Community - 2014, Edition 1 | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Community - 2014, Edition 1


Vice-Chancellor’s Comment
“Students at USC have access to the very best facilities available anywhere in the world”
University plays crucial role in region’s economy

As we start a new university year, it’s worth considering the crucial role that the University of the Sunshine Coast plays in boosting the region’s educational aspirations and economy.

USC currently injects more than A$536 million every year into the local economy and assists Sunshine Coast industries by providing job-ready professional graduates.

As health is the number one employer on the Coast, USC reflects this with its programs in allied health — such as Nursing Science, Paramedic Science, Psychology, Occupational Therapy and Biomedical Science — among our largest degrees.

This year we have introduced new degrees in Law and Creative Industries in response to strong community demand, and the campus is undergoing a major building expansion to stay ahead of our continued rapid growth.

Our new buildings, like the impressive Sippy Downs Learning Hub, are spectacular learning environments. Students at USC have access to the very best facilities available anywhere in the world.

Work began recently on a A$36.5 million Engineering Learning Hub, which will feature state-of-the-art visualisation laboratories and virtual reality technologies.

The Australian Government provided funding from its Structural Adjustment Fund for the Sippy Downs Learning Hub and from its Education Investment Fund for the Engineering Learning Hub.

And for good reason — USC is where the rubber hits the road as far as providing the qualifications the region needs and providing our young people with the qualifications they’ll need to succeed.

Our growing research reputation is making the region a preferred destination for staff and students, while USC’s Innovation Centre is playing an important role too. It supports start-up businesses that provide training opportunities for students and work for graduates, as well as building a more diversified and resilient Sunshine Coast economy.

Professor Greg Hill
Vice-Chancellor and President

Around USC

01 A renowned researcher who has helped bring the plight of Asia’s Sun Bears to world attention visited USC in early March. Siew Te Wong, the founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, spoke about the Malayan Sun Bears and the expanding partnership between the centre and the University. USC Public Relations and Tourism academic Sarah Pye recently led a team of USC Public Relations students in creating a Sun Bear adoption program and launched it in Australia and Malaysia.

02 An eBook about mental illness self-published on iBooks by a USC Creative Writing student was a finalist in the Digital Book World Awards in January. Donna Thompson, 43, of Buderim, recently completed her Honours degree at USC and published her eBook ‘Collected’ that explores bipolar disorder. Ms Thompson attended the awards ceremony in New York. While she did not win in her category of Enhanced Fiction, she said it was a thrill to have been nominated alongside major publishers like Penguin and Harper Collins.

03 An experimental psychologist who has worked as an academic for more than 20 years is now Head of School of Social Sciences at USC. Professor Doug Mahar was previously at Queensland University of Technology, where his senior roles included Acting Head of School of Psychology and Counselling and chair of ethics committees. He is a past president of the Australasian Society for Experimental Psychology and lectured at the Australian National University in Canberra in the 1990s.

04 Business graduate Caleb Harry is the chief executive officer of a fast-expanding, Brisbane-based supply company with national coverage and a multi-million-dollar turnover. Caleb, who graduated in 2006, became general manager of The KB Group in 2008. ‘KB’ stands for Kawana Boys, a board of successful businessmen who live on the Sunshine Coast and are predominantly investors. “Our team has built The KB Group into an exceptional supply company for the civil, construction, mining, industrial and traffic control industries,” he said.

05 USC received a strong response from its staff late last year when it asked them to splash out for the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. About 80 University staff took part in USC’s first staff charity swimming carnival at the University’s 50m pool. Each competitor donated $10 to the appeal, while further funds were raised through a barbecue lunch. The money was presented to the Salvation Army, along with a large number of toys and food items donated by staff across campus.

Learning Hub opens as student population reaches 10,000 mark
New Semester Fiesta puts focus on fun for new students

It was the start of a new era for the University of the Sunshine Coast when Semester 1 began in early March, with its student population exceeding 10,000 for the first time.

The University has experienced rapid growth every year since opening in 1996 with only 524 students, jumping from 5,000 students to 10,000 within the past seven years.

