First published 11 May 2022

Sandra Vecchio has embarked on a career as a science teacher at a prominent Brisbane school after graduating the top of her QUT class … and there’ll be a second science teacher in the family soon when sister Kylie also completes her education degree.

Sandra (pictured above right) finished her Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at the end of 2021 with a near perfect GPA of 6.667 – the highest of her cohort.  She now teaches junior science and senior biology at Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

She was part of QUT’s April graduation ceremonies, where she officially received her degree parchment.

Sandra and Kylie Vecchio.

Kylie is in the second year of her four-year teaching degree and is keen to become a chemistry and HPE (health and physical education) teacher.

A love of STEM runs in the family’s blood, with Kylie’s twin Monica also a second-year QUT student, and studying engineering. Monica is a member of the Dean’s Scholars Program that acknowledges high-achieving students in the Faculty of Engineering.

Monica Vecchio.

The three sisters all moved from Innisfail, in Far North Queensland, to Brisbane to study at QUT.

Sandra said she was loving her new job at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and enjoying using its excellent science facilities to inspire others.

“It’s extremely rewarding to be able to instil my passion for science on the young women I teach,” she said.

“Inspiring young people is at the heart of the teaching profession, and I feel fortunate to have the ability to have a profound impact and share my love for science.

“My Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at QUT exposed me to a student-centred approach to teaching and learning that is directly transferrable to the classroom environment.  It taught me the importance of promoting collaboration in a learning space, asking challenging questions that expand students’ knowledge domains and how to differentiate my teaching practice to accommodate for the diverse array of learners in my classroom.”

Sandra said her decision to study at QUT was influenced by attending a university STEM event while still at school.

“After attending the QUT Vice Chancellor’s STEM Camp [now the QUT Future You STEM Summit - applications for this year's program close May 16] at QUT in Year 11, I knew that I definitely wanted to complete my university degree at QUT,” she said.

“Moving away from my family in Innisfail to study in Brisbane was initially challenging as I had never lived away from home for a long period.

“But in my last year my twin sisters joined me and I got to experience them commencing university and also had their company, which was great.”

Sandra Vecchio at her graduation this year.

Kylie and Monica are also both top soccer players and play for Brisbane’s Souths United Football Club in the NPLW.

“It was quite a large transition moving from Far North Queensland to Brisbane to study at QUT, but it didn’t take long to get settled in and begin studying, working, and playing football,” Kylie said.

Kylie on campus.

“I’m doing my first teaching placement in May for 15 days, so I’m really looking forward to applying my current knowledge in the face-to-face classroom environment.”

Kylie said her decision to study teaching was heavily inspired by her own senior chemistry teacher at Innisfail State College in Year 11 and 12.

“Her strong passion for the chemistry showed in the time and effort she put into our learning, and the hours before and after school that she committed to our learning and progress in the subject,” Kylie said.

“I’d always been interested in becoming a teacher, but her practices really confirmed my decision.

“I have a passion for chemistry and a love for sports, and I can adapt these qualities to teaching secondary school students in the future.

“I’m enjoying my studies so much and it has been incredibly inspiring having an older sister not only study the same course but do well from it. 

“QUT really does provide skills for the real world and I’m excited for what the future has in store for me.”

** Find out more about studying teaching – or any other QUT degree – at the 2022 QUT Open Day on Sunday, July 31. **

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