Trailblazing triplets Lauren, Roberta and Jacinta Ramirez-Smith, 18, have similar interests, so it came as no surprise to friends and family when all three set their sights on careers in physiotherapy.
“It just happened,” says Roberta, who is the eldest of the triplets and was born two minutes ahead of middle sister Lauren.
Lauren in turn was born two minutes ahead of youngest sister Jacinta.
“We’re interested in the same things,” Roberta explains. “It came from our passion for sports.”
All three sisters, who are from Port Hedland in Western Australia’s north, play netball for the same team.
And all three are now based in Perth, where they will soon start their first year of physiotherapy studies at Curtin University.
When they’ve graduated in four years, Roberta says she and her sisters want to open a physiotherapy practice together in Port Hedland and also provide services for remote areas.
She says moving 1700km to Perth was easier as a trio than individually.
“It’s a good support for the three of us to study together,” she says. “There’s always competition — who gets the highest grade.”
The three sisters were among 13 graduates from a bridging course that opens the door to tertiary education for Aboriginal students and is run by Curtin’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies.
Centre director Professor Marion Kickett said she was delighted to celebrate the Indigenous Pre-Medicine and Health Sciences Enabling Course’s first graduates.
“The graduates will be starting their undergraduate degrees next month in a range of health courses at Curtin, including nursing, social work, medicine, physiotherapy and health, safety and environment,” Professor Kickett said.
“We are extremely proud of all the graduates and wish them all the best in their studies here at Curtin as well as their future careers as health professionals.”
The Indigenous Pre-Medicine and Health Sciences Enabling Course, launched in March last year, is available to people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent and offers alternative pathways into undergraduate health courses and the Curtin Medical School.