In another significant milestone, USC now has more than 1,000 international students, who add to the cultural richness at USC.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said 2014 was shaping up to be a special year for USC with the introduction of new degrees in Law and Creative Industries and as staff and students moved into the impressive $25 million Sippy Downs Learning Hub (Building E).

Facilities are spread over three floors of this building, which is a joint initiative of the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund, Sunshine Coast TAFE and the University.

Professor Hill said students had worked with the architects to ensure that the building delivered what they wanted in study, work and relaxation areas.

USC’s Orientation Week this year had a particular celebratory theme, with a two-day “New Semester Fiesta” focusing on fun.

It featured a great line-up of musical entertainment and social activities including a launch party, pool party, twilight cinema, an ‘Amazing Race’ style contest, giant board games, market stalls and a creative arts hub.

OP1 student flags interest in going to Japan

The prospect of studying in Japan as part of his degree has attracted OP1 student Conor Fogarty of Caloundra to enrol at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Conor, 17, has been fascinated by Japanese culture, architecture and language for some time and his interest was heightened by a school trip to Japan when he was in Year 11 at Caloundra Christian College.

He excelled in Japanese during his senior high school years — winning State-wide Japanese language contests in 2012 and 2013 — and is now enrolled in a combined degree at USC in Arts and Science, majoring in Japanese and Chemistry.

“Going to Japan gave me a taste of Japanese life and culture, in which the ancient architecture and civilisation exists alongside the current civilisation,” he said. “I really like their architecture and their animation.”

The Caloundra Christian College dux, who topped his class in Chemistry, Physics and Maths B, is looking forward to taking part in USC’s Global Opportunities (GO) student exchange program.

The GO program enables students who have completed their first year at USC to study for one or two semesters at a partner institution overseas while still gaining credit towards their degrees.

Conor also said he chose USC because its proximity to his home would enable him to pursue plans to start a tutoring business while studying.

“I was planning on starting my own Japanese tutoring business and it will be much easier here than if I was a student in Brisbane,” he said.

Conor said his sights were firmly set on teaching English in Japan.

A$5 million gift to help students for decades
University thanks Roy and Nola Thompson for generous donation

The University of the Sunshine Coast has received a A$5 million gift, which is set to have major benefits for students now and into the future.

Announcing the gift from Roy and Nola Thompson of Maroochydore in early February, USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the funds would be used to support numerous scholarships for both needy and high-achieving students for decades to come.

“We are indebted to Roy and Nola for all they have done for students over recent years and this further gift — the largest in our history — takes that support to a new level,” Professor Hill said.

In an innovative strategy, USC will match the donation dollar for dollar to fund construction of USC’s first multi-level carpark on land adjacent to the Sippy Downs bus interchange on campus. Work is set to begin this year.

“The revenues from the Thompsons’ donation will then be distributed annually to support our students for decades to come,” Professor Hill said.

“The benefit is twofold. It will further assist with parking management on the campus and provide revenue for student scholarships.”

Mr Thompson, a long-time Sunshine Coast property developer and philanthropist, said he was pleased to be supporting USC and its students in this way.

“I have seen how hard it is for many students in keeping up with their studies while also supporting themselves and often other family members,” he said.

“Ensuring the next generation is well educated and keeping them on the Sunshine Coast are top priorities for all of us and I think that our gift will go some way in helping with that.

“We would hope that this might provide a lead for other people to also contribute to this cause — not simply to help those in need, but to give our region the future it deserves.”

USC wins council award for recycling

The University of the Sunshine Coast recently won its category of the Sunshine Coast Council’s inaugural Good Recycler awards.

USC claimed the Institution category award for its ongoing rollout of a multiple bin system across the Sippy Downs campus and the introduction of a large composting machine for organic materials.

At the awards ceremony in late 2013, Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson praised USC’s efforts in good waste reduction.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) Bernard Lillis said the University’s new waste management system was set to reduce its waste to landfill by about 75 percent.

Mr Lillis said the ‘recycling from the desktop’ program, which includes simple measures such as smaller desk bins and communal recycling stations in offices, was gaining plenty of attention from other organisations.

