Community - 2014, Edition 3 | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Community - 2014, Edition 3


Vice-Chancellor’s Comment

“Building the USC research profile is one of four key priorities in the current strategic plan.”

USC enjoys extraordinary year of success in research

With so many wonderful things going on at the University of the Sunshine Coast, it is sometimes difficult to find just one thing to focus on in this column.

As luck would have it, though, I have just received information from USC’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Roland De Marco that summarises what has been an extraordinary year of success in gaining prestigious research grants and recruiting high-profile research staff.

Research and the relationship between teaching and research is what distinguishes universities from other providers of tertiary education.

Research profile is also a key determinant of a university’s reputation.

So for these reasons, not to mention our commitment to conduct regionally relevant research that makes a difference, building the USC research profile is one of four key priorities in the current strategic plan (2011-2015).

This year, research income will be about $9 million. To put that in perspective, this is three times what we received just three years ago. It is also well above the ambitious targets we set ourselves in the strategic plan.

The number of research publications and the University’s higher degree by research enrolments show a similar trend.

And watch this space. As most research grants have a three to five year life, there is a very substantial pipeline of funding in place for the next few years even without new grants.

But we will not be resting on our laurels. USC’s established researchers are going from strength to strength, while strategic recruitment is delivering a blend of current and future research stars.

Many of the new recruits have brought existing grants with them and they will soon be delivering new projects through USC.

That we are able to attract such people is an indication of USC’s growing reputation and the hard work put in by our core, longer-term staff who have positioned the University as an attractive destination for people building research careers.

Professor Greg Hill
Vice-Chancellor and President

Around USC

01 Jamie’s Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen arrived at USC in September to provide community-based cooking classes over 10 weeks. The cooking program—delivered by Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia with the support of Sunshine Coast Council and USC—has been built on celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s beliefs about cooking. Dedicated food trainers have supervised classes for students, staff and members of the community, and have been assisted by USC Nutrition students.

02 The Australian Barramundi Farmers Association recently presented USC Associate Professor of Marketing Meredith Lawley with its Most Innovative Research Award. Dr Lawley has spent five years investigating how best to promote Australian farmed barramundi and develop the market. She interviewed seafood industry experts, fishmongers, wholesalers, retailers, consumers and chefs for her research funded by the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

03 Three USC academics are collaborating with researchers from other universities on projects that have just received $890,000 in grants from the Australian Research Council. The USC academics are Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Roland De Marco, Associate Professor Thomas Schlacher and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Business Professor Joanne Scott. Their respective projects are a new clean energy technology, a better understanding of what marine ecosystems need to survive, and an examination of one of the Whitlam era’s lesser known social programs.

04 A planned business based on beehives made from recycled plastic created a buzz at the final of the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast’s annual Business Pitch competition recently. Beerburrum beekeepers Ann and Jeff Ross won the Concept category of the contest after impressing judges with their plans to produce innovative beehives designed to deter disease and pests. The Investment category was won by Nano-Nouvelle with a high-tech battery performance innovation.

05 A tour to the American state of Wyoming has helped Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from USC gain insights into the education and culture of another indigenous people. The recent two-week trip involved USC Social Work students Justin Chilly, Jennie Briese and Keely Dewson, guided by Student Adviser Nicole Copley of USC’s Buranga Centre and Jordan Dwyer from USC’s chapter of AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience).

Eighteen new study programs
University responds to rapidly changing jobs market by introducing new degrees

In a strong sign of growth and an ability to cater for industry demand in a rapidly changing jobs market, the University of the Sunshine Coast is offering 18 new study programs for 2015.

Among these are five new degrees in health aimed at preparing graduates for work in Queensland’s fastest growing industry.

Four new Bachelor of Health Science programs offer specialisations in Health Communication, Applied Health Promotion, Applied Environmental Health or Epidemiology and Public Health, while the new Bachelor of Health and Community Care Management prepares graduates for leadership roles in that sector.

USC’s suite of Law degrees introduced this year will be expanded to include combined programs with Property Economics and Development, and with Commerce (Financial Planning).

And Psychology offerings have been increased with a new Graduate Diploma of Psychology, Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) and Master of Professional Psychology.

Attracting plenty of interest is a Bachelor of Animal Ecology, which will qualify graduates to contribute to the study, conservation and management of wild and captive animals.

