Sarah Hall congratulates her mum Madeline Hall who graduated today with a Master of Public Health from The University of Queensland.
Sarah Hall congratulates her mum Madeline Hall who graduated today with a Master of Public Health from The University of Queensland.
14 December 2012

Madeline Hall already has her days cut out for her as single mum with five teenagers and full-time work as an immunisation nurse at a Queensland Public Health Unit.

So it comes as no surprise that the 48-year-old Daisy Hill resident is looking forward to closing the books when she graduates with a Master of Public Health from The University of Queensland today (Friday, 14 December).

Madeline said attending University, let alone undertaking postgraduate study, was something she had not envisaged in her teenage years.

“I’m thrilled to be completing my Master of Public Health, it feels like a real achievement as I left high school at the end of Year 10 in 1979,” Madeline said.

However, this is not the first time Madeline will be graduating from UQ.

In 2000, she gained her Certificate in Health Studies at UQ majoring in Community, Child and Adolescent Health.

About a decade later, Madeline returned to UQ.

She said having worked largely in Indigenous Health as an immunisation nurse in southeast Queensland she was keen to widen the scope of her knowledge with a Masters degree.

“I was doing home visits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in Brisbane’s south and the Gold Coast to ensure children were up to date with their immunisations,” she said.

“This work gave me a strong Australian perspective,” Madeline said.

“My Masters studies gave me an international perspective on public health making me more aware of the Millennium Development Goals (agreed targets set by the world's nations to reduce poverty by 2015) as well as the issues faced by under-resourced countries,” Madeline said.

“The courses were relevant, particularly the Epidemiology and Biostatistics subjects.

“I was able to draw on my own experiences, plus integrate what I was learning into my daily work.”

Madeline said while being a mature aged student had its advantages, it also had its funny moments.

“During one of my Biostatistics tutorials, the rest of my class, who were all under 30, couldn’t believe that I had never used a scientific calculator,” she said.

“They didn’t have them when I was in high school - we had to look up tables in the back of our maths textbooks.”

She said having children under her roof whom were also studying at university allowed for a good study environment at home.

“A couple of weeks ago, we all had assessment due so the four uni students (the 3 middle children and myself) sat around the kitchen table with our laptops – and a big bowl of ‘study food’ in the middle,” she said.

This year Madeline became a member of the Federal Government’s Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

“It’s been great to be able to apply my Public Health nursing expertise at a national level in immunisation, which is one of the greatest health achievements in the control of epidemic infectious diseases,” she said.

She added that the newly acquired knowledge from her Masters degree would also help her to grow in this role.

“Overall, I’ve enjoyed my Masters studies but I’m looking forward to a break from study next year,” she said.

This graduating cohort is joining a group of more than 200,000 distinguished UQ alumni many of whom are pursuing careers around the world while choosing to stay connected with UQ.

Details of venues and times for the UQ end-of-year graduations are available online. The ceremonies are broadcast live online here.

Five honorary doctorates will be awarded including Emeritus Professor Robert Milns AM, Dr Jean Calder AC, Professor Dennis Liotta, Mr Andrew Petrie and Dr Samuel Hawgood.

The University of Queensland is one of Australia's leading teaching and research institutions and continues to attract the vast majority of the state's highest academic achievers.

Timetable of all UQ end-of-year graduation events can be found here.

For information on other graduation ceremonies, please contact Belinda Berry (07 3365 3439 or