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Andrea Miller

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Andrea MillerAndrea Miller

Andrea Miller breaks her own records. She is New Zealand's women's 100 metre hurdles champion, and is on track to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

But far from having to choose between high-level sport and study, Andrea has found a way to excel at university in the midst of her, shall we say, competing passions.

Indeed, Andrea says the highlight of her career so far is being a finalist at the 2007 World University Championships in Thailand. And Andrea praises the support she has from her team of classmates and staff at Otago's Physiotherapy Department.

"The Department is brilliant! They organised the work that I'd miss so I could catch up when I got back. Friends emailed me lecture notes. I'm lucky to have that support."

Andrea became interested in physiotherapy after injuring her back, requiring surgery and two years of physio. Then, working part-time as a neurological physiotherapy aide in Auckland really fired her desire. Andrea chose to study at Otago because of "the ease of lifestyle. It's a student-friendly town. It's cheaper to rent a flat, and the athletic training facilities are only two minutes away - that removes a big stress. There's a strong sport and athletics community here."

"Learning physiotherapy has been great for me as a person and an athlete. Understanding healing at a cellular level is step one, but the 'art' of physiotherapy is then applying this knowledge toward the rehabilitation process of the whole person - not just treating an injury."

She's undecided about which area of physio she wants to work in, but she'll be looking for an employer with a similar understanding of her needs, as an elite athletics competitor, as she has received from her Department.