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Ignite - 2017, Edition 1

Ignite: Edition 1 2017

From ideas to action 

By Jarna Baudinette

When Natasha Read enrolled to study a postgraduate business degree at USC, she brought some unique professional experience to the table.

In between assignments, Natasha was helping to oversee the University’s financial reporting and management as a member of the USC Audit and Risk Management Committee (ARMC).

More than a decade later, and with a completed Master of Business Administration under her belt, she now serves on USC’s governing body, the University Council.

Natasha said her initial involvement with USC – then one small campus with only 5,246 students – was driven by a desire to contribute to the future of education in the region.

“At the time I wasn’t a USC graduate, but I had sat on a number of other boards and committees, including the board of the Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE,” she said.

“I was quite passionate about supporting further education on the Sunshine Coast, so when I was approached to join the ARMC it seemed like a good fit.

“It was an interesting opportunity for me, because I had a human resource background and at the time I was working in a general management role, and often I would be the only person in the meetings who wasn’t an accountant.

“I’m a strong believer in contributing, and I felt my professional experience allowed me to bring my own areas of expertise and provide a balanced perspective on risk management.”     

She soon decided to upgrade her professional skills through USC’s MBA program – a move that was well received by then Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Paul Thomas AM.

“I’d had quite a bit of involvement with the University Executive through my role on the ARMC, and I’d gotten to know Professor Thomas very well,” she said. “When I started studying, he jokingly said, ‘Oh good – you’re finally doing something useful, instead of just hanging around all the time’.” 

Natasha completed her MBA part-time and graduated in 2009. She is now General Manager of Community Solutions, a subsidiary of the Endeavour Foundation, where she is responsible for a number of portfolios, including the organisation’s readiness for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Her degree also led to an invitation to serve the USC community in a new way: as the alumni representative on the University Council, a role she has held since 2010. She also continues to sit on the Audit and Risk Management and Honorary Awards committees.

Natasha said she jumped at the opportunity to play an active part in shaping USC’s strategic vision.

“On one level, joining Council was about paying it forward,” she said. “As a graduate, I’d personally benefited from USC’s endeavours in the community, and I saw it as a way of applying my skills to give back to the University.

“Everyone likes to have opinions about education, but they don’t necessarily involve themselves in seeing those ideas become reality.

“To be able to play an active role in what education looks like for my family, and my community, is really meaningful to me. It does require a high level of commitment, but you get to live and breathe the outcome.”   

Natasha’s passion for putting ideas into action has also inspired her attitude toward philanthropy.

Each year she completes a personal fundraising challenge called ‘Gratitude in Action’, which raises awareness and money for her chosen charity. As part of the challenge she has climbed Mt Kosciuszko, abseiled down one of Brisbane’s tallest skyscrapers and skydived from 15,000 feet.

Natasha has also been a long-time supporter of USC fundraising initiatives. She has contributed monthly to the USC Starfish program, which funds Study Support Bursaries for low-income students, since its inception in 2013.

In early 2017, she became a foundation member of USC’s 1996 Society, a new ‘giving club’ that allows community members to play a role in the financial health and future of the University. Donations will be held in perpetuity, with interest distributed to fund projects and programs that are critical to USC’s future growth.

Natasha said she was inspired to join the 1996 Society after witnessing USC’s impact over the past decade.

“I think education is one of the most powerful enablers for a community, but often we take it for granted,” she said.

“The University is in a very enviable position in that we don’t lack opportunity. What we may lack, in the future, is the resources and the capacity to make those opportunities a reality.

“The 1996 Society puts the power into the hands of the region to begin investing in USC’s future vision. It’s great to know that your contribution is being invested in something that will continue to provide value for the region in perpetuity, at any level.” 

While USC works toward achieving its strategic vision for 2020, Natasha plans to continue putting ideas into action as a member of Council.

“It’s quite a significant time commitment, which is the ‘action’ part, but it’s actually a lot of fun,” she said.

“You really do get back more than you give.”

1996 Society sets vision for USC’s future

The USC 1996 Society is an initiative of the USC Foundation Board that aims to inspire conversations and action about how philanthropists can shape and secure the future of higher education.

Donations and pledges to the 1996 Society have already secured more than $100,000 for the new USC Visionary Fund, a perpetual investment account where the principal is held and the interest is distributed for projects and programs that are critical to USC’s future.