This degree has been developed to meet demand for extensive, hands-on fieldwork involving local fauna ranging from marine invertebrates to land animals.

A Bachelor of Criminology and Justice is being introduced to train students for careers in crime detection and prevention, while the Bachelor of Design and Marketing addresses the need for multi-skilled creative people in the digital age.

Industry demand for specialised graduates in business and engineering has led to the provision of a Bachelor of Business (Supply Chain Management) and a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours)/Bachelor of Environmental Science respectively.

Students of a new Diploma in Languages have the choice of specialising in Italian, Japanese or Indonesian, while a Master of International Development will provide for those keen on careers that involve solving humanitarian challenges.

Rounding out USC’s 18 new programs is a two-year Bachelor of Education (Primary) (Graduate Entry), which will enable graduates from other disciplines to pursue a teaching career.

Study advice for 2015

USC will hold a full-day Options event at its Sippy Downs campus on Friday 19 December to provide advice about enrolling to study in 2015.

Prospective students can drop in any time from 9am to 5pm to chat with USC staff about QTAC preferences, study programs, the admissions process, fees and scholarships.

They can also take campus tours and attend seminars on ‘surviving the first year of uni’ at noon and 4pm. To register, visit

A similar Options event will be held at USC Gympie on 3 December from 5.30pm.To register, email telephone (07) 5456 5800.

University celebrates best Games results

USC athletes are celebrating their best performance ever at the Australian University Games in October after winning three gold medals and a bronze.

The women’s futsal team was undefeated on its way to the Division 1 grand final, which it won 4-2 over University of Technology Sydney.

The women’s volleyball team won its Division 2 grand final, defeating the University of Melbourne 3-1.

Cameron Taylor achieved an individual gold medal in taekwondo, while USC’s mixed touch team claimed bronze.

USC sent 58 athletes to the five-day, multi-sport carnival in Sydney that involved more than 6,000 students from 40 tertiary institutions across Australia.

Top medal for veterinarian who studies beaches
High achiever rewarded for dedication to community

A veterinary surgeon, whose love for the region’s beaches and wildlife has inspired her to excel in her studies and ongoing research, received the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Chancellor’s Medal when she graduated in early October.

Marion Brown, 47, of Sunrise Beach, was awarded the prestigious prize along with her Bachelor of Environmental Science.

The Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honour that can go to graduating students. It is for those who have made outstanding contributions to the University or wider community and achieved a high academic level.

“I’m honoured to receive it, and a bit embarrassed,” said Ms Brown, now studying Honours in Science while working at Noosa District Animal Hospital, raising two children and volunteering with community groups including Noosa Integrated Catchment Association.

She is also a dedicated wildlife carer, rehabilitating many native animals for release.

Ms Brown earned a near-perfect grade point average of 6.96 out of a possible 7.

“I’m pretty lucky. I had a lot of help from lecturers, including Associate Lecturer Peter Davies, and used Student Services support,” she said. “I do feel I’m contributing to the Sunshine Coast region and I would like my research to benefit Australian ecosystems. We have the knowledge and the facilities here to do something and it’s important we get it right, set an example of sustainability.”

She received a Vice-Chancellor’s Honours Scholarship to assist her ongoing study of the beach food web for scavengers, such as raptors, other birds and foxes.

“I’ve been doing fieldwork on Moreton and Stradbroke islands with the aim of highlighting the importance of biodiversity,” said Ms Brown, who gained a Veterinary Science Honours degree from the University of Queensland in the 1980s.

New mum kept eye on the prize

New Bachelor of Communication graduate and new mum Jenna Harding was awarded a University Medal for academic excellence at the University of the Sunshine Coast graduation ceremony in early October.

The Maroochydore 28-year-old walked across the stage at the Faculty of Arts and Business ceremony before a crowd including her loved ones cradling her seven-week-old daughter, Willow.

Ms Harding, who was pregnant throughout her final semester, achieved a grade point average of 6.8 out of a possible 7.

“I kept my eyes on the prize,” she said. “I was determined to get the degree done in time. I had a lot of help from teaching staff and other support from the University.”

She said receiving the medal was an honour. “It’s lovely to be recognised for the hard work.”