Legal service to help train Law students
Suncoast Community Legal Service to share premises with USC students

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s first cohort of Law students will benefit greatly from an agreement signed by USC and the Suncoast Community Legal Service in February.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding, Law students from USC will work at the legal service, assisting staff and lawyers as they provide advice and case work services to disadvantaged people.

The legal service — which has 85 volunteer lawyers and 35 volunteer receptionists — will share its new premises in Maroochydore with the University.

USC’s Professor of Law Neil Rees said the Vice-President said the exciting arrangement would provide students with expert supervision and an enriched educational experience.

“Our students will be doing some of the legwork, but experienced lawyers from the Community Legal Service will supervise everything they do and make all of the final decisions about legal advice and assistance,” he said.

“The University has also employed a member of academic staff to take charge of the clinical education program and to devote a portion of her time to working for Suncoast’s clients.”

Suncoast Community Legal Service Principal Solicitor Julian Porter said the agreement provided “wins” for the legal service, the University and the Sunshine Coast community.

“The students will receive the sort of hands-on experience they need to complement their theoretical training,” “At the same time, they’ll be meeting real local lawyers and making connections for the future.” The University is offering Law for the first time this semester.

USC geographer gains industry roles

A USC academic who has gained prestigious roles with the Institute of Australian Geographers will have her finger on the national pulse of a discipline increasingly important in tackling global issues.

Associate Professor of Geography Jennifer Carter has been appointed editor of the peak professional body’s newsletter and a member of its council.

Dr Carter said she was honoured to be contributing to the future of geography, including its study, application, promotion and protection.

“Geography is a holistic, relevant study of space, place and environment,” she said. “It examines interconnections between people and the environment and crises facing our planet such as climate change, food resources and refugees.

“I’ll be at the forefront of policy debates, helping to show broader society the capacity of this discipline to deal with contemporary world problems.”

Dr Carter said it was wonderful to see geography back on the national agenda as a compulsory course in the Australian school curriculum.

Combined Law / Arts degree appeals to Gympie student

With strong interests in social justice and the performing arts, Beth McKenna of Gympie believes she has found her perfect study program at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Beth, 17, enrolled in a combined degree in Law and Arts, on offer for the first time at USC.

The program is one of USC’s new suite of Law degrees that includes a Bachelor of Laws for undergraduates and postgraduates along with other combined degrees in Business, Commerce (Accounting), Creative Writing, Journalism, Science and Social Science.

The St Patrick’s College Gympie graduate, who gained an OP2, is aiming for a career in advocacy or public policy with the goal of helping those in need.

“I really just want to empower people who are disempowered, but I don’t know how I’m going to do that just yet,” she said. “I’ve enrolled at USC because I found the subjects on offer here were much better for what I wanted than at other universities.

“I loved Legal Studies at high school and all my subjects were humanities subjects.” Beth was the female lead, Anne of Cloves, in her school’s musical comedy ‘Henry’ last year.

Research reveals nature’s climate change pathways
USC academic helps lead global study of ‘climate velocity’

A University of the Sunshine Coast academic has helped lead an international research project that has, for the first time, comprehensively mapped how the natural world is likely to respond to global warming due to climate change.

Associate Professor in Biostatistics Dr David Schoeman was among 21 authors of a paper, “Geographical limits to species-range shifts are suggested by climate velocity”, published in February in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.

The researchers used 50 years of observed temperature data, together with models for future temperatures, to estimate the speed and direction of climate change and determine the “climate pathways” that land-based and marine species will need to follow to stay within their optimum temperature ranges.

Their study highlights areas around the world where species diversity is likely to increase, decrease or remain stable, as well as sites where some animals and plants will face localised extinction if their migration is blocked geographically and they cannot adapt to rising temperatures.

Dr Schoeman helped conceptualise, conduct and illustrate numerical analyses for the study, led by Professor Michael Burrows of the Scottish Marine Institute and involving researchers from Australia (including from the CSIRO), the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain and Saudi Arabia.

The USC academic said the research was based on the understanding that temperature played at least some role in determining the distributions of most plants and animals.

Seniors respond well to BodyPump classes: study

A type of gym class called BodyPump has helped seniors drop body fat and lift body strength, according to the preliminary findings of research by a University of the Sunshine Coast PhD student.

