For Dr Mikaela Seymour, there is no higher calling than giving back to her community.
Despite only having graduated in 2015, the Griffith University alumnus has already achieved significant career heights, the latest of which is her receipt of the 2018 Australian Medical Association’s Doctor in Training of the Year award.
But even in discussing this – which follows an impressive string of early highlights, including stints as the President and Treasurer of the Griffith Medical Society, among other extracurriculars – Mikaela is the picture of humility.
“There’s heaps of Griffith grads doing amazing things, especially from the medical school,” she says. “But I certainly love giving back; there’s definitely a pleasure in hard work, I find.
“At the end of the day, if there’s an opportunity to serve, I just put my hand up and say yes. If I’ve got the skills and if I’m going to make something better or create some benefit, then I want to do it; I want to be there.”
Mikaela’s sense of duty goes beyond mere words, however; during her degree, she ventured to Western Province, Papua New Guinea, to undertake an eye-opening international placement.
“As part of the medical program, Griffith offers rural placements as well as international placements; one of those was to the Western Province in PNG,” she explains. “So my first trip in tropical, low-resource medicine was through Griffith.
“It was really well supported, a huge eye-opener just to the need in the South Pacific region that I think a lot of Australians aren’t that aware of. So that was a huge learning opportunity for me.
“Since then, I’ve been able to go back a number of times in a volunteering capacity, providing primary healthcare, but what they really need is just hands on the ground. There’s just not enough healthcare workers to go around.”
“The more I researched, the more I realised that Griffith gelled with my values … It was the place for me.”
As though her time and talents are not already stretched thinly enough, this is all in addition to spending time in service to the country, as a Captain in the Australian Army’s 2nd Health Support Company at Gallipoli Barracks.
“I was always interested in doing something more; serving my country,” she says of her military pursuits.
“My parents were born overseas, and they have a great love for Australia, as do I, so I just wanted to serve my community.
“As a doctor, there’s heaps of opportunities to do that in the military. It was just an opportunity to give back a little bit.”
While Mikaela’s successes are her own, her journey unquestionably started with her decision, as a young, newly aspiring medical professional, to follow her path at Griffith University.
“The more I researched, the more I realised that Griffith gelled with my values,” she reflects. “I went for my interview, I really enjoyed speaking with the people there; I went to have a look around the campus, and it was just fantastic. It was the place for me.
“Griffith University Medical School really sets you up with an amazing wealth of knowledge, and being able to give that back to contribute to the bigger picture and improve the whole community would be fantastic.”