Ms Harding, who graduated from Mountain Creek State High School in 2003, said USC provided the flexibility she needed while juggling study with work in client services at Comlink Mobility, Birtinya.

Learning and Teaching Hub officially opened

Queensland Senator James McGrath officially opened the University of the Sunshine Coast’s impressive Learning and Teaching Hub on Monday 4 August.

A large crowd attended the event to celebrate the opening of the three-storey building, which is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund, TAFE Queensland East Coast and USC.

It has ushered in a new era of simulation learning, greater community engagement and stronger links between the University and TAFE, particularly in nursing education.

The building contains premises for USC’s Student Life and Learning, Tertiary Preparation Pathway, Buranga Centre, Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT) and TAFE’s nursing programs. It has state-of-the-art teaching areas and there are innovative spaces for students to study and relax.

Comedian shows his true colour is USC green
USC recognises Bill Bailey’s contribution to the environment

Acclaimed British comedian, musician and actor Bill Bailey was clearly delighted to become an Honorary Doctor of the University of the Sunshine Coast on Tuesday 14 October.

Mr Bailey took time out from a national stand-up comedy tour to receive the award at a special USC ceremony attended by about 600 students, staff and members of the public.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the honorary doctorate was awarded to acknowledge Mr Bailey’s outstanding contribution to the environment on a global scale.

“We believe that his commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainability, particularly in Southeast Asia and Indonesia, demonstrates excellence and deserves recognition,” he said.

“As an internationally acclaimed comedian, who is highly regarded across generations and around the world, his public support of these causes contributes greatly to the conservation of our planet and serves as a model for present and future generations.”

Mr Bailey said he felt honoured and humbled to be recognised in this way.

“This is a unique honour for me,” he said. “It’s an unprecedented milestone in my career.

“And it seems entirely fitting that it should be here at the University of the Sunshine Coast, which values so much the engagement with the surroundings and holds in such regard environmental sustainability — both issues close to my heart.”

Mr Bailey is well known for his role in the British sitcom, Black Books, as a team captain on the BBC music panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and as a regular panellist on the BBC panel show QI. He has also produced many documentaries, including his most recent work on Alfred Russel Wallace, who was a significant research partner of Charles Darwin.

Doctorate for Chief Scientist

Australia's Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb AC has become an Honorary Doctor of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Professor Chubb, who is one of the country’s most knowledgeable and influential people in higher education, science and research, received the award at one of two USC Graduation ceremonies on 2 October.

He has been a supporter of USC since 1999 when he was a member of a panel that recommended independent status for the then fledgling University. He also helped launch USC’s Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) Project in 2011.

At the other Graduation ceremony on 2 October, USC presented Honorary Senior Fellowships to former Queensland Director-General Jim Varghese and former town planner Raul Weychardt.

Scientist issues warning about tree-killing wasps
Entomologist says sirex woodwasp has already arrived in Queensland

University of the Sunshine Coast entomologist Dr Helen Nahrung just loves creepy crawlies. Whether they are in their natural habitat or under a microscope, she spends her days studying insects of all shapes and sizes.

But there’s one critter that Dr Nahrung is not keen to see on the Sunshine Coast any time soon — the sirex woodwasp.

First found in Tasmania in 1952, this tree-killing wasp has slowly crept north, finally crossing the Queensland border into the pine forests of the cooler temperate Stanthorpe region in 2009.

According to Dr Nahrung, it is a major problem in plantation pine forests around the world.

“It is an amazing creature that has a symbiotic relationship with a fungus, so they can’t live without each other,” she said.

“When the sirex lays eggs in the pine tree, it also lays fungus spores and some poisonous mucous. The mucous dries out the tree so the fungus can grow and the wasp larvae can eat the fungus. All of that together actually kills pine trees, which is quite incredible.”

Treatment for the sirex woodwasps involves inoculating some trees with nematodes (a type of worm) that invade the sirex larvae and migrate into their ovaries. When those female sirex mature they lay nematode larvae into other trees.

Dr Nahrung and her collaborator at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Manon Griffiths, are trying to work out whether this existing treatment will work on the hybrid pine trees grown on the Sunshine Coast and further north.

Dr Nahrung is a USC Research Futures Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) Research Fellow, working with both the GeneCology and Forest Industry Research Centres at USC.

