Plant scientist and executive leader win USC alumni awards

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Plant scientist and executive leader win USC alumni awards


Published on 29 August 2013

Jenny Morawska 140X220A plant biotechnologist whose research aims to revolutionise agriculture and a management consultant who has worked with the United Nations towards world peace are the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Outstanding Alumni for 2013.

Dr Amal Johnston, who graduated from USC with a Master of Science in 2002, will receive the award for his international research in plant biotechnology. He is now based in Germany.

Jenny Morawska, who was USC’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate in 2000, will receive the award for executive leadership and management. She is based in Sydney.

The duo will be honoured at the University’s Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards ceremony on Thursday 12 September from 6-8pm at the Innovation Centre auditorium on the Sippy Downs campus.

USC Alumni Relations Officer Anita Edmonds said all USC graduates were welcome to attend the inspiring and social event with other alumni, staff, benefactors and supporters of the University.

For information about the free event, to include light refreshments and finger food, go to or call 5430 1104.

The 2013 Outstanding Alumni are:

Dr Amal Johnston, who has made significant contributions in the fields of plant breeding, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics research. He has worked in some of the world’s most prestigious academic and research institutions, and is now leading his own research team in Germany. Amal is the Research Group Leader and Assistant Professor for Germline Biology, Centre for Organismal Studies, at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He was awarded over 1.6 million Euros from an Emmy-Noether grant under the German Research Foundation. His research has the potential to revolutionise agriculture and promote global food security by producing seeds without pollination. Amal came to USC as an international student from India and studied, under the supervision of Professor Helen Wallace, the hybridisation of pine trees in Queensland forestry plantations.

Jenny Morawska, who is the founder and CEO of The Morawska Group – a global management consultancy specialising in strategy, structure, sustainable economic and leadership development and business operational excellence, for commercial and public sector organisations. Her passions include banking and finance, science, supporting women as leaders, the right use of power and peace negotiations. Soon after graduating from USC in 2000, Jenny was recruited as the General Manager of People and Performance at Westpac. She has been Executive Director at Price Waterhouse and Director at Ernst and Young. Jenny was a consultant to the ‘Building Capacity for Peace Project’ for the Folke Bernadotte Academy, a Swedish government agency. The project is about delivering early intervention in the peace-conflict-war cycle. She has worked with the General Assembly at the United Nations to conduct dialogues for peace with senior government officials and diplomats, senior executives of private sector organisations and international funding bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the World Bank. Jenny is currently studying a further qualification in psychotherapy.

Julie Schomberg

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