Nicole Cousins

Nicole Cousens graduated from Mount Sinai College in 1994, continuing her high school years at Randwick Girls High School and is currently a successful Genetic Counsellor for Prince of Wales. We recently caught-up with Nicole to find out exactly where a MSC education has taken her.

What are your fondest memories of MSC?

There are so many memorable moments, but what really sticks out is how close we were as a cohort and the warm relationships we had with children (and their families) throughout the school. As a year K student, I remember one particular year 6 student regularly played with me. I still have a relationship with her today!
Then 6 years later, I did the same with the year K and 1 students, myself. I also remember representing the school in the choir, debating team, Israeli dancing performances and in the school netball team, especially when in year 6 we finally won a netball game against the top Moriah team, which led us to run around the courts screaming at the top of our lungs ‘we beat Moriah’! 

What were some of the values and beliefs MSC instilled in your school life growing up?

The loving, caring, family environment that the school provided taught us to look after one another, help people in need and work together as a team, rather than compete with each other. I always felt like I was still part of this special family, even after moving onto high school and beyond. I still embrace these important values and encourage them in my own children

How did MSC nurture your Jewish identity and beliefs?

To this day, I still remember the Jewish education I received, which has had a longlasting impact on my own identity as a Jewish individual. After Mount Sinai, I did not go to a Jewish high school but have never felt like I missed out on anything that a high school would provide, as I received it all at Mount Sinai. Now that my daughter is at the MSC ELC and the amazement I’m often in when she tells me about all of the Jewish festivals, as well as the songs, prayers and Hebrew she has
learnt at just 3 years old, it encourages us as a family even more to embrace our religion.

MSC are teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) to prepare our students for the economy of the future. From your experience, how has (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) helped you get to where you are today?

My career in genetics and medical research, developed initially through my interest in science and maths, was encouraged at Mount Sinai and then further into high school and university. I’ve spent most of my career carrying out research projects which look into incorporating new genetic tests developed into clinical practice and public health. STEM has had a huge influence in the area of genetics and in my career. 

Nicole is currently involved in the Prince of Wales genetic testing program, JeneScreen, which offers BRCA genetic testing to all adults within the Sydney and Melbourne Jewish community. Jewish people are 10 times more likely to carry a fault in these genes in comparison to the general population, which means they are at a higher risk of developing breast, ovarian or prostate cancer. If they are aware of it they can prevent it or detect it early.

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