Psychology student wins poster contest

A USC student’s poster about his research into the effects of traumatic childbirth on the mental health of fathers has won a prestigious national university competition in Canberra.

Psychology Honours student Christian Inglis, 23, of Forest Glen took out the Best Poster award at ‘Posters in Parliament’—an exhibition of Australian undergraduate student research that was displayed in Parliament House, Canberra, recently.

The competition judges chose Christian’s work from the 33 finalists’ posters on display at the exhibition.

Researcher says video games can empower girls

A USC researcher is investigating how video games might promote positive female identity during play and deliver affirmative outcomes in the lives of teenage girls.

PhD student Katryna Starks said her research was focused on female gamers, a demographic not yet adequately catered for in game design.

“My research is exploring the effects of video games on stereotype threat, agency and self-esteem in pre-adolescent and adolescent girls,” she said. “I’m investigating whether there are gaming elements that promote positive female identity, which may also promote positive results in life.”

World-first field trial of vaccine is successful
Chlamydia researchers seek donations to provide brighter future for more koalas

Scientists at the University of the Sunshine Coast are celebrating the world’s first successful field trial of a vaccine against chlamydia in koalas.

The breakthrough was announced in late October by USC microbiologists Professor Peter Timms and Dr Adam Polkinghorne, who have spent five years leading a team of collaborators on the vaccine project. Chlamydia causes blindness and infertility in koalas and is believed responsible for 50 percent of koala deaths.

Professor Timms said the research, which began at QUT with Professor Ken Beagley, has been funded by two Australian Research Council Linkage grants and received significant industry and government support. USC’s project partners have included QUT, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Moreton Bay Regional Council, City of Gold Coast, Endeavour Veterinary Ecology, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Friends of the Koala and the Queensland Departments of Transport and Main Roads and Environment and Heritage Protection.

While previous trials of the vaccine involved captive koalas, the field trial over the past year has involved 60 wild koalas roaming in their natural habitat in the Moreton Bay region.

Professor Timms said his team was keen to evaluate the vaccine on further koala populations, but would require additional funds. People can donate to this work via a special USC fund at Koala research project.

Funding will help fight blindness in koalas

USC microbiologists recently earned a highly competitive Discovery Project grant of almost $460,000 from the Australian Research Council for their study into how chlamydia causes blindness in koalas.

Dr Adam Polkinghorne and Professor Peter Timms gained an ARC Discovery Project grant of $458,600 for this project, which is separate to but associated with their other koala chlamydia research.

The news has delighted the USC academics, who have teamed with Professor Katherine Belov (University of Sydney), Dr Garry Myers (University of Technology Sydney) and Associate Professor Anthony Papenfuss (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research) for this work.

“Basically, what we’re looking at is the biology behind why some koalas are better than others at withstanding this disease,” Dr Polkinghorne said. “If we can get a better understanding of how some koalas make an effective response to chlamydia, we will be able to feed this information directly into further enhancing the efficacy of our prototype koala chlamydia vaccine.”

Dr Polkinghorne said the research project would significantly expand knowledge of the koala immune system and help benefit all koala conservation efforts.

Roo research counts on local knowledge

USC scientists researching the effects of urbanisation on kangaroo populations in South-East Queensland are asking people across the community to share their knowledge.

Master of Science student Beth Brunton, 35, of Kulangoor is leading the research project, which will examine the conservation status of eastern grey kangaroos using the population on the University’s campus as a case study.

“We’d like to hear from local people who have seen kangaroos on their property or surrounds or who have knowledge of kangaroos in their area,” Beth said.

An online survey has been designed to capture community knowledge. To participate visit Kangaroo research project.

Students invited to address conferences

USC students in the disciplines of Midwifery and Occupational Therapy have been invited to speak to major industry conferences in recent months.

Midwifery students Jane Hawthorne and Lauren Randall addressed the Australian College of Midwives Conference on the Gold Coast in September about their experiences of using PepplePad ePortfolio for clinical assessments.

They told this national conference about their pioneering use of these online portfolios to follow the progress of women they support through pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care.

Meanwhile, seven USC Occupational Therapy students and four academics presented their research at the biennial OT Queensland State Conference at Noosa in late October.

Honours student Joanne Eadie presented her research into the positive effects of adventure racing for people who have chronic illness or disability

Adventure racing combines teamwork and navigation using a map and compass with two or more disciplines like trekking, mountain biking, kayaking or rock climbing and is staged in the bush, often in spectacular locations.