Vaughan Nicholson, a 32-year-old physiotherapist of Ferny Hills in Brisbane, spent last year testing dozens of Sunshine Coast people aged between 55 and 75 and analysing the data.

His PhD in Sport and Exercise Science at USC sought to measure the effects on healthy seniors of the group exercise class, which involves lifting weights to music.

Participants were measured at USC’s laboratories for strength, balance, bone density and body composition before undertaking a six-month program of BodyPump at Maroochydore’s Suncoast Fitness.

Mr Nicholson said he compared the BodyPump group with a control group, which continued with normal activity levels.

“I found the BodyPump participants had increased upper and lower body strength, reduced body fat and improved lumbar spine bone density,” he said. “There was no change in hip bone density, balance or muscle mass in either group.”

Scientists focus on oyster’s genetic secrets

A research collaboration involving USC has launched a project aiming to ensure the sustainability of the iconic Sydney rock oyster and its lucrative aquaculture industry along Australia’s east coast.

Scientists from Macquarie University, USC, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science have formed a consortium to sequence the entire genome of the oyster, Saccostrea glomerata.

USC Professor in Aquaculture Biotechnology Abigail Elizur said the project aimed to build knowledge about the ecologically and economically vital oyster, which can be found as far north as the Sunshine Coast. “By sequencing its complete genome, we will develop a vast genetic resource that can be used to test crucial questions such as the ability of oysters to respond to environmental stress, as well as understand its reproductive cues and requirements,” she said.

Researchers aim to boost koala survival
Microbiologists work towards developing chlamydia vaccine

Two internationally renowned microbiology researchers at the forefront of Australia’s scientific fight against diseases such as chlamydia in humans and animals have joined the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Professor of Microbiology Peter Timms and Senior Research Fellow Dr Adam Polkinghorne started on campus at USC in January.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research, Professor Roland De Marco said the researchers were known for excellence in microbiology, especially regarding the chlamydia bacterium and iconic species such as koalas.

“Peter and Adam are bringing over A$1 million in national research funding to our University, along with a team of up to six researchers initially and extensive links with local, national and international partners,” Professor De Marco said.

Professor Timms and Dr Polkinghorne were previously at Queensland University of Technology, where they were key members of a world-first genome mapping project that uncovered vital information about koala genes.

The data included the koala IFN-g gene, which affects the marsupial’s immune defences against cancer, viruses and bacteria.

Their multi-million-dollar projects will now operate from USC, with one of the major goals to develop chlamydia vaccines for humans and koalas.

Professor Timms, a molecular microbiologist for more than 20 years and a Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology, said USC offered opportunities to expand his team’s projects across diverse research areas, from biomedicine to veterinary health.

“This fits with our belief in the global ‘One Health’ initiative, which promotes collaborative, multi-disciplinary health research involving humans, animals and the environment,” he said.

“We have established partnerships with local hospitals, health clinics, wildlife hospitals and other organisations, as well as partners interstate and particularly overseas.

“We’re currently trialling a vaccine in a wild koala population in south-east Queensland.”

Koalas are a protected species and were listed by the Australian Government in 2012 as vulnerable in Queensland. Diseases such as chlamydia are responsible for significant numbers of koala deaths.

Dr Polkinghorne, 36, will be continuing at USC the work that recently earned him a Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award from the Australian Institute of Policy and Science. The award was presented for his research into marsupial immunology and his science engagement activities, which have included visiting schools and seniors groups to talk about his field.

Nutrition information study to help pregnant women

A USC Nutrition and Dietetics student aims to make it easier for first-time pregnant women to find sound nutritional advice online.

Honours student Catherine Robichaud of Maroochydore is researching which Internet sites are most likely to attract the attention of mums-to-be.

She’s been chatting with first-time pregnant women across the region, from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, about their experiences of searching the web for information about food.

“Optimal maternal nutrition during pregnancy is related to short-term and long-term outcomes for the mother and foetus,” she said. “However, many women have their first antenatal appointment with health professionals at the end of the first trimester after the critical period of embryonic growth has occurred.”

Mrs Robichaud said while many pregnant women seek out nutritional information on the Internet, little was known about their online searching behaviours and preferences.

