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Sky's the limit for model student

Bond University Bachelor of Actuarial Science graduate – and Miss Universe Australia Queensland finalist – Veronica McNevin. PICTURE: Cavan Flynn

She’s spent years studying statistical and machine learning models – but it’s the more traditional form of modelling that Veronica McNevin is using to lift others up.

Ms McNevin, 20, has just graduated with her Bachelor of Actuarial Science from Bond University, majoring in big data and finance, and has already begun her actuarial science Honours program.

As part of that research, she will examine call centre data from Youi Insurance, in the hope of uncovering insights to improve the customer experience.

However, Ms McNevin also has her eyes set on another prize – the title of Miss Universe Australia.

Ms McNevin said she was motivated to enter the pageant as a way of making a difference.

“Besides finding modelling fun and exciting, the opportunity to be a positive influence and make a difference to young women ultimately drove me to enter the Miss Universe Australia competition.”

Ms McNevin was selected as a Queensland state finalist, joining the other finalists from across Australia in raising funds for ToyBox International, which works alongside children’s charities. As part of this year’s Miss Universe Australia contest, ToyBox and the Miss Universe partners will be supporting Camp Quality to help children with cancer.

Ms McNevin aims to raise $10,000 by the Queensland state final on April 15.

To do this, she’s planning a raft of activities including working with Bond University Women’s Network, speaking at St Hilda's School, and even sponsored rock climbing.

“I’m a pretty avid rock climber, so I had this idea of filming a rock climbing challenge, I thought it was a cool and fun way to get people involved,” she said.     

Inspired by her mentor, Bond University Associate Professor of Statistics Dr Adrian Gepp, Ms McNevin developed a passion for giving back and helping others.

Last year she volunteered at the Bond University Children’s Holiday Camp for children with disabilities.

Ms McNevin said the experience left a big impression on her.

“It was really heartbreaking to see, when we took the kids out to Bounce in Burleigh, one child went from being this really bubbly kid to really enclosed. I think he was conscious of people looking at him and probably felt judged for being different. He even said to one of the camp members ‘I feel embarrassed to be a part of this group’.

She enjoyed also being able to support the parents of the children at the camp.  

“We didn't realise that's the life that some parents live, they're raising these children and love them to bits, but it can be extremely hard on them. For us, it was just a couple days of fun but for the families it meant a load taken off from their busy lives.”    

Alongside working as a research assistant at Bond and taking up an appointment as the university’s representative on the Actuaries Institute of Australia’s student committee, Ms McNevin is currently tutoring a high school student and has plans to also mentor students at St Hilda’s School later this year.

“I have a strong belief in giving back and doing things to help other people.”

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