Another Honours student, Jordana Parkes-Moller, presented her study into the importance of pet ownership to senior citizens.

Tomato farmer is nursing new career ambitions
USC Gympie provides opportunity for 50-year-old farmer to pursue career change

A tomato farmer and former hotelier, who decided to try university for the first time at age 50, is enjoying his first year of a Nursing Science degree at USC.

Richard MacDonald, who has run the successful Noosa Reds tomato business with his family for seven years, said he had wanted to be a nurse since he was a child and was finally confident of following a dream to be a volunteer nurse in Ethiopia.

The married father of three said he had the support of his family, including a son also studying at USC, and was embracing the opportunities offered on the campuses at Sippy Downs and Gympie.

“I’ve followed many directions in my life but I got to a point where the boys were leaving home and I had time to re-evaluate,” said Mr MacDonald of Doonan.

The idea of nursing in third world countries was inspired by visitors to his hotel in Scotland in the early 2000s who were involved with medical charity Mercy Ships.

“I’ve since become friends with a surgeon on the Coast who does voluntary work in Ethiopia and his stories made me rekindle this idea,” Mr MacDonald said.

“Enrolling in TPP (USC’s Tertiary Preparation Pathway program) is the best thing I ever did.”

Mr MacDonald said USC was convenient, had a large number of mature-age students and offered the degree he wanted.

“I’d never been motivated to study previously and I needed to learn the discipline of studying and how to think in a different way,” he said.

“TPP gave me the confidence that I could do something totally different, even chemistry and biology, which I’d always been scared of.

“I was very excited to get into Nursing Science this year and the lecturers and tutors have been really supportive.”

Science challenge final held at University

Buderim's Matthew Flinders Anglican College was named state champion of the Science and Engineering Super Challenge that was held at the USC Sports Stadium in August.

The University has regularly hosted the regional final of this challenge, but this was the first time it has hosted the Queensland final.

USC’s Science and Engineering Outreach Coordinator Marina Fitzpatrick said the atmosphere at the event was fun and intense as nine finalist schools from across the state tested their skills and knowledge.

“It was great to see almost 290 Year 10 students designing and flying Styrofoam gliders, wiring up virtual cities and constructing earthquake-proof buildings out of paper, straws and tape,” she said.

Other hotly-contested events included building model bridges, using board and coloured string to develop high-speed rail networks, and designing model hovercrafts.

The Matthew Flinders Anglican College team went on to win the national final, called the Grand Challenge, in Adelaide on 29 October.

Swimmer earns back-to-back sports awards

World champion swimmer and Paralympic gold medallist Blake Cochrane has become the first back-to-back winner of USC’s Sportsperson of the Year trophy.

The Clinical Exercise Science student received the honour at USC’s annual Sports Awards Ceremony on 6 November in recognition of his outstanding achievements over the past year.

These included winning four gold medals at the Para Pan Pacific Championships in the 200m individual medley, 100m breaststroke, 50m freestyle S8 and 4x100m freestyle relay, and claiming bronze in the 200m individual medley SM8 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Blake received his trophy from dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist, pole vaulter Alana Boyd, who was guest speaker at the ceremony.

USC’s women’s futsal team was named the Team of the Year after winning gold at the Australian University Games in Sydney in October.

Full Blue awards went to wheelchair basketballer Bridie Kean and swimmers Jacob Templeton and Michael Anderson, while Half Blue awards went to Caitlin Gilliman for sprint kayaking, Kyle Townsend and Rebekah Horsey for futsal, Cameron Taylor for taekwondo, Grace Wilkins for rugby 7s and Patarawadee Kittiya for swimming.

Continued excellence awards were presented to Blake and fellow Commonwealth Games swimmer Tessa Wallace, while Yoel Jogiono received USC’s Green Award for his work as manager and coach of USC’s men’s and women’s futsal teams.

Three USC staff gain national recognition
Citations celebrate outstanding contributions to student learning

Three University of the Sunshine Coast staff recently received Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning from the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT).

The $10,000 citations, announced by Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne in September, went to Dr Michael Carey, Dr Geoff Lovell and Caroline Cottman. Only 110 of these citations will be awarded nationally this year.

