29 Mar 2023
Five high school students have won the trip of a lifetime with the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Having won UniSC’s Best Field Trip in the World competition, the students will soon embark on an epic adventure stretching from Brisbane, through the Sunshine Coast and north to Fraser Coast and K’gari (Fraser Island).
Across four action-packed days from 13 to 16 April the winners will get to experience crocodiles, koalas, virtual reality, fine dining, rugby league, netball, surfing, cultural immersion, science in scenic places, a five-star hotel and a corporate box.
The competition attracted more than 1600 entries.
The winners were Baxter Burke of Caloundra, Natania Low-Kilamelona of Cairns, Thomas Keating of Kandanga in the Gympie region, Isabella (Bella) of Kallangur and Jessica Warren of Booyall, 1.5 hours from Bundaberg.
“It was just straight to crying. It’s such an amazing, unbelievable opportunity,” Natania said.
Baxter said he was looking forward to the whole experience.
“It will be cool to get a different perspective on surfing. I’m just coming in with open eyes to see what it’s all about,” he said.
Along with their guardians, the five winners from across Queensland will have the chance to not only immerse themselves in the scenery and activities, but to meet some of the scientists, sportspeople and innovators making an impact in the regions.
“I’m bringing my Dad on the trip,” Thomas said.
“He’s a really cool guy and I look up to him a lot and I think I’ll really enjoy having him come along,” he said.
The students will have the chance to engage with UniSC researchers leading the way in their fields – from Professor Peter Timms whose research is driving Queensland’s development of a vaccine for koala chlamydia, to Dr Javier Leon whose drone work is changing the way we understand beach changes.
UniSC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global and Engagement) Alex Elibank Murray said the university’s five campuses spanned some of the world’s most stunning and educational landscapes, making it a field-tripper’s paradise.
“We are so excited to welcome the winners to UniSC and to show them around the regions that we love so much,” Ms Elibank Murray said.
“It’s a real-life UniSC student experience because our students get to complete work integrated learning as part of almost every degree we offer.”
Students at UniSC have reported some of the country’s highest satisfaction levels – rating it the best public university in Queensland, and among the nation's top two in surveys for Quality Indicators for Teaching and Learning.
“Our campuses are located across three UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (of only five in Australia), the only place in the world where three biospheres are connected,” Ms Elibank Murray said.
A biosphere is globally recognised an ‘international site of excellence’ where people live and work sustainably alongside active conservation and sustainable development.
Queensland’s reserves stretch 222 kilometres from the world’s largest sand island at K’gari, through coastlines and waterways to the sub-tropical rainforests and mountains of Noosa and the Sunshine Coast.
UniSC also topped Queensland in the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking for 2022 and secured a top-5 global position for ‘clean water and sanitation’, one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals that drives research efforts at UniSC.