her undergraduate degree, and tutored three courses and kept up her hotel job while completing her honours year.

“Being an undergraduate international student took out all my finances so I wouldn’t have been able to do honours without help from the University,” she said.

“I will tell graduands that there are people who show genuine interest in what you do and in my case, went out of their way to help me.

“There was no official scholarship for a person in my situation, but a way was found to help me.”

Ms Svetchnikova, who attended international schools in Singapore, looked for an English-speaking country to do her University study, as she had forgotten much of her native language.

Her honours thesis supervised by Dr Alicia Rambaldi and Dr Rodney Strachan, of the School of Economics, compared two spatial temporal models for the real estate market to see which model had better performance. She concluded that a locally constructed model with larger data sets was more efficient.

During her studies she won the KPMG Prize in 2004, the Australian Finance Conference Prize in 2005, the Economic Society of Australia Prize in 2006, and the inaugural UQ Economics Alumni Honours Prize, recognising the most outstanding honours student, this year.

Her fiancé will be on hand tomorrow to cheer her on and take photos for family members abroad unable to attend. She has secured a job with Port Jackson Partners management consultancy in Sydney.

Media: Jan King 0413 601 248.