Community - 2015, Edition 1 | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Community - 2015, Edition 1


Vice-Chancellor’s Comment

“Our $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub is bound to become a jewel in the crown for USC and for the Sunshine Coast region.”

Campus growth brings exciting developments for USC

Some exciting developments currently underway at the University of the Sunshine Coast are set to make 2015 a memorable year.

With our student population edging past the 11,000 mark for the first time, USC is moving quickly to keep pace with continued growth both on our main campus at Sippy Downs and at our newer campuses at Gympie and South Bank in Brisbane.

Construction is almost complete for our $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub — an initiative of the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund and USC — which is bound to become a jewel in the crown for USC and for the Sunshine Coast region.

This state-of-the-art complex will house world-class visualisation theatres for immersive learning, combining visualisation techniques with 3D and virtual reality technologies.

It will be only the fourth simulation facility of its kind in the world and the first to be used for learning and teaching, initially with Engineering and then expanding to other disciplines.

Also nearing completion is USC’s first multi-level carpark, which was funded by a $5 million gift from Roy and Nola Thompson last year that was matched dollar-for-dollar by USC.

As well as providing a further 500 parking bays on campus, proceeds from the carpark will go towards an ongoing scholarship scheme that was launched recently.

Four very grateful new students became the first recipients of the Thompson Excellence Scholarships, valued at $32,000 each, at a special ceremony on 19 February.

This year, USC has expanded its degree offerings by introducing new study programs in areas like Animal Ecology, Justice and Criminology, Health Science and Law.

And our emphasis on expanding USC’s research capabilities will continue, with a particular focus on health research to be conducted at the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The hospital’s Skills, Academic and Research Centre will afford us excellent opportunities to build our institutional capacity and capability in health education and research, and lift our national and international profile.

Professor Birgit Lohmann
Acting Vice-Chancellor and President

Around USC

01 USC graduate Marayke Jonkers was recently inducted into the Sunshine Coast Sports Hall of Fame for her achievements as a Paralympic swimmer. Marayke, who became a paraplegic in a car accident as an infant, represented Australia at the Paralympic Games in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, claiming a silver and two bronze medals along the way. She holds USC degrees in Social Sciences and Communication. Also inducted was former world champion longboard surfer Josh Constable.

02 USC expertise in sustainable tourism has contributed to a new set of standards adopted by countries across Southeast Asia to ensure quality experiences for tourists and flow-on benefits to local communities. USC Professor Bill Carter recently presented to the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Myanmar, where the new Community-Based Tourism standards were endorsed by member tourism organisations and approved by Ministers.

03 A group of USC students travelled to China for 17 days in February to study modern architecture and planning in densely populated cities. Following an invitation from City University Hong Kong, five final-year Regional and Urban Planning students and their lecturer Dr Nicholas Stevens visited Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and Guanzhou. The students also worked on a collaborative cultural heritage project in Guanzhou. The trip was supported by a New Colombo Plan mobility grant from the Australian Government.

04 A new Social Work student hopes to inspire more Indigenous students to pursue higher education after becoming the first in her family of nine to study at university. Suzy Kemp, 26, enrolled at USC after finishing the Tertiary Preparation Pathway Program last year. “I dropped out of school at 12 years old and I was petrified in the first week at uni but the support of USC’s Buranga Centre and the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme got me through it,” she said. Suzy also participated in a USC-supported community project that launched a stunning hand-painted canoe at Lake Kawana in January.

05 A $284,000 Australian Government grant is enabling USC to lead a project in collaboration with seven other regional universities to find the best ways of delivering state-of-the-art education to students of the future. USC’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Karen Nelson and Director of USC’s Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching Kylie Readman are leading this important national project.

Thousands enjoy Welcome Week
Student population reaches 11,000 as Semester 1 begins

All the colour and camaraderie of Welcome Week took over the Sippy Downs campus in late February as the University of the Sunshine Coast provided serious information and light entertainment for its 11,000 new and returning students.

Almost 4,000 new students joined about 7,000 current students when Semester 1 started on Monday 2 March.

The week’s full program of orientation activities included information sessions, tours of the facilities, social and sporting fun, music and free food.

USC Gympie students started the ball rolling at the Gympie campus on 19 February with their own Welcome Day of Hawaiian/Mexican-style fun and festivities.