The Society’s name recognises and honours the visionaries who worked hard to create the University, which opened in 1996.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said philanthropy was increasingly important to the University, and the 1996 Society would have a significant impact on the experiences of future students.

“A few examples of how philanthropy has helped USC are our Art Gallery, Health and Sports Centre and Thompson Institute, as well as bursaries for our students,” said Professor Hill. “In turn, this has helped USC build the capacity and economy of the wider region.

“The USC 1996 Society will help fulfil our aim of becoming a world-class institution.”

USC is seeking expressions of interest from alumni and community members interested in contributing to the University’s future through the 1996 Society.

For more information about the USC 1996 Society contact Kate Evans on 5456 5136 or go to usc.edu.au/1996society

Sir Angus Houston appointed USC Chancellor 

By Terry Walsh

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d) is USC’s new Chancellor.

The former Chief of the Australian Defence Force was elected to the role by the University Council in March.

Sir Angus, who has worked closely with USC for the past five years as Chair of the Board that established USC’s Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute, said he nominated for the role of Chancellor because he was impressed by USC’s positive culture and performance.

“I am humbled to be selected for this important role in a university that continues to grow and contribute substantially to the Sunshine Coast community,” he said.

“USC is doing a great job of enabling young people to become skilled, innovative and adaptive people who will excel in the increasingly challenging economy of the future.

“I’m looking forward to playing my part in a university that demonstrates high academic and research standards internationally and nationally and contributes substantially to its broader regional community.”

Sir Angus will be the University’s fourth Chancellor, following John Dobson OAM (2007–2017), Ian Kennedy AO (1998–2007) and retired Justice Tony Fitzgerald QC (1994–98).

Former Chancellor Dobson, who retired at the end of his term on 31 March, said he was delighted about Sir Angus’s election and appointment to lead USC’s Council – the governing body of the rapidly growing university, which now has more than 13,000 students.

“Sir Angus will bring a wealth of people experience to the University of the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“He has a broad national view of Australia, and universities are a very important aspect of that. Sir Angus will be a key player in helping USC move forward.”

Sir Angus retired as Chief of the Australian Defence Force in July 2011 after 41 years of service in the military.

He was awarded the Knight of the Order of Australia in 2015 for extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to Australia, through distinguished service in the Australian Defence Force,  and continued commitment to serving the nation in leadership roles, particularly the national responses to the MH370 and MH17 disasters.

USC in top 150 young universities in world

By Julie Schomberg

USC has been ranked for the first time on a prestigious list of the top young universities in the world, including a place in the top 50 ‘Gen Y’ institutions.

The April announcement of the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings saw USC score a spot in the 101-150 category out of the top 200 universities under 50 years old.

USC also appeared in the new top 50 ‘Generation Y’ list for universities established between 1986 and 1999.

Inclusion on the lists is based on criteria in teaching, research, international outlook and knowledge transfer.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco said the rankings put USC in the top three percent of universities internationally.

“We’ve now made it on to the global stage twice since September, when USC was ranked for the first time on the Times Higher Education rankings of the top 980 universities of any age,” Professor De Marco said. USC ranked in the 500-600 category.

“While that list was dominated by much older institutions, the Young Universities list recognises USC’s outstanding performance among peers of similar age and reputation across 48 countries.

“We’re known for innovation as we forge partnerships with leading international organisations, recruit top staff from overseas and attract the world’s best and brightest students to our study programs.”

The new ranking also brings USC very close to realising one of its three strategic goals for 2020 – to be included in the world’s top 100 young universities.

USC gains loan for Moreton Bay campus

USC’S plans to build a campus in the Moreton Bay region have received a major boost, with the Federal Government offering USC a concessional loan for the project.

The low-interest loan, announced in the Federal Budget, will enable the University to immediately begin foundation work for the campus and open in time for the start of Semester 1, 2020.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill thanked the government for supporting construction of the campus – expected to cater for 10,000 students by 2030 – on the site of the old Petrie Paper Mill, which is owned by Moreton Bay Regional Council.

The campus will be the centrepiece of the council’s planned Mill at Moreton Bay development that will include new commercial, residential housing and community areas.

