Five minutes with Sydney Pharmacy alumna, Madeline Hills

In August, Madeline Hills (nee Heiner), a Bachelor of Pharmacy graduate at the University of Sydney, will travel to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics to represent Australia in the 3000m women’s steeplechase.

This incredible achievement for the pharmacy graduate comes after she secured her ticket with a 10-second victory at the 2016 Australian Athletics Championships. This is one of the many accomplishments that further cement her 2015 earned status as the second fastest Australian steeplechaser in history, behind Donna McFarlane.

University of Sydney Pharmacy School
Madeline Hills racing in the steeplechase (Photo credit: University of Sydney)

The talented athlete also made time to pursue her studies and career in pharmacy. While undertaking her studies at the University of Sydney, Madeline took a break from sport, returning after an eight-year absence in 2013. During that time she focused on travelling and establishing her fruitful career as a pharmacist.

The university reached out to Madeline to congratulate her on Rio and to find out where she sees pharmacy in her future.

1. What was the degree that you studied at the University of Sydney?
I studied the Bachelor of Pharmacy and graduated from the degree in 2008.

2. What did you love most about the Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney?
There were so many elements of the degree that interested me, from the facilities to the academic staff, right through to the placements, which were a real highlight.

For me, I feel like I got to experience the whole package of university life. I lived on campus at the University of Sydney, which had a positive social and academic focus, making me feel like I was part of a united community of people with like-minded goals.

3. Why did you choose to study the Bachelor of Pharmacy?
It was through my family that I was encouraged to consider pharmacy as a career path. Both my brother and sister completed the Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney and after hearing about their great experiences, the high standard of the course content and watching their careers flourish post graduation, the University of Sydney was an obvious preference.

4. For your lifestyle, what have been the benefits of having a degree in pharmacy?
As someone who is an athlete and has an interest in exercise, pharmacy has allowed me to have the dream work life balance and continue with my other passions.

Pharmacy is one of those careers that are full of rich content, interesting research and ongoing innovation. The fact that it’s also a flexible career is a real advantage. Because of this flexibility, I have been able to come and go in and out of being a practicing pharmacist during my peak training periods. I can confidently do this knowing that employment opportunities and jobs will still be in high demand on my return from Rio.

5. It’s a great accomplishment to secure a place at the 2016 Athletics Championships, how are you feeling about it?
The feeling is bigger than you can possibly imagine. I’m especially excited and honoured to be representing Australia through the track and field team. It still feels very surreal and I don’t think it will hit me until I receive my tracksuit, about a month before it all kicks off. Thankfully, I’m not feeling too daunted as I’ll be going over with my husband, mum and dad, who all offer an incredible support network.

University of Sydney Bachelor of Pharmacy

Program: Bachelor of Pharmacy
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: January 31 each year; however, candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.


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