A highlight of this year’s Sippy Downs event was Tuesday’s New Semester Fiesta, complete with Mexican Cantina, DJs, free barbecue, obstacle course and inflatable games.

Students enjoyed watching Quidditch (played on broomsticks) and barefoot bowls along with cooking demonstrations, market stalls, and displays of photography and creative writing.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann said there were plenty of opportunities for new students to get to know their campus before classes started.

Academics and administrative staff, student ambassadors and mentors answered individual questions from students.

The Bachelor of Nursing Science remains USC’s most sought-after degree, followed by other health-related programs like Paramedic Science, Sport and Exercise Science, Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Biomedical Science.

Top 10 degrees

USC most sought-after degrees are:

  1. Bachelor of Nursing Science
  2. Bachelor of Paramedic Science
  3. Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science
  4. Bachelor of Primary Education
  5. Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
  6. Bachelor of Business (Tourism, Leisure and Event Management)
  7. Bachelor of Creative Industries
  8. Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)
  9. Bachelor of Science
  10. Bachelor of Biomedical Science
Visualisation facility will be most advanced

Construction of USC’s $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub is almost complete.

This state-of-the-art complex will be officially opened later this year and will house world-class visualisation theatres for immersive learning, combining visualisation techniques with 3D and virtual reality technologies.

The three-storey building is an initiative of the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund and USC. It was designed by Brewster Hjorth Architects and is being constructed by Hutchinson Builders.

The building is centred around a suite of visualisation facilities, including an immersive 3-D environment called CAVE2TM that will provide researchers, academics and students with the ability to visualise big data sets, manipulate computer-generated objects and engage with immersive virtual environments.

USC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann said this facility was only the fourth of its kind in the world and would become the first used for learning and teaching.

“Once the Engineering Learning Hub opens its doors, we will have the most advanced learning and teaching facilities for visualisation in Australia,” she said. “It will enable us to engage students in a deeper understanding of core and threshold discipline concepts.

“We will be the first university to use a CAVE2TM facility primarily for learning and teaching. The other CAVE2TM systems in the world—in the Electronic Visualisation Laboratory Chicago, Raytheon Integrated Defence Systems in Boston and at Monash University in Melbourne—are used for research.”

A video about USC’s CAVE2TM is online via Youtube.

Graduate’s business gains $1.1 million in funding
Innovative program helps tackle binge drinking culture

An online intervention program started by a University of the Sunshine Coast graduate to reduce risky alcohol consumption across society is busy expanding its services with a $1.1 million funding injection from the Australian Government.

Chris Raine, who graduated from USC in 2009 with an Arts/Business degree, is the founder and CEO of Hello Sunday Morning, a free program that encourages young people to change their attitudes and approaches to binge drinking by abstaining for a number of months and receiving peer support as they record their experiences.

Mr Raine, 28, said his program was expecting major milestones in 2015, including the release of a smartphone application and the sign-up of its 50,000th member.

The former Caloundra resident said the funding announced by Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton was a game-changer for the not-for-profit social enterprise and would help it develop services for people with health issues related to alcohol.

“It shows the Government believes in what we’re doing and sees the long-term value of investing in an evidence-based startup that’s using new technologies to help Australians change the way we drink,” he said.

Mr Raine, who now runs the charity with five staff in Sydney, is also using new skills he gained last year at Britain’s historic Oxford University, where he graduated with a Master of Business Administration.

He said studying an MBA at Oxford, with the assistance of a Skoll Scholarship worth £50,000 — one of only five awarded each year to social entrepreneurs around the world — was the realisation of a dream.

Mr Raine was Queensland’s 2012 Young Australian of the Year for his work with Hello Sunday Morning, which he founded the year after he finished his USC degree.

Group exercise helps reduce risk of falls

New research from a University of the Sunshine Coast PhD student has shown that seniors who exercise in groups are likely to have a reduced risk of falls later on.

Vaughan Nicholson, a physiotherapist from Ferny Hills in Brisbane, conducted a three-part study looking at the impact of group fitness on more than 100 adults aged 55-75.

His PhD in Sport and Exercise Science specifically analysed the benefits for seniors who participated in group BodyBalance and BodyPump classes over a 12 to 26 week period, as well as an interactive virtual balance game.

The project, supported by the Australian Fitness Network, found an improvement in functional task performance which could lead to greater stability, spatial and balance awareness.