“The Federal Government has recognised the need for a university campus in the Moreton Bay Region, one of the country’s most disadvantaged areas in regards to access to tertiary education,” Professor Hill said. “University education transforms lives, and the provision of this loan to USC will support the transformation of this growing region.”

Details of the concessional loan to USC will be finalised in coming weeks.


By Gen Kennedy and Terry Walsh
Photos by Reed Graduations, Greg Miller Photography, Gen Kennedy and Michelle Moore

Almost 1,400 USC students graduated at nine graduation ceremonies at the Flinders Performance Centre on 5–7 April.

Nepalese student’s Graduation ceremony a family affair

When Tara Khatri Lamichhane of Nepal received her Nursing Science degree from USC, there was no shortage of cameras ready to capture the moment. Twenty-one members of her family travelled to the Sunshine Coast to attend her graduation ceremony, including six people who had made the trip from the Chitwan district of Nepal.

Largest group of Indigenous students graduate from USC

The largest group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students ever to graduate at once from USC celebrated the completion of their degrees at a special ceremony. The event, held at USC’s Buranga Centre, included the presentation of specially designed Indigenous Australian stoles for the 21 graduands to wear at their ceremonies during Graduation week.

USC honours first Law graduates

Ten eager legal eagles have completed USC’s Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry) to become the first graduates from the USC Law School, which opened in 2014. Top of the class was Chelsea Wallis (third from left, with Professor Pam O’Connor, centre), who received a University Medal for a grade point average of 6.87 out of a possible 7, along with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours).

Philanthropists named as Honorary Senior Fellows

A couple that has generously supported USC’s academic programs, Art Gallery and other community initiatives for more than a decade received Honorary Senior Fellowships on 6 April. Dr Rustum Sethna and Helen Sethna of Parreara were recognised for their ongoing philanthropic and volunteer contributions, which included financial support for USC’s psychology program at its inception.

Bear crusader receives USC doctorate

A Perth grandmother who began an international crusade to protect the world’s bears from exploitation has been named an Honorary Doctor of USC. Mary Hutton (pictured left, with USC’s Dr Sheila Peake), the founder of the world’s leading bear rescue and protection organisation, Free the Bears Fund, was presented with the Honorary Doctorate on 7 April. The award recognises Ms Hutton’s inspirational voluntary work in saving hundreds of bears from barbaric treatment over the past 21 years, and also acknowledges her significant contributions to USC by creating valuable learning and engagement opportunities for USC students and staff.

STEMM mums celebrate Graduation ceremonies

Four young women who enrolled at USC after completing an award-winning program for young mothers celebrated their Graduation ceremonies with their families. Jesse Lanigan, Teilha Keehn, Chelsea Marie Eldred and Tara-Anne Liebetanz all gained entry to USC by completing Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) subjects through Burnside High’s STEMM program, which supports pregnant teenagers and young mothers through education, mothering advice and mentoring. Jesse (pictured with her four children), who graduated with a Bachelor of Primary Education, is the first Indigenous student to complete TPP via STEMM and then graduate from USC.

Nicole happy for guide dog to steal the show

Nicole Damarra’s guide dog, Nev, stole the show when she graduated from USC in 2013, with Chancellor John Dobson also shaking hands with the clever canine after congratulating Nicole on gaining a Bachelor of Social Science. Nicole was just as happy for the limelight to fall on her new guide dog, Olson, who also received a handshake when Nicole crossed the stage to receive her First Class Honours degree on 6 April. And there’s more in store for Olson, with Nicole this month starting her PhD research into the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) from the perspective of people who are blind and sight-impaired.

Rosie Batty named Honorary Doctor of USC

Family violence awareness campaigner Rosie Batty became an Honorary Doctor of USC at a special celebration in Gympie on Friday 5 May.

Ms Batty was named the 2015 Australian of the Year for her tireless advocacy for family violence prevention after her 11-year-old son Luke was killed by his father in February 2014. She also established the Luke Batty Foundation, which aims – through education, advocacy and campaigning – to raise community awareness and put pressure on government organisations to reduce family violence statistics. USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the Honorary Doctorate recognised Ms Batty’s inspirational work as an advocate for change, and her determination and success in shaping the way Australia views family violence and the policies of governments to address it.

Second time lucky for USC graduate Nathan

By Jarna Baudinette

For recent USC graduate Nathan L’Estrange, the journey to getting a degree was not always smooth sailing.

