Face recognition has always interested University of Wollongong honours student Tiffany Weston.
"We all process faces and it was just interesting to start to learn more about how the brain does that and why we recognise faces better than we do objects," Mrs Weston said after graduating with a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) on Friday.
This interest and a desire to improve her research skills working under the guidance of supervisor Dr Simone Favelle, prompted the mother-of-three to do her thesis on facial recognition and its implication for border security.
"When you think of a face and how it has got such subtle differences yet we can differentiate between so many different people even though the differences between how people look are very subtle. I always found that rather interesting," Mrs Weston said.
"Our research found we have a very strong effect when you stared at faces that are close to straight and you have a much reduced, almost non-existent effect when it is an extreme angle of face.
"We have reduced processing in our brain, so our neurons are not very skilled at processing faces at those extreme angles.
"This has implications for border security, especially when you consider most CCTV or security cameras are positioned at elevated heights.
"This is good to get a good view of what's going on but if you are trying to recognise a person of interest, you are not going to do it very well.
"Those cameras need to be positioned closer where they can see a front, straight face."
The mature aged student will soon start a PhD in suicide prevention.
The Corrimal resident said it was always her intention to become a clinical psychologist.
"I took the detour to look at faces partially because it was an interest but also for the research skills training. It's always been my intention to use those skills when I came back to do clinical work," she said.
The 38-year-old's interest in suicide research grew after a two-year spell working for Lifeline.
"That was a really positive experience for me and it challenged me as a person," Mrs Weston said.
"Being on the other end of a call, helping people when they were in a crisis and helping people with their struggles and trying to help people choose to stay alive.
"That was an extraordinary experience.
"So when I got into the clinical program to become a psychologist, the area of suicide research was of particular interested to me."
While Mrs Weston still has many years of study left, choosing to return to university when her youngest child was just three-years-old, wasn't an "easy decision".
"As a mature age student it was very frightening coming back to university. You always have these doubts about how well you are going to do," she said.
"I've done very well and ended up with the University Medal.
"If anyone ever asks me about my decision to combine school drop-offs and school activities with university study, I would say definitely challenge yourself.
"Don't be too afraid to come back to university and start studying. You are definitely capable of it."