Student named as emerging leader

USC has gained a strong reputation for producing nursing leaders after its third student in several years was named a national Emerging Nurse Leader.

Paul Kaczykowski, 31, of Peregian Springs, was one of only five recipients of this prestigious award for 2015 presented by the Australian College of Nursing.

The Emerging Nurse Leaders program provides three years of professional and personal development and is designed to support leadership skills in early-career nurses.

Mr Kaczykowski said he was honoured to be included in the program and keen to encourage more men to enter the nursing profession.

“There is a growing demand by patients to receive care from both male and female nurses and there are increasing leadership opportunities for those who want to play a role in breaking down any gender gaps in the profession,” he said.

Generous donation to USC inspires excellence
USC awards its first Thompson Excellence Scholarships

Four high-achieving students starting at the University of the Sunshine Coast this semester have received USC’s inaugural Thompson Excellence Scholarships, valued at $32,000 each.

These prestigious scholarships, funded through a generous $5 million gift to the University by Roy and Nola Thompson last year, were presented at USC’s 2015 Semester One Scholarships Presentation Ceremony recently.

The recipients were:

  • Brendan Boyd of James Nash State High School, who achieved an OP1 and is starting a Bachelor of Biomedical Science;
  • Tayla Dokonal of Unity College, who scored an OP2 and is enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology);
  • Naomi Joyce of Suncoast Christian College, who achieved an OP1 and is studying a combined Bachelor of Education (Secondary) and Bachelor of Arts; and
  • Erin McLaren of Sunshine Beach State High School, who gained an OP1 and has commenced a combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Business.

Prior to the scholarships presentation ceremony on 19 February, Mr Thompson met and congratulated the four recipients.

The $5 million dollar gift from the Thompsons was matched dollar-for-dollar by USC to fund construction of the University’s first multi-level carpark, which is almost complete.

As well as keeping USC ahead of demand for parking bays as it continues to grow, revenues raised from its operation in the University’s regulated parking zone will continue funding the Thompson Excellence Scholarships scheme for decades to come.

Mr Thompson said his donation to USC was aimed at establishing something that would support Sunshine Coast students over many years into the future.

“Scholarships to keep bright kids on the Coast and to help those struggling to afford to go to university, funded by a new carpark, seemed like a good way to do this,” he said.

USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Hill said USC and its students were fortunate to have the support of Roy and Nola Thompson.

“Hundreds of students will benefit from these scholarships over the years ahead, giving them the opportunity to get degrees and pursue the careers they want,” he said.

Accounting highly ranked for job success

Strong business and industry links have helped place USC’s Accounting graduates among the best in Australia for job success.

In data published in the 2015 Good Universities Guide, USC ranked fifth highest of all Australian universities for the percentage of its Accounting graduates finding work within four months of course completion.

A table based on the data published in the Australian Financial Review showed USC in the nation’s ‘Best Five’ universities for the chances of Accounting graduates getting a job, with only 17 percent of USC’s Accounting Bachelor degree graduates aged under 25 still seeking their first full-time job four months after completion.

Researcher to enhance animal-assisted therapy
Social Work student wants animals to be treated with respect

A Master of Social Work student hopes her research at USC will improve the delivery of animal-assisted therapy.

Natalie Menyweather, who runs a private equine therapy service at Mooloolah, wants to help establish procedures to ensure the ethical support of animals in social work practice, research and policy.

While her service gives children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) the opportunity to connect with horses, other animal-assisted therapy services involve clients spending time with cats and dogs.

“The human and animal bond is such a special relationship and I want to ensure, going forward, that animals are treated with respect and equality in the field of social work,” she said.

Natalie started her own private practice in 2013 and has been amazed by the outcomes, whether animal-assisted therapy is used exclusively or in conjunction with conventional forms of therapy.

Paramedic Science students score industry awards

Two USC Paramedic Science students have been awarded Paramedics Australasia Student Scientific Grants for their outstanding research papers.

Cameron Leman, 33, of Mountain Creek won the $600 prize for Best Paper for his work ‘Life threatening Australian marine stingers: a systematic review of pre-hospital treatment options’.

The final-year student previously spent five years in the Australian Army where he did two tours of East Timor, before spending several years working in construction.

Second-year Paramedic Science student Matilda Phillips, 19, of Mount Coolum was awarded $400 for runner-up best paper for her work ‘Examining the efficacy of adrenaline in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest’.

