The next step in University of Queensland graduate Reigne Dadey’s burgeoning career came because of a last minute exchange on Twitter with a Professor in the United States. The Bachelor of Economics student and Valedictorian is about to take a position as a Predoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, but said it was a last-minute decision. “I literally tweeted the person and asked if the position was still open, because I was undecided about applying for it. She just tweeted right back and that’s how it started,” Dadey said.

Dadey’s degree took longer than anticipated after she acquired a spinal injury midway through her second year of study. She said coming back to the University of Queensland as a wheelchair user was difficult, but put things in perspective. “Coming back made me realise that the goal posts had changed and the way I approached my education had changed. Just having to pace myself back into it was the most frustrating thing because I went from being full-time to having to take time off, then to one subject a semester, and then two subjects and then three.”

After her return to study, Dadey found the time to work at 180 Degrees Consulting, a pro bono student-led consulting organisation at the University of Queensland. She also completed an exchange semester at the University of California Berkeley, and volunteered at the Sporting Wheelies. “In hindsight I am very grateful and I think one big thing I’ve learned is being empathetic and understanding to the hardships that other people face.”

After Stanford, Dadey is considering a PhD, although she’s yet to decide where. She said all the hard work and sacrifice had been worth it. “I’m really happy and I’m grateful and it wasn’t what I expected to achieve when I started my education, but things change.”

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