Meet our Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences students

Students in the Department of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences are preparing for entry-level practice in the Australian health sector

Daniel Topping

Meet Daniel Topping (pictured above). He is a second-year student in our Bachelor of Sport Coaching and Development degree.

“I have worked in a number of corporate jobs since I left school but my real passion is sport, particularly soccer,” says Topping. “In recent years I gained some coaching badges. It fuelled my desire to learn more about coaching, which has led to a career change.”

“I chose the Bachelor of Sport Coaching and Development because it was closely aligned with my interests,” he explains. “The top-class facilities and connections with professional sporting organisations were also key in making the decision to study at La Trobe.”

Topping says the opportunity to learn from expert academics has been invaluable. “They have extensive knowledge and skills gained from their work and research experience,” he says.

“When I finish my studies, I would love to work in a sport coaching or development role. I’m really looking forward to turning my passion into a career.”

Natalie Lunardi

Meet Natalie Lunardi, a second-year student in our Bachelor of Nutrition Science degree.

“I discovered my passion for nutrition while studying in La Trobe’s Bachelor of Health Science degree, so I transferred to the Bachelor of Nutrition Science,” says Lunardi.

Lunardi says that her university experience has allowed her to grow not just academically and professionally, but also personally. “I’ve found more confidence within myself, I have learned so much about my capabilities, about who I am as a person and what I enjoy doing,” she says.

“I’m still early in my study journey. I’m exploring what areas I might want to work in when I graduate, but I love the course and hope to undertake a Master of Dietetic Practice. I would love to work in an environment that I thrive in and find rewarding.”

Joanna Fogale

Joanna Fogale, a third-year student in our Bachelor of Nutrition Science degree, says that her Italian heritage gave her a deep appreciation for food and cooking.

“My family connects through food and mealtimes were a big part of my life,” says Fogale. “This is how I became interested in nutrition – I could see how food and eating habits play a crucial part in a person’s life.”

Fogale decided to turn her interest into a career when she discovered La Trobe’s Bachelor of Nutrition Science degree. “La Trobe University offered a range of insightful subjects that sparked my interest and motivated me to choose this course,” she says.

“It has been amazing to work with teachers and other students who share the same passion for food and nutrition as me.”

In the future, Fogale hopes to work in paediatrics. “I am very interested in working with children and parents to build strong foundations in eating behaviours and dietary education.”

Alana Leabeater

Meet Alana Leabeater. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sport and Exercise Science.

“I relocated from Sydney when I was offered a PhD scholarship with La Trobe,” says Leabeater. “It was a great opportunity to develop my sports science and research skills. I was also really impressed by the facilities at the Sports Park and the support on offer for PhD students.”

Leabeater is researching the use of compression garments for performance enhancement and recovery in sport.

“These garments have been used for many years in a clinical setting to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. More recently, they have been used to improve elements of performance and enhance recovery in athletes,” she explains.

“My research explores the use of compression garments in endurance and team sport settings. I hope my findings will contribute to a greater understanding of when and how compression garments are most useful for athletes.”

Leabeater has a dream of working for the Australian Olympic team. “With the Games heading to Brisbane in the next decade, I’m hopeful that an opportunity might become available for me,” she says. “But in the meantime, I would like to work in an applied sports science setting once I finish my PhD so that I can make good use of the skills I’m currently developing.”

Find out more about the Department of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences on the website and LinkedIn.