While most mothers of three kids under five struggle to eat breakfast, Dr Katie de Luca has presented research papers internationally and completed a PHD.
It hasn’t been easy for the South West Rocks chiropractor, who graduated with a Chiropractic PHD from the University of Newcastle in October this year – but it has been worth it.
“I’ve mostly studied while the kids have been asleep and at night,” Dr de Luca said. “I submitted my PHD a week before Ivy was born! My husband, Troy, has been very supportive and I’ve had to learn to be very efficient with my time management.”
Dr de Luca is a highly esteemed researcher who has presented her work all over the world and recently won a research prize for her outstanding contribution to research at the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia in Sydney.
“I’ve presented in New Orleans, Holland and Greece and next year I’ll be travelling to Washington,” she said. “My mum usually comes with me because she loves travelling and Troy prefers to stay at home with the kids.”
Her work is centred on improving conditions for older women with arthritis and involves consistently publishing and presenting her research as well as working two days a week as a chiropractor in her South West Rocks clinic.
“My passion is helping to change the understanding of pain in arthritis so people with arthritis receive better healthcare,” she said. “The most important thing about completing the PHD for me has been building research skills and capacity in chiropractic research.”
Like most women who have career aspirations, Dr de Luca knows she couldn’t achieve what she has without the support of her family.
“To do this you need a good support network – my husband is great and our parents help out a lot,” she said. “You also need time to yourself and quality time with the kids. When I’m with my kids I try to really be present with them.”
Her advice to other mums with big dreams?
“Women need to have long term goals because you don’t get things done fast with kids around!”, she said. “My career is moving slower than some of the guys I graduated with but that’s OK because I’ve got to have my family too. My kids are proud of me – I think parents who do what they love are good role models for kids.”
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