Matilda attended Sunshine Beach State High and has been a keen lifesaver with the Marcoola Surf Life Saving Club for seven years.

University hosts climate change research network

The University of the Sunshine Coast has been selected to host a national research network that will help Australians—particularly those living in the coastal zone—prepare for and adapt to climate change.

USC’s Sustainability Research Centre is hosting one of four National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility networks. The USC-based network will specifically focus on the social, economic and institutional dimensions of climate change adaptation.

USC has partnered with the University of Adelaide, University of Canberra, Murdoch University, Swinburne University of Technology and Girringun Aboriginal Corporation to maintain research in adaptation and strengthen the capacity of communities to use this research.

Convened by USC Sustainability Research Centre Director Professor Tim Smith, the hub has received a $395,000 Commonwealth Government research grant and USC is contributing an additional $100,000.

Scientists aim to ‘scare’ starfish
Snail scent research could help protect Great Barrier Reef

Scientists at the University of the Sunshine Coast and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have found that the scent of a rare giant sea snail terrifies the crown-of-thorns starfish.

USC researcher Dr Scott Cummins said the findings could assist in protecting the Great Barrier Reef from its main predator, and arguably greatest natural threat, the crown-of-thorns starfish.

One of the world’s largest marine snails, the giant triton is one of the few natural predators of the crown-of-thorns starfish. While the snail has been protected in Australia since the 1960s, it is rare on the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr Cummins, an expert in marine animal chemical communication, said the confirmation that the crown-of-thorns starfish was terrified by the scent of the giant triton could be a breakthrough in the management of the pest.

“Giant tritons only eat about one crown-of-thorns starfish per week, so breeding enough of them to control big populations is not really feasible,” he said. “But we now know the giant tritons release this scent that makes the starfish scurry away. Our team at USC includes leading scientists who are molecular biologists and specialists in proteomics and metabolomics who can identify exactly what the scent molecule is. We hope to chemically synthesise the molecule, then use slow release baits to dispense the scent compound to control the movements of the starfish.”

International collaboration into breeding giant reef fish

A USC scientist is leading an international team in developing new ways to breed Queensland gropers in captivity in order to establish a lucrative aquaculture industry and protect vulnerable wild stocks in South-East Asia.

The Queensland groper is one of the largest reef-dwelling fish in the world, living up to 50 years and growing to a massive 3m long and 400kg.

While it is protected in Australia, the species is threatened in parts of Asia where it is highly prized as a traditional banquet centrepiece that signifies abundance.

USC’s Genecology Research Centre director Abigail Elizur, who is a Professor of Aquaculture Biotechnology, is leading the research effort that involves scientists from Cairns, Vietnam and the Philippines.

This five-year project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and involves scientists from USC, FinFish Enterprise in Cairns, the Research Institute for Aquaculture number 1 in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre in the Philippines.

Canadian biologist joins USC project

A Canadian biologist arrived at USC in February for a collaborative research project that could help save hundreds of thousands of lives in developing nations.

Dr Russell Wyeth of St Francis Xavier University has received an Australian Government Endeavour Fellowship to spend six months with a USC team, led by Dr Scott Cummins, that aims to ‘sniff out’ a possible solution to the deadly disease schistosomiasis.

This disease — also known as snail fever — is spread by freshwater snails that host the parasitic worm larvae and live in water that is used by humans. The project will assess if the scent given off by snails plays a key role in the transmission of the parasitic worms that currently infect millions of people.

Incubator claims top 10 ranking
Centre achieves international recognition for assisting startups

The work of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Innovation Centre in assisting the start up and growth of new businesses across the region has earned an international award.

The Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast (ICSC) was recently named as one of the UBI Index’s top 10 University Business Incubators for the Asia and Oceania region for 2014.

The UBI Index conducts performance analysis of more than 300 business incubators in over 60 countries with the aim of helping them become more efficient and competitive.

Its global performance benchmark ranks the incubators based on aspects like economy enhancement, talent retention, competence development, access to funding and post-incubation performance.

ICSC CEO Mark Paddenburg said he was proud the Innovation Centre had done so well, achieving a global performance score above the UBI Index’s global average and ranking highly for economy enhancement and members’ post-incubation performance.

“We’re thrilled to have received a top 10 ranking alongside some large, capital-city based incubators,” Mr Paddenburg said.