Dr Carey lectures in English language and literacy, Dr Lovell teaches in psychology and Ms Cottman facilitates the professional development of academic staff at USC.

They received their citations at the 2014 Australian Awards for University Teaching at Brisbane’s Customs House in late September.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann congratulated the trio, saying OLT citations distinguished Australia’s most inspiring academic and professional staff whose sustained teaching contributions had enriched student learning.

Journalism student scoops coveted prize

USC continued its great record of success at Queensland’s premier journalism awards, the Clarion Awards, with final-year student Nicole Madden claiming a coveted prize recently.

Nicole, 23, of Tewantin was the winner of the Most Outstanding Journalism Student from a Regional Campus category for her broadcast and print submissions.

The judges said her work “demonstrated initiative and the ability to spot a story then deliver it on a broad range of platforms”.

She was also praised for her interviewing skills in her broadcast reports, while her print piece was recognised for its strong construction. Nicole has worked part-time in the ABC Sunshine Coast newsroom during her degree and hopes to gain a position in radio when she graduates.

The two other finalists for this award were USC students, Daisy Hatfield and Susie Ross.

Award for future water engineer

USC third-year Civil Engineering student Jake Briggs of Brightwater recently took a giant step closer to achieving his dream of becoming a water infrastructure engineer.

Jake, 20, was announced as the winner of the $10,000 Unitywater Scholarship in Civil Engineering at the annual USC Engineering Awards Ceremony on 18 September.

“I chose this degree because I really want to work with water — whether it’s reservoirs, supply, quality or sanitation,” he said.

Another 12 awards, worth almost $40,000 and presented by businesses and individuals, were presented to other top USC engineering students at the ceremony.

University presents first Law bursaries

USC presented its first Law bursaries, two awards valued at $5,000 each, at its annual Semester 2 Scholarships Presentation Ceremony in late September.

Tori Pearson received the Justin Crosby Memorial Law Bursary from Catherine Crosby and John Watson of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, while Shelby Tonkin was presented with the Ferguson Cannon Law Bursary by Ferguson Cannon Lawyers director Byron Cannon.

The bursaries were among 34 awards, worth a total of $48,000, that were distributed to students from various disciplines at the ceremony.

Carpark ceremony signals start of $32,000 scholarships
Two major projects will benefit students well into the future

An official sod turning ceremony at the University of the Sunshine Coast recently signalled the start of two major projects that will bring significant benefits for USC students for decades to come.

Philanthropist and property developer Roy Thompson and USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill officially launched construction of a $10 million multi-level carpark in late August.

This facility was funded by a $5 million gift by Mr Thompson and his wife, Nola, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the University.

Not only will the carpark help keep USC ahead of demand for parking bays as it grows, revenues raised from its operation in the University’s regulated parking zone will fund an exciting new scholarship scheme.

The first four Thompson Excellence Scholarships, valued at up to $32,000 each, will be awarded in early 2015. These will be the most generous scholarships on offer at USC.

In addition, the University will soon launch Thompson Study Support Scholarships to help those needing financial assistance to complete their studies.

USC graduates rise and shine
Alumni make their mark in science, design and business

Three University of the Sunshine Coast graduates who have achieved extraordinary results in their fields of water quality research, digital design and sports business were announced as USC’s 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award winners in mid-September.

Brisbane-based water quality microbiologist Dr Warish Ahmed, who gained a PhD from USC in 2006, received the award for Outstanding Alumnus.

Dr Ahmed is a Senior Research Scientist with the CSIRO’s Land and Water Flagship at the Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane and is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at USC.

As part of his doctoral research at USC, Dr Ahmed developed a microbial source tracking (MST) method known as “biochemical fingerprinting” to identify sources of faecal pollution in Australia’s waterways.

His CSIRO research into health risk assessments of roof-captured rainwater has received significant attention from state health departments and internationally, and he is involved in research collaborations examining sewage impacts in global waters.

USC’s Rising Star 2014 is Jessica Huddart, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Design and Marketing) in 2006.

Ms Huddart is the Creative Director and Partner of Josephmark, a Brisbane-based design and branding agency that has had international success.

Since joining Josephmark’s co-founders in 2005 as their first designer, she has helped grow the business into a leading digital agency, working on projects for global social media and multimedia companies.