“I’m hoping to gain an insight into where they go when they go online so that health professionals will be better able to make evidence-based information available to them,” she said.

“Exploring the online practices of such women can provide valuable insight for targeted nutrition webpage content and forms of communication.”

The research is being supervised by USC Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics Jude Maher.

Hospital internship leads to sleep science role
Graduate gains polysomnography job at Brisbane hospital

A Nigerian student who graduated from the University of the Sunshine Coast last year with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science is now working as a sleep scientist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Olawale ‘Wale’ Idowu, 26, gained his polysomnography job at the Brisbane hospital’s Sleep Disorders Centre after a three-month full-time internship as part of his USC major in Clinical Measurement.

Polysomnography is the continuous recording of multiple physiological variables to measure a patient’s cardio-respiratory function during sleep and to monitor and evaluate sleep disorders and their treatments.

Wale (pronounced Wally) said his main duties included using diagnostic tools to prepare patients for sleep study, educating patients on CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy, and related analyses.

“I love challenges and learning something new almost every day. The staff and atmosphere are just amazing,” he said.

“My USC internship experience at the lab helped me secure this job and the USC degree enhanced my study opportunities. I am now enrolled in a Master of Clinical Physiology at Griffith University’s Nathan campus.

“Dr Mark Holmes (USC Biomedical Science Discipline Leader) and Brett Duce, Scientific Director of the PA Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Centre, helped me achieve my goals.”

Graduate gains work at leading IVF group

Ysanne Long of Kallangur has secured a job at one of Queensland’s leading fertility and IVF organisations after completing her PhD at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Ysanne, 33, who graduated in October 2013, is now working as a reproductive scientist at the Queensland Fertility Group in Brisbane.

She said the laboratory experience she gained during her PhD and Honours studies at USC helped her secure a dream role with the group.

“I am responsible for working with other scientists to develop best practice standards and apply the latest advances in treatment technology,” she said.

“The extensive biological sciences foundation I developed at USC ensured I was not only qualified but well prepared for working within the science and health sectors.”

Ysanne said she had enjoyed a range of benefits from studying at USC.

“The small class sizes at USC mean students can not only get to know each other, but learn from each other as they progress through their studies,” she said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed all my courses. Studying biological sciences also gave me the opportunity to learn new fields of science.”

University recognises teaching quality with Advance Awards

The 12 winners of USC’s new Advance Awards were recognised at a ceremony recently for their outstanding contribution to teaching, learning and student support at USC.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann said the awards attracted almost 300 nominations from students and staff acknowledging the excellent work of their teachers, professional staff and colleagues.

“The 93 people who then submitted applications demonstrated an impressive diversity of innovative and inspiring learning and teaching practice,” she said.

Advancing Quality Teaching awards went to Academic Fellow Phyllis Araneo, Associate Lecturer in Communication Gail Crimmins, Lecturer in Nursing Sam Edwards, Adjunct Professor David Hollinsworth, Associate Lecturer in Bioscience Colleen Kneale, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Rehabilitation Science Daniel Mellifont, Lecturer in Communication Dr Greg Nash, Lecturer in Communications Dr Anna Potter and Lecturer in Secondary Education and Professional Learning Dr Janet Wyvill.

Awards for Advancing the Blended Learning Environment (which features the integration of educational technologies with face-to-face teaching) went to Lecturer in Occupational Therapy Anita Hamilton and Lecturer in Education John Hunt.

And USC’s Academic Skills Team of Student Life and Learning (Margot Reeh, Irene O’Leary, Johanna Einfalt, David Duncan, Brian Higgins, Faye Thompson, Donna Thompson, Gaby Ziegan, Daniel Meloncelli, Audrey Dickson and Peter Cahill) won the award for Advancing the Student Experience.

New degree paves way for career
Bachelor of Creative Industries suits Ellaine’s aspirations

A Nambour Christian College graduate with twin passions for creative writing and role-playing computer games has signed up for the University of the Sunshine Coast’s new Bachelor of Creative Industries to pursue her career.