“Of course we couldn’t have achieved this without the support of our parent organisation, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and valuable grant funding from the Queensland Government.

“This award is also a reflection of the innovation of our member companies, the strength of the Innovation Centre’s offering and also the experience and dedication of our mentor panel, who volunteer their time and expertise to grow startup and high-growth companies on the Sunshine Coast.”

Mr Paddenburg said 2014 had been a fantastic year for the Innovation Centre, with many of its member companies winning industry awards.

Sunshine Coast region ripe for enabling entrepreneurs

USC Lecturer in Entrepreneurship Dr Retha Scheepers and MBA graduate Marcus Eikeland are confident that the Sunshine Coast has what it takes to become a national leader in enabling innovators.

The duo recently released a report into the impact of the first Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast held at the University in May 2014.

Startup Weekends, held all over the world, are entrepreneurial events at which people with diverse skills and business backgrounds meet to pitch ideas, test new venture concepts and build startup companies.

The Sunshine Coast event was staged by USC’s School of Business and the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast and attracted 240 people, including 24 USC students. Aspiring entrepreneurs worked in teams on 16 new business startups—nine of which are still being pursued as business propositions.

Among these are a sustainable beehive business called Hive Haven and a 3D immersive technology company called Phenomec, both of which have been developed by USC students.

Dr Scheepers said the Sunshine Coast was ripe for economic expansion driven by community collaboration and clever business ideas. “Our report found that the ripple effect of meaningfully connecting entrepreneurial individuals will be felt in years to come,” she said.

The next Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast is planned for 6-8 May 2015.

Abe’s on fast track to global career

International Studies student Abe Burford is on the fast track to international success after recently being awarded a prestigious competitive scholarship.

The 22-year-old received one of only 60 New Colombo Plan scholarships from Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop in Canberra. This scholarship scheme is an Australian Government initiative aimed at improving relationships and knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region in Australia.

Abe’s scholarship, valued at $70,300, will provide him with access to study in Indonesia for up to a year from mid-2015.

Former school captain ready for a challenge
Deans Scholars Program suits Young Achiever Award winner

At just 17 and with two humanitarian aid trips to Cambodia under her belt, it’s true to say that former Maroochydore State High School captain Rubie Orman enjoys adventure and a challenge.

That could be why the OP2 student from Mudjimba has enrolled in the University of the Sunshine Coast’s demanding Deans Scholars Program, which gives high academic achievers the chance to fast-track a combined degree in Science and Science Honours.

“I have always been incredibly interested in science and being able to complete a four-year degree in just three was an opportunity that I could not pass up,” she said.

Her study at USC will give her a solid grounding in science and health, include a research project and lead on to either a career in animal ecology or to the study of medicine.

Last year Rubie won the prestigious Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers Young Achiever Award for her humanitarian aid efforts in Cambodia over two years. Rubie’s family is heavily involved in the Mudjimba Surf Life Saving Club, with Rubie a former nipper age champion.

Saving turtles was all in a day’s work

Helping return a green sea turtle to the ocean after it had recovered from illness has inspired USC student Daniel Walker to pursue a career in saving marine life.

This experience on Fitzroy Island, off Cairns, was part of Daniel’s recent work placement with the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre as part of his Environmental Science degree.

“I enjoyed everything about my volunteer placement but my favourite part was assisting centre founder Jennie Gilbert with her research by placing satellite trackers on three turtles that were released while I was there,” said Daniel. “The highlight during my time there happened on my final day when we released a green sea turtle named Ava who came to the centre 18 months ago due to severe malnutrition. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.”

Newlyweds support USC’s Graduate Walk
High-flying alumni help pave the way to study success for others

University of the Sunshine Coast graduates Christopher Weir (Bachelor of Science 2011) and Stephanie Haggarty (Bachelor of Arts 2013) have certainly taken the high road to Scotland.

After meeting at USC as students and going on to postgraduate studies in Brisbane and Melbourne, the couple married in January this year before heading off to Edinburgh.

Christopher is researching a malaria vaccine as a Universitas 21 joint PhD candidate of the Universities of Melbourne and Edinburgh and will be based at Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry for the next two years.

Stephanie, who majored in Creative Writing at USC, is about to self-publish her first book called ‘Feet or Fins’.

The couple recently donated to USC’s Graduate Walk fundraising initiative, which will see a pathway of 400 personally inscribed pavers unveiled on campus as part of USC’s 20th anniversary celebrations in 2016.

Pavers can be purchased for $200 each by graduates, or by others as gifts for graduates, with proceeds going to the USC Study Support Bursary fund that provides support to students experiencing financial stress.

“We are so reminiscent of our time at USC that we recently donated for the pavers for the new Alumni walkway,” Christopher wrote to USC Alumni Officer Anita Edmonds in January. “We do hold the university very close to us and will miss it when we leave for Edinburgh.”

More than 230 of the 400 pavers have sold already. For more details, refer to Graduate Walk or contact the Development Office on Tel: +61 7 5430 1104.

Nominate top alumni for awards

If you know an outstanding graduate of USC, why not nominate them for the 2015 Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards?

Each year, these awards recognise those who have attained significant achievements in their fields of endeavour since their graduation, including professional, academic, research, community and/or other achievements.

There are three award categories: Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, Regional Achievement, and Rising Star. Nominations can be made by USC alumni, staff, students and members of the community, such as colleagues, family and friends. Self-nominations are accepted with a letter of endorsement.

Nominations will close on 30 June and the awards presented at the Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony on 17 September. All alumni are welcome to attend this celebration.

For details about how to nominate or to read about past award recipients, visit Alumni Awards or contact Anita Edmonds at Alumni Relations at or Tel: +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

Competition winner shares global success

A Canadian teacher who has used her USC Education degree to live and work around the globe returned to the Sippy Downs campus in February to share her experiences with new students.

Jessica Burke-Trebell, 26, graduated in 2011 and has since visited 23 countries and taught in London and Uganda.

She delivered an inspiring speech to hundreds of students as an orientation highlight of the first day of USC’s Welcome Week.

Jessica’s return to the Sunshine Coast was part of her $3,000 prize for winning last year’s inaugural USC International Alumni Competition.

Jessica’s video entry was judged the best in the competition, which invited former USC students from overseas to share their stories. More than 150 entries were received.

This semester, more than 1,000 international students are enrolled at the University.

$824,000 in scholarships presented to 74 students
Strong community support helps build University’s scholarships program

More than $824,000 in scholarships were awarded to 66 new undergraduates and eight postgraduate students at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s 2015 Scholarships Presentation Ceremony on 19 February.

The students, including school-leavers from 41 different high schools, received scholarships ranging in value from $3,500 to $32,000 at USC’s Innovation Centre Auditorium.

A large crowd of students, parents, school principals and scholarship donors attended the ceremony, which saw the presentation of four new Thompson Excellence Scholarships valued at $32,000 each, and of the inaugural Laurie Cowled Regional Scholarship valued at $20,000. The recipients of these are featured elsewhere in this edition.

Six more Academic Excellence Scholarships, valued at $20,000 each, went to Laura Arnot of Leighland Christian College in Tasmania, Elle Bolam of Dalby State High School, Elisabeth Fairley of the Don College in Tasmania, Matthew Beighton of Chancellor State College, Rubie Orman of Maroochydore State High School and Chloe Winkel of Caloundra State High School.

These are provided annually through donations by Sir Clem and Lady Renouf, Tim Fairfax AC and other donors.

Other major scholarships were provided by businesses, community organisations and individuals, including the Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch, the ANZ Bank, Rod and Jan Forrester, the Sunshine Coast Daily, the Poole Group and Les and Mary Hall.

USC presented 40 Vice-Chancellor’s Merit scholarships, valued at $12,000 each, mostly to recipients from the Sunshine Coast.

The University also awarded Vice-Chancellor’s Honours Scholarships, valued at $5,000 each, to eight students who are starting postgraduate degrees this year.

To contribute to scholarships and bursaries for students at USC, contact the University’s Development Office on (07) 5459 4418.

Townsville lifesaver scoops new award

Townsville Grammar School graduate Sally Watson received a welcome financial boost as she signed up for a Bachelor of Paramedic Science at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Sally, 18, was named the inaugural recipient of the Laurie Cowled Regional Scholarship, valued at up to $20,000, at USC’s recent 2015 Scholarship Presentation Ceremony.

The scholarship was established by Laurie Cowled of Noosaville to assist female undergraduate students who relocate from rural or regional areas.

Last year, Sally was a Prefect, House Captain, swim captain and a flautist in the school orchestra.

She also played water polo and netball for her school and the North Queensland region, was a member of the Kokoda Swim Club and a volunteer lifesaver at the Arcadian Surf Life Saving Club.

“I’ve heard very good things about the Paramedic Science degree at USC—that it is very hands-on and that people learn quite a lot from it,” she said.

“My interest in the degree has mainly been from my lifesaving background and working with paramedics closely over the past year in my work as a lifeguard.”

Gerry Harvey delivers memorial lecture

Chairman of the retail giant Harvey Norman, Gerry Harvey, delivered the 2015 Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture at USC on 19 March.

This ticketed public event — held annually in honour of Shadforths Civil Contractors co-director Geoff Shadforth who died in 2013 — is aimed at continuing Geoff’s passion for creating growth and opportunities for the Sunshine Coast.

Mr Harvey spoke candidly to 400 people about his experiences during his more than 50 years of retail chain management, first as a founder of company Norman Ross from 1961 to 1982 and then with Harvey Norman since 1982. His company currently employs more than 20,000 people across 277 stores globally.

USC’s Development Office Director Russell Ousley said the event was becoming a key event in the University and community calendar.

Campus home to rare spider
Photographs of tiny arachnid attract plenty of interest

A keen wildlife photographer has snapped images of a rare, tiny spider on the University of the Sunshine Coast campus that are putting arachnologists in a spin.

Gerard Mills, whose daughter is studying Arts at USC, took photos of the Corynethrix obscura in regrowth bushland near a lake on the eastern side of the University’s grounds.

“The spider is so rare, apparently there was no known photograph of the creature,” Mr Mills said. “By the way, the size of this little fellow is less than 2mm.”

In searching for details about the tiny creature Mr Mills was surprised by the excited response he received from Dr Ron Atkinson, who has a web-based “find a spider” guide to help people identify spiders of South-East Queensland.

“That spider of yours is a rare find and your photo of it is excellent,” Dr Atkinson wrote to Mr Mills. “I know exactly what it is but have never been able to find photos of it anywhere in books or on the Internet.

“It belongs to the family Thomisidae and its scientific name is Corynethrix obscura. I have copies of the only drawings I have seen of this species, which can be found (with great difficulty) in both Queensland and NSW.”

Dr Atkinson is a retired academic whose research interests included spiders and the toxicology of their venom.

His website entry on Corynethrix obscura at now features the images taken by Mr Mills. It states: “little is known about the natural history of this species because it is so rarely found in the field”.

USC’s Lecturer in Wildlife Ecology Dr Scott Burnett said the discovery of the previously unphotographed spider has highlighted the importance of the USC campus as a wildlife habitat.

“It also reminds us that there is so much that we still don’t know about the biodiversity of the Sunshine Coast, let alone the nation and the planet,” he said.

USC Gallery Exhibitions

USC Art Gallery  |  USC Art Gallery Facebook page

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.

Tubes: the possibility to meet the unknown by Wilson Aguiar
26 March–9 May

Brazilian born Wil Aguiar is a professional surf photographer who now makes his home on the Sunshine Coast. During the past 21 years as a surfer, Wil has travelled to Mexico (Puerto Escondido), Indonesia (Mentawai, G-Land, Bali, Sumbawa, Lombok, Nusa Lembongam), Australia (including Bells Beach, Sydney and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts) and Brazil (Southeast, South, Northeast and Fernando de Noronha). Wil’s photography is said to reveal the unseen and the untouched.

Responsible Much? An issue is not an issue until it is your issue
26 March–9 May

This exhibition has been developed with the assistance of students from the Bachelor of Business (Tourism, Leisure and Events Management) at the University of the Sunshine Coast. After discussing ‘green fatigue’ and the idea that people were tired of the ‘S’ word (sustainability), students were encouraged to look beyond the classroom to explore sustainability and sustainable tourism from differing viewpoints.

Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Awards
14 May–4 July

The Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA) has been the means by which the Grafton Regional Gallery has gathered a unique and impressive collection of contemporary Australian drawing. The award was established in 1988 and is now a biennial event. The exhibition at USC is a Grafton Regional Gallery Touring Exhibition and contains selected entries from the major show in Grafton held in 2014. The JADA provides artists who reside in Australia a unique opportunity to explore the complexity of drawing through the Australia’s richest regional drawing award.