After finishing high school, Nathan, now 28, enrolled in a business program at a Brisbane university but struggled to find the right balance between study and life. He tried changing degrees, but soon felt that maybe university wasn’t for him.

“After a couple of failed attempts, I kind of got it into my head that I wasn’t cut out for tertiary education,” he said.

“I decided to travel instead, and ended up working on cruise ships for a couple of years.” 

He was on shore leave in the United States when a chance invite to a friend’s graduation ceremony encouraged him to reconsider study.

“I went to this college graduation ceremony and it was such a beautiful thing, seeing everyone’s achievements,” he said.

“It inspired me to think about my own future, and whether I was ready to come home and try again.

“At the time I was working as a personal trainer on the ships, and I’d discovered that I really loved health and the human body, so I decided to study that.” 

Nathan returned to Queensland and enrolled at USC. In April, he graduated with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science.

Alongside his studies, Nathan served as a Student Ambassador and was involved in USC Activate, a volunteer-led group that connects USC students through outdoor recreation activities.

He said his second attempt at university was more successful in large part due to the financial support he received through a USC Study Support Bursary.

Funded through donations from the USC community, these bursaries allow students to reduce hours of paid work in order to focus on their studies.

“To be honest, I think the Study Support Bursary is why I managed to do so well, because I didn’t have the same financial pressures I had in the past,” Nathan said.

“Having the financial support to focus on study was incredibly helpful, and it also allowed me to be a lot more engaged – not only in my studies, but in student groups like Activate and the whole university experience.”

Now that he has graduated, Nathan said he hoped to share his passion for health and wellbeing through community education and recreation programs – a goal inspired by his experiences at USC.

“Graduation is a great achievement, but university is about so much more than just getting a degree,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic experience, and while it can be hard work, it’s something you should be able to get involved with and enjoy all the way through. The Study Support Bursary really allowed me to do that.

“The three and a half years I spent at USC was just as enjoyable, if not more, than the time I spent travelling overseas.”

G-Day to support students in 2017

In 2016, USC Study Support Bursaries helped 56 students like Nathan to focus on their studies and make the most of their time at USC.

More than a dozen additional bursaries will be provided in 2017 thanks to G-Day, an annual crowdfunding initiative that encourages USC alumni, staff and students to ‘give back’ to students in need.

This year, G-Day (short for Giving Day) will be celebrated on Thursday 10 August, with online fundraising and activities in the lead up to the event.

Event organiser Greg Bradley from USC’s Development Office said he hoped this year’s total would top the $26,000 raised in 2016.

“Each year we receive more than 1,000 applications from students needing financial support, and Study Support Bursaries are one way the USC community can help,” Mr Bradley said.

“We know that for some students, the bursary can be the difference between completing a degree or not.”

Every $2,000 raised through G-Day will provide one student with a Study Support Bursary, which will directly assist with study-related costs such as textbooks, food and transportation.

One hundred percent of every gift will go directly to the student, and all donations of $2 or more are fully tax deductible.

Mr Bradley said the online crowdfunding initiative was an ideal way for USC community members now living interstate or abroad to support current students.

“Donations and messages of support come in via the G-Day website throughout the day, and in 2016 we received so many wonderful messages from former staff and alumni,” he said.

“They remembered doing it tough while studying, and now that they’ve graduated and are out in the world they wanted to pay it forward.” 

For more information or to donate, visit our website or contact the USC Development Office: Email: development@usc.edu.au |  Tel: +61 7 5430 1104

Students experience world-class facilities at new Sunshine Coast Health Institute

By Jarna Baudinette

USC students have access to some of the best health education facilities in Australia, with the University now offering classes at the brand-new Sunshine Coast Health Institute (SCHI).

A joint venture between USC, the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS), TAFE Queensland East Coast and a future medical school, the SCHI is located at the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital precinct in Birtinya to provide dedicated education, training and research facilities that will help build the region’s future health workforce.

Students will experience hands-on clinical training in several state-of-the-art simulation labs – including fully functioning replicas of the $1.8 billion new teaching hospital’s operating suite, intensive care room, birthing suite and emergency resuscitation bay.

Other facilities include clinical research laboratories, multipurpose learning areas, an auditorium and a purpose-built lecture theatre.

