Outstanding Alumni Awards | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Outstanding Alumni Awards

Each year the Outstanding Alumni Awards program honours, acknowledges and celebrates our graduates who have achieved significantly in their field of expertise since graduating, at least two years prior with their first degree, recognising them for the impact they have had at a local, national and sometimes international level.

Nominations are generally open between July and August each year.

Congratulations to the 2023 shortlisted nominees for their notable achievements to date. A special thank you goes to the people who took the time and effort to nominate them - alumni, staff, family, colleagues, friends - without their support this initiative wouldn't be possible.

We are delighted to announce that the 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award recipients are…
Cherrell Picton
Cherrell Picton
Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award
Cherrell Picton
EMBA 2019

Graduating with an EMBA in 2019, Cherrell Picton has extensive management and innovation experience, with a passion to improve the lives of others, as well as championing environmental change in the mining sector. Under Cherrell's leadership as Director and Business Manager of Alumtek Minerals, the startup successfully applied for a $1.2 million Co-operative Research Centres Projects Grant (CRC-P). The team have developed a process to solve the alumina industry's major environmental and financial risk - extracting critical minerals and products of value from bauxite residue or red mud. Cherrell has also volunteered her business skills with the DFAT-funded Australian Volunteers Program to assist NGOs in Indonesia, Vietnam & PNG to become more sustainable. Her work was recognised by the National Economics University - Hanoi, Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Locally, she’s been a business mentor with Innovation Generation and the Migrant Work Ready Program.


Regional Achievement Award
Bronte Cresswell
BPR 2017

Graduating in 2017 with a Bachelor of Public Relations, Bronte Cresswell worked locally in a digital agency before launching her own business on the Sunshine Coast. Over the next four years, she built a highly successful digital marketing agency, working with national and international clients, and growing her team to eight people. Bronte sold the agency and now owns Dash Academy, empowering business owners, corporate teams, and social media freelancers to grow their business via courses, coaching and training. She is a founder and executive member of the Young Chamber of Commerce, was named in the ’30 under 30’ most influential on