USC’s 2014 Regional Achievement Award went to Brendan Powell, who received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from USC in 2006.

Mr Powell is the co-owner and Director of Business Operations at Queensland Oztag, a social, non-contact sport that can be played from ages 6 to 60. Under his leadership since 2009, the number of venues across the state has grown from seven to 44 and the number of players from 4,500 to 30,000.

Sporting Dreams reaches milestone

Inspirational USC graduate Marayke Jonkers has reached an impressive milestone with the foundation she established in 2008 to provide financial support to athletes with disabilities.

Marayke, a former Paralympic swimmer who has USC degrees in Communication and Community Work, presented the 100th grant from her Sporting Dreams foundation at a gala event on campus in October.

The recipient was 18-year-old alpine skier Jordan Carroll, who will use the $500 grant to pursue his goal to compete at the Winter Paralympics.

“Twenty-one rising stars and established athletes from across Queensland were awarded individual grants of up to $500 as part of the 2014 funding allocation,” Marayke said. “They ranged in age from 10-year-old wheelchair basketball player Travis Larkin to 57-year-old lawn bowler Debra McGarry, and will use their grants towards costs such as sports equipment, competition fees and travel expenses.”

Marayke established Sporting Dreams in 2008 with a $10,000 grant she received from a national women’s magazine award. She said she was proud to have supported 118 athletes with disabilities since then.

Graduate Walk support

Jocelyn Walker, who established USC’s annual Vic Walker Memorial Scholarship for Immanuel Lutheran College students in 2000, has embraced the University’s Graduate Walk initiative.

Ms Walker recently bought 12 pavers inscribed with the names of Vic Walker Memorial Scholarship recipients and family members who have graduated from USC.

The Graduate Walk will be built in time for USC’s 20th year celebrations in 2016. It will include 400 pavers, which can be purchased for $200 each, with funds raised going to help students in financial stress. Pavers can be bought by graduates or as gifts for graduates.

Whale rescue sculpture finds new home
USC pleased to display fluid and evocative artwork

A large glass sculpture depicting the amazing rescue of a baby humpback whale by surf lifesavers at Coolum Beach in 1996 has been donated to the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The fluid and evocative work ‘Rescue of the Big Baby’, by renowned glass artist Shar Feil-Moorman, has for many years been on display in the restaurant of the Coolum Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

Surf club president John Roderick said a shortage of space after recent renovations at the club meant the artwork (measuring 4.95m x 2.32m x 50mm deep) required a new home.

“In considering the options, it became very obvious that the University would not only have the room, but the facility to allow the members of the Sunshine Coast community to continue to enjoy this artwork and history,” he said.

The sculpture honours the seven-hour rescue effort on 16 October 1996 when Coolum Beach lifesavers and local residents cared for a calf that had become stuck on a sand bank close to shore.

Staff from Sea World on the Gold Coast and Underwater World on the Sunshine Coast, attached a special sling to the calf with the assistance of the surf club’s IRB crew.

After several attempts, the baby whale was finally moved off the sandbank and was able to rejoin its mother in deeper water.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the generous gift was a fitting way to keep this epic rescue on public display.

“The artwork is displayed on the ground floor level of Building B where our students, staff and visitors to the University of the Sunshine Coast can all enjoy it,” Professor Hill said.

“As we already have several glass works by the artist on campus, this is an interesting addition to follow her career.”

USC 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.

Intersection Interaction
27 November—20 December

Glen Manning and Kathy Daly have provided this body of work to explore the intersection between art and landscape, both built and natural, and human interaction with art. It considers how public art plays a significant role in connecting people with the spaces they live, work and play. The exhibition also introduces new art, including sculpture, with cutting-edge interactive technology, mixed media stone sculpture, projection and photography.

Telling Stories
12 February–21 March

This exhibition will feature illustrations provided by the discipline of Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Exhibitors include USC staff and students, including Ross Watkins, Dean Jacobs and others, who specialise in the illustrated book.

Abstract Sequential Art: Kym Tabulo
12 February–21 March

THE post-graduate work of creative writer and artist Kym Tabulo provides an insight into a new creative art genre. It is a series of sequentially placed abstract images that focus on form and technique designed to elicit a response from the viewer.

Summer closure

The University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery will close over summer for maintenance and to allow staff to audit the art collection.