USC Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann said the SCHI provided a unique opportunity for USC students studying health-related programs to gain experience in one of Australia’s most advanced clinical settings.

“The calibre of facilities on offer at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute means that our students will be at the leading edge of health education, and will gain practical experience in Australia’s newest hospital,” Professor Lohmann said.

“With the SCHI integrated with the new hospital, our students will work alongside leading health professionals and researchers.

“This benefits not only our students but also the wider community, which will gain a new generation of graduates with practical clinical skills who are ready to work in the region.”

USC staff are now teaching select subjects in nursing and health science from the SCHI. Additional units in midwifery, nutrition and dietetics, occupational therapy, psychology and social work are likely to be offered in the future.

Several USC researchers are also based at the SCHI, focusing on major research themes including cancer and infectious disease prevention, nursing science, cardiovascular health and neuroscience.

images: above Sunshine Coast Health Institute. below USC academic Professor Christian Jones (left)with Denise and Bruce Morcombe.

Daniel Morcombe Foundation launches USC’s Orbit Rescue game app

By Terry Walsh

Child safety campaigners Bruce and Denise Morcombe have launched a new version of a space-themed online game that provides children aged 8-10 with strategies to avoid sexual abuse.

The original game, Orbit, was created several years ago by USC academic Professor Christian Jones, who has since worked with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to develop Orbit Rescue — an app version of the game that can be used on a variety of devices.

Professor Jones said feedback from teachers and students had been used to significantly improve the original Orbit game, which was launched by Bruce and Denise at USC on the national Day for Daniel in October 2013.

“Orbit Rescue is now an iPad and Android tablet app, so children can use touch controls rather than keyboard and mouse. The app doesn’t require a login or a network connection, and there are more character customisations,” he said.

Bruce and Denise said they were thrilled to be involved in the interactive and educational game that has been designed to enable children to recognise predatory behaviour in an ever-changing online world.

Solo aviator delivers memorial lecture

By Julie Schomberg and Jarna Baudinette

World record-breaking solo pilot and new USC Business student Lachie Smart shared his approach to setting and achieving extraordinary goals when he presented USC’s fourth annual Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture on Thursday 6 April.

Lachie became the youngest person to fly a single-engine aircraft around the world when he landed at Sunshine Coast Airport on 27 August last year, after an eight-week, 45,000km flight across 18 countries. He was just 18 years old.

Lachie is now studying a Bachelor of Business at USC, fitting in lectures on campus while pursuing entrepreneurial interests designed to inspire young people to realise their dreams.

He explained his journey to a crowd of about 170 people at the 2017 Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture. His talk included tips on how to plan and how to deal with tall poppy syndrome.

“I can see motivation in my generation but, a lot of the time, as we get older we become scared of failing or of being called a ‘try-hard’,” he said.

“The truth is that failure shows you’ve grown in knowledge and experience. It makes you better prepared to try again.

“I want to show that anything is possible if a kid from Nambour living in a single-parent home can plan, over two and a half years, a $350,000 trip around the world.”

USC’s annual lecture series honours the late Geoff Shadforth, whose passion for creating growth and opportunities on the Sunshine Coast is now maintained by the Shadforth family.

Geoff’s mother, Noelene Shadforth, said Lachie’s delivery of the 2017 Geoff Shadforth Lecture was inspiring.

“I love the fact that someone so young has such ambition,” she said. “Lachie took on a mammoth challenge and stuck to the task right through to the end.

“One of my personal wishes behind the lecture is to stimulate the minds of people from all walks of our community, as well as to help encourage our youth of today. Lachie’s talk certainly fulfilled these wishes.”

USC Development Office Director Russell Ousley said the annual lecture provided an opportunity to bring the community together to remember a great local businessperson, whose passion for building capacity within the region was closely aligned with USC’s vision.

Image: above Lachie Smart (centre) with the Shadforth family at the 2017 Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture. Photo by Phill Jackson.

Nominate an outstanding graduate for awards

Do you know an outstanding USC graduate? Nominate them for the 2017 Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards.

Each year, these awards recognise graduates who have achieved great things since their graduation from USC — whether it’s in their professional lives, academia (including research), community service 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 will be presented at the Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony on 14 September. All alumni are welcome to attend this celebration.

For information about how to nominate or to read about past award recipients, visit usc.edu.au/alumniawards or contact Anita Edmonds at Alumni Relations at alumni@usc.edu.au 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 news of the University and opportunities to stay involved. Contact alumni@usc.edu.au to update your contact details.


For a larger serving of news, visit usc.edu.au/newsbites

USC employee shares in Sundance film award

USC staff member Ben King has helped create a film that recently snared a major award at the world-famous Sundance Film Festival in Utah in the United States. Mr King, who works as a Screen and Media Support Officer in the School of Communication and Creative Industries, was part of a team of cinematographers that filmed an environmental documentary ‘Chasing Coral’, directed by American filmmaker Jeff Orlowski. The film, which follows an investigation into the disappearance of coral reefs around the world, claimed the coveted Audience Award in the US documentary category at the festival, and was immediately signed by Netflix after its premiere. Mr King coordinated the Brisbane and Kingscliff segments of the film.

Drone mapping first for USC science students

Imagery from flying drones will be used in USC’s Environmental Science degree this year as students learn the latest methods of mapping the physical geography of the local area, from underwater seagrass banks to farmland. Lecturer in Physical Geography and qualified drone pilot Dr Javier Leon, who coordinates USC’s Environmental Science program, is in command of six UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) – and has some exciting ideas for the Biogeography course. “USC will be the first university in Australia to train students to analyse the environment by combining cutting-edge technology like drones and the Cave,” Dr Leon said, referring to the 3D, immersive CAVE2TM facility on campus at Sippy Downs. “Students will be exposed to the whole range of research activities, from data collection and sampling in the field with drones, through analysis and modelling, to visualisation of
final outcomes.”

USC Fraser Coast celebrates one-year milestone

The doubling of enrolments within 12 months gave USC Fraser Coast plenty of reason to celebrate as USC marked its first year in the region in February. Almost 500 students began classes in Semester 1 at USC Fraser Coast, compared to 251 at the same time last year when the campus at Hervey Bay was officially handed over to USC from the University of Southern Queensland. USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the introduction of eight new degrees for 2017 and a strong emphasis on face-to-face teaching were believed to have contributed to the surge in student numbers. The new students contributed to a record number of enrolments for USC at the start of Semester 1, which brought the total student population to about 13,450 across USC’s campuses.

Harvard ecologist visits USC

An expert ecologist from Harvard University recently visited USC to help boost teaching and academic opportunities at USC’s research and learning centre on Fraser Island. Professor Aaron Ellison, a Senior Research Fellow in Ecology at Harvard Forest, spent 10 days working with USC academics at both the Sunshine Coast campus and at the Dilli Village centre on Fraser Island. The recently appointed USC Adjunct Professor in Forest Ecology has started work with a team to collate research that has been undertaken on the island, as well as coordinating a dialogue between traditional owners, academics and other stakeholders. The team will produce a two-year research action plan to help guide USC’s activities at Dilli Village, including a project to help USC Library staff further develop the Fraser Island Collection, which will include digitised publications, research data, oral histories and
donated collections.

USC SouthBank welcomes students from across globe

Scores of students who have travelled from around the globe to study in the middle of Brisbane’s cultural precinct have begun classes at USC’s SouthBank campus. International students from about 15 countries make up about 60 percent of enrolments at the expanding campus, with many of the students coming from India, Nepal and China. USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said USC SouthBank was a rich mix of cultures, languages and nationalities and the University offered great support and engagement to help students get the most from their study experience. About 400 students are studying on campus this semester, including almost 150 new students.

Rehab hospital employs team of USC graduates

Graduates from USC now make up the entire Occupational Therapy (OT) team at a major Sunshine Coast rehabilitation hospital. 2016 graduates Catherine Moyes, Alanah Davies and Elise Wright recently joined 2012 graduate Samantha Storey as OT staff at Cooroy’s Eden Rehabilitation Hospital, where they assist patients recovering from serious accidents and injuries to regain independence. The foursome works within a wider team of doctors, nurses and allied health specialists at the dedicated rehabilitation facility, which runs both an inpatient service and a day therapy program. Samantha, who is employed as a Senior Occupational Therapist at the hospital, said the USC graduates were all motivated by the opportunity to make practical differences to their patients’ lives.

Sport and exercise scientists named in nation’s top 25

Two USC academics have been named on a list of the top 25 influencers of exercise and sports science in Australia. Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow Chris Askew and Associate Professor Lainie Cameron were cited by ESSA (Exercise and Sports Science Australia) for their impact on the industry. Dr Askew, who was responsible for chairing a review of Australian exercise science standards in 2013 when he was president of ESSA’s national board, now chairs its professional standards advisory council. Dr Cameron, who became an accredited exercise physiologist after starting her clinical career in osteopathy, was recognised for her teaching as well her authorship (with colleagues) of a ground-breaking 2011 textbook.

Tyson wins role at multinational insurance broker

Tyson Blair has launched into the world of big business after graduating from USC, landing a role with multinational insurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT). Following his completion of a combined Business and Science degree last year, the 23-year-old was offered one of just five graduate positions Australia-wide with JLT, which has offices in more than 40 countries. The former Beerwah State High School student, who is also a volunteer rural firefighter, said he was delighted to have gained such a competitive position straight out of university. “My role is focused on tracking trends in the public sector, and I’m really looking forward to progressing in the company,” he said.

USC High Performance Student Athlete Program off to a swimming start 

By Julie Schomberg

What do Olympic medallist swimmer Taylor McKeown, Melbourne Storm Under 20 player Beau Fermor and surf ironwoman champion Jordan Mercer have in common?

They are all enrolled in degrees at USC, which has launched a program to help students combine high performance sport with higher education to achieve overall life success.

Taylor, Beau and Jordan are among dozens of student athletes from 24 different sports participating in USC’s High Performance Student Athlete Program.

The Program connects students with a range of academic and personal support services, facilitates access to USC’s state-of-the-art sport facilities and research expertise, and helps to build a sense of belonging and commitment to the pursuit of personal excellence.

USC Director of High Performance Sport Professor Brendan Burkett said the program recognised that student athletes performing at national and international levels needed specific support and services to gain the most from their USC studies while striving to achieve in their sport.

“This is about USC honing its efforts to provide the best possible study experience to ensure students reach their career and personal goals,” said Professor Burkett, who has competed in swimming and advised in sport science at Paralympic Games over two decades.

“A growing number of elite athletes, coaches and sporting organisations are realising the importance of ‘dual career education’ and are pursuing sport and study concurrently.

“In 2008, 40 percent of the Australian Olympic team that went to Beijing were university students, and in Rio in 2016, more than half of the team were studying. This trend is likely to continue.

“Life as a high performance student athlete can be challenging. It’s not easy finding a healthy balance between sporting commitments of up to 30 hours a week and the pressures of studying a degree.”

In Semester 1, program participants travelled for international competitions in Abu Dhabi, Holland, New Zealand, Taiwan and the Unites States, and competed across Australia while also succeeding at tertiary study.

Graduate helps Lightning go from strength to strength

USC adjunct academic and PhD graduate Dr Mark McKean has been appointed lead strength and conditioning coach of the region’s national netball team, the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Dr McKean has been helping players maximise performance and minimise injuries during the Lightning’s highly successful first season in the new national Super Netball League.

The Buderim coach, who retains the same role with USC’s world-class Spartans swimming squad, is responsible for Lightning players’ off-court training including strength sessions, conditioning, cross training, fitness testing and game warm-up and cool-down strategies.

The hard work has been paying off, with the team scoring impressive wins against the Queensland Firebirds, New South Wales Swifts and Melbourne Vixens in the leadup to the Super Netball League finals, which will be held in June.

USC has action plan for Indigenous success

By Clare McKay

USC has reaffirmed its commitment to growing enrolments and lifting the success rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with its new Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.

Launched in time for the start of the academic year, the Reconciliation Action Plan provides an overarching framework to embed Indigenous-specific initiatives and actions within day-to-day practice across the University.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the plan adopted a whole of University approach and reflected USC’s active commitment to advancing the educational and employment opportunities and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“This strategy provides all students with the opportunity to encounter and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives developed over many thousands of years as an integral part of their program of study,” Professor Hill said.

“Respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, land, cultures and histories is critical to working together for better outcomes for all Australians and achieving our commitment to advance human rights within a tolerant and inclusive society.”

Key actions from the plan include:

  • Increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to be in direct proportion to the Indigenous student population;
  • Additional academic courses promoting increased awareness and understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures and achievements;
  • Naming University places and spaces with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander words or terms.

The plan also includes celebrating and recognising Indigenous dates of significance and events such as National Reconciliation Week and Close the Gap.

Professor Hill said USC had already made significant gains towards the goals outlined in the Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy, which seeks to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in university by 50 per cent above the growth rate of non-Indigenous students.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student admissions have increased significantly with more than 300 students across USC’s campuses and study hubs, and our students are exceeding both state and national performance data for success,” he said.

The last word
Graduate profile: Karl Ringrose

A USC graduate who used skills from his Arts degree to work across countries from Canada to Nicaragua, Karl Ringrose is now a Brisbane-based software engineer and project leader for one of the world’s leading travel companies, Expedia.

Raised in Caboolture, Karl, now, 32, joined Expedia in early 2015 after the acquisition of his previous employer, online travel company Wotif.com Holdings Limited (Wotif).

He said his two USC majors (Computer-Based Art and Design, and Australian and Cultural Studies) had given him the knowledge and skills for
a career that started in graphic design at a Caboolture print house, evolved into web development and included a three-year working holiday.

“I didn’t choose a conventional curriculum path but I followed what I enjoyed in high school – art and IT – and loved it,” he said.

“Studying at USC helped shape my world views and beliefs. I was encouraged to break down privileges and biases, and I was exposed to a wide range of industry problems and mediums. With this mindset, I embraced career challenges as opportunities.”


When I was a kid I wanted to be… An actor. I even took drama classes through to late high school, though art won out in the end.
My first job was… Operating the checkout at Coles in Morayfield shopping centre.
Now I spend my days… Either working, catching up with friends, camping, or searching for a wave to surf.
I can’t live without… My family and friends. Coming in third, though, is that I can’t live without surfing. And surfing with my wife and friends would have to be close to the best thing I can have in my life.
My proudest moment was… Out of all the things I have achieved and experienced, either by myself or with my wife, I would have to say the proudest and most emotional moment of my life was definitely our wedding day.
The best advice I’ve been given is… The two things I live by on a daily basis: “As long as you have respect and self-belief, you can be whoever you want to be; do not let the world tell you who you should be.” – Mum; and “’Choose’ to see the world as abundant.” – Aman Bhutani.
In other people, I value… People who are respectful and have a positive belief on the world.
It’s daggy, but I love… Wearing my ‘well’-worn sanuk shoes (slip ons) everywhere, including work.
My hidden talent is… That I can hold one leg and jump through it with my other leg.
I’m hopeless at… Singing – though this doesn’t stop some tunes bellowing out around a fire.
One day I’d love to… Journey the Silk Road by motorbike.

Life changes here at USC

Postgraduate study can give you a competitive edge and advance your career. Whether you need a professional qualification or want to branch out in a new field, postgrad at USC can help you get there.

Angela Miles, mother of three, left school aged just 14 and completed her first USC business degree at age 40. Angela is now completing a postgraduate degree whilst working in senior levels of business management.

“I knew that studying an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) was an important part of taking the next step in my career. I’m one year in, and the program is brilliant”, said Angela.

” I’ve been applying every single subject to my workplace. The program’s delivery is really flexible, which is important when I’m working in a full-time executive role and supporting three children.”

For more information on USC postgrad options, visit usc.edu.au/postgrad 

USC Open Day
USC Fraser Coast – 8 July 2017 |  USC Sunshine Coast – 23 July 2017

Interested in studying postgrad at USC or know someone who’s been thinking about going to university? USC’s Open Day is an opportunity to explore study options and get questions answered. For more information, visit usc.edu.au/openday

USC ART GALLERY exhibitions

usc.edu.au/gallery  |  facebook.com/USCartgallery

The USC Art Gallery is located at the University campus on Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs. It is open free to the public from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday and closed Sundays and public holidays.

How the light gets in: Contemporary photographic practice
11 May to 1 July

How the light gets in brings together artworks by local emerging and established artists that embrace digital tools to explore previously unimagined possibilities.

From the mountains to the sea: Sunshine Coast stories
8 July to 19 August

This exhibition celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the naming of the Sunshine Coast.

Ignite is a free publication published by the Office of Marketing and Communications at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.
Tel: +61 7 5459 4558 |  Email: marketing@usc.edu.au   usc.edu.au

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