Ellaine Evans, 18, of Forest Glen, said her ambition was to work in the gaming industry and, after considering degrees in Brisbane, she chose USC’s program because it suited her exact needs.

“I’m really glad USC is offering this degree because it can be tailored to what I want to do,” she said. “I want to go more into game writing rather than other design elements, so I can do a double major in creative writing and serious game design.”

Ellaine, who achieved an OP3 in 2012 and took a gap year last year, said she was delighted to have been awarded a A$12,000 USC Vice-Chancellor’s Merit Scholarship for high academic achievement, leadership skills and financial need.

She was one of 41 recipients of the undergraduate scholarship this year.

“The scholarship has really taken the pressure off because I can put it towards uni fees and textbooks,” she said.

She also completed a USC course in Year 11 as part of the Headstart program.

“That means I already have credit for one of my courses this year, Introduction to Creative Writing,” she said.

Ellaine said she liked the storytelling aspect of computer games and had been playing games from a young age.

“My favourite games are Mass Effect and Morrowind and I want to create something that stands out and has a lot of creativity and originality,” she said.

Blake earns OAM and sporting award

As a world champion swimmer, Blake Cochrane certainly knows how to block out distractions and focus on his sporting goals.

The Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Science student takes a similar approach to his studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast, but found he simply couldn’t ignore two major awards bestowed on him in late January.

Within days of sitting for a summer semester Anatomy exam, Blake was awarded a prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and named the Senior Sunshine Coast Sports Star of the Year.

It is believed Blake, 23, is the first person to receive an OAM while studying at USC. He will be presented with the medal at Parliament House in Brisbane later this year.

The OAM is in honour of Blake’s services to sport at the 2012 London Paralympics, where he won gold individually in the 100m breaststroke (SB7) and as a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay. Blake clinched the Sports Star of the Year Award by breaking the world record and winning gold in the 100m breaststroke (SB7) at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Canada last August.

Writing graduate lands two-book deal

A USC Creative Writing graduate who landed a two-book deal with one of Australia’ s biggest publishers is celebrating the release of her first crime fiction novel, Hades.

Candice Fox, who completed her USC Creative Writing Honours degree in 2010, last year won the contract with Random House Australia for national and international publication of two books.

Hades, launched in December, is now available at bookstores and Big W. The Random House website describes it as a dark, compelling and original thriller about two detectives and a serial killer — “the debut of a stunning new talent in crime fiction”.

Candice, 28, who now lives in Sydney where she lectures in writing while studying a PhD at the University of Notre Dame, said the publishing deal was a lifelong ambition that USC helped her achieve.

“USC lecturers were instrumental in my early writing career and I owe a great deal to USC as a whole,” she said.

First semester scholarships top A$700,000
Academic Excellence Scholarships reward high-achieving students

More than A$700,000 in scholarships were awarded to 54 new undergraduates and 10 postgraduate students at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s 2014 Scholarships Presentation Ceremony on Thursday 20 February.

The students, including school-leavers from 37 different high schools, received scholarships ranging in value from A$3,500 to A$20,000 at USC’s Innovation Centre Auditorium.

The ceremony was attended by more than 200 people, including scholarship donors, high school principals, the students’ family members and University staff.

The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of six Academic Excellence Scholarships, this year valued at up to A$20,000 each, which are provided from donors including Sir Clem and Lady Renouf and Tim Fairfax AC.

James Cran of Chancellor State College and Natalie Woods of Christian Outreach College, Toowoomba, received the Renouf Family Scholarships for 2014. These scholarships are presented in memory of Sir Clem Renouf’s parents.

Brodie Edwards of Roma State College and Ellen McGuigan of Monto State High School received Tim Fairfax Regional Scholarships, which are presented to support students from regional or remote areas in Queensland.

Two USC Chancellor’s Scholarships went to Conor Fogarty of Caloundra Christian College and Jacob Templeton of St Brendan Shaw College, Tasmania.

The Chancellor’s Scholarships are funded by numerous gifts to the University to recognise, reward and encourage academic excellence.

Education student gains Vic Walker Scholarship

First-Year Primary Education student Taylor Davis has received the 2014 Vic Walker Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is open to Immanuel Lutheran College graduates who undertake degrees at USC. It covers their tuition fees for one year.

Sunshine Coast philanthropist Jocelyn Walker started the scholarship in 1999 in memory of her late husband, Vic Walker, who established Moby Vic’s service stations.

Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture to be held in May

USC will stage an annual Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture to honour the prominent Sunshine Coast businessman who died tragically a year ago.

Geoff Shadforth was co-director of Shadforths Civil Contractors at Forest Glen when he died, aged 35, preparing for a charity motorcycle ride in Cambodia in March 2013.

His father, Peter Shadforth, said the annual lecture for those involved in the region’s construction industry would help continue his son’s work.

“Geoff was really interested in innovation around road stabilisation,” he said. “He was building a great relationship with the University and we are proud to keep that going, firstly through this lecture and later on through some research,” he said.

The keynote speaker for the inaugural lecture at USC on Thursday 15 May will be high-profi le former CEO of Leighton Holdings Wal King.

Mr King, who was responsible for enormous growth during his time at Leighton Holdings, retired from the company in 2010. He is currently Deputy Chairman of Ausdrill Limited, a Director of Coca-Cola Amatil Limited, Kimberley Foundation Australia Limited and Garvan Research Foundation Limited.

He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia, a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, the Australian Institute of Building and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

USC’s Development Office Director Russell Ousley thanked the Shadforth family for donating funds to stage the first lecture. It will be a ticketed event aimed at raising funds to enable future lectures and the sharing of knowledge to assist the construction industry’s growth across the region.

For more information on the inaugural lecture, contact USC’s Development Office on or +61 7 5430 1104.

Executive MBA graduate Ben Starr
Executive MBA helps business grow quickly

A business co-founded by University of the Sunshine Coast graduate Ben Starr was placed 35th in BRW Magazine’s top 100 Australian fastest-growing companies for 2013.

Mr Starr is Managing Director of O2 Environment + Engineering, a company he helped start at Peregian Beach in 2009 to target the niche areas of soil and water management.

In 2012, the business was 82nd in the leading magazine’s top 100 fastest-growing start-up companies in Australia. It also won its category at the Sunshine Coast Business Awards in 2010 and 2011 and was a finalist in 2012.

The firm now has 19 employees and is one of five environmental consulting subsidiaries wholly or partly owned by the O2 Group, of which Mr Starr is a director.

Mr Starr, 35, of Peregian Beach, said the new listing was fantastic national recognition for his specialist team of scientists and engineers who had worked for decades in the consulting and development industry.

“The third party recognition of rapid growth in the BRW list is a great help in recruiting principals to partner with us in establishing new specialist companies within the group,” he said.

“We’re expecting one of our more recent start-ups, O2 Ecology, to outperform O2 Environment + Engineering in its debut in the 2014 fast starters list.

“The highly-skilled staff employed by companies within the O2 Group are best suited to solving difficult or poorly-defined problems that present significant risk to a project.”

Mr Starr, who is a USC Science graduate and certified practitioner in erosion and sediment control, finished his Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) at USC in April 2012.

He said he chose the EMBA to boost his entrepreneurial success.

Lucy lands work with leading mining company

USC graduate Lucy Warren has struck career gold after landing a place in the graduate development program of a leading Australian mining company.

Lucy, 22, of Buderim, graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Public Relations in 2012 and now works as a communications officer at Rio Tinto Alcan in Weipa, Far North Queensland.

The former Matthew Flinders Anglican College student has a range of public relations responsibilities including local media relations, organising community forums and hosting fi lm crews, photographers and media on site.

“Rio Tinto is a great company to work for, with operations around the globe and a strong focus on the development of its people,” Lucy said.

She said her USC degree laid the perfect foundation for working in any industry.

“My degree gave me a real-life, practical introduction to public relations,” she said.

“I took advantage of a range of the international study, work experience and placement opportunities USC had on offer.”

Lucy spent two semesters of her degree at RheinAhrCampus in Germany from 2011 to 2012 as part of USC’s Global Opportunities (GO) Program.

This program enables students to study at partner institutions overseas while earning credit towards their degrees.

Lucy completed an internship with the Qantas Airways Corporate Communications team in Sydney and vacation work at QAL (Queensland Alumina Ltd) in Gladstone.

Nominate an outstanding graduate for awards

If you know an outstanding University of the Sunshine Coast graduate, why not nominate them for the 2014 Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards?

Each year, these awards recognise graduates who have attained significant achievements in their fields of endeavour since their graduation from USC. This could include professional, academic (including research), community and/or other achievements.

Nominations can be made by USC alumni, staff, students and members of the community, such as colleagues, family and friends. Self-nominations are accepted if a written letter of endorsement is included.

Nominations will close on 7 July and the awards presented at the Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony on 11 September. All alumni are welcome to attend this celebration.

For information about how to nominate or to read about past award recipients, visit or contact Anita Edmonds at Alumni Relations at or phone +61 7 5459 4564.

Update your details USC’s Alumni Relations Office is keen to ensure it has the current email addresses of graduates, so they can receive alumni newsletters and invitations to events. Please contact to update your contact details.

Hamlet.Psyched puts spotlight on positive texting
PhD research into alleviating stress has starring role in production

A University of the Sunshine Coast researcher has used the power of positive text messaging to alleviate the stresses faced by first-year university students.

Health Promotion PhD student Jane Foster said preliminary findings indicated that SMS (short message service) was an effective tool for boosting the mental health of USC students who participated in the study in 2012.

In an innovative twist, elements of Ms Foster’s research were incorporated into USC Theatre’s production of Hamlet.Psyched, which was performed at Chancellor State College Theatre in late February.

The contemporary take on the Shakespearean play explored the mental health issues of the main characters through different forms of theatre and media.

Ms Foster, of Buderim, said her study evaluated a program called MyTERN (Take Emotional Responsibility Now), in which students watched a short movie, read a manual and received daily text messages.

“The texts were based on a metaphor, where you are the driver, only you control your steering wheel — therefore you can’t control anyone else’s, and every road you drive down is an emotion,” she said. After one semester, results were collected from surveys, interviews and SMS feedback.

“There were significant positive changes in the students’ wellbeing and a decreased score in psychological distress,” Ms Foster said.

“Further analysis revealed a feeling of connection and a sense of control within a large number of students. They felt better mentally and physically and performed better academically, encouraging them to continue at university.”

Ms Foster is voluntarily continuing the MyTERN service, which now has several hundred followers.

USC Art Gallery Exhibitions  |

Entry to the University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery is free and the public is welcome. Open: 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. Closed Sundays and public holidays.

2013 Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition
27 March–3 May

Each year, following the annual Walkley Awards, the Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition hits the road to showcase the outstanding moments in sport, daily life and news reportage of the past year. The exhibition features the heartbreak and triumph, jubilation and devastation presented in images by Australia’s most outstanding photojournalists. A judging panel of senior photographers and picture editors select the images for the awards and subsequent exhibition looking for newsworthiness, impact, creativity and technical skill. The finalists and winners encompass a range of stories—from politicians to everyday folk, from backyards to the furthest corners of the globe.

The John Mainwaring Collection
8 May–7 June

THIS exhibition will present a selection of paintings and prints that architect John Mainwaring donated from his considerable personal art collection to the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2012. Mr Mainwaring was co-designer of the multi-award winning USC Library and he is nationally recognised as a leader in sub-tropical architecture. He made this significant donation to maintain his close ties with the University and to make his collection available to the public. The exhibition highlights the richness and diversity of a collection created by a person with a fine eye for art, aesthetic and design.

Fibro Coast
12 June–16 August

AT a time when rapid change to the urban fabric of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts is taking place, this exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to re-engage with the cultural, artistic, architectural and design legacy of the beach cottage. Presented in collaboration with the Gold Coast Art Gallery and independent curator John Waldron, the exhibition will present a series of contemporary artists’ impressions in addition to historical paintings, architectural information and photographs of the changing landscape of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

Photographs and Memories
12 June–16 August

Celebrating the 10th birthday of the USC Gallery in its current location, this exhibition will highlight the dedication and work of the gallery’s wonderful volunteers. It will comprise a series of photographs that journal the stories, work, laughter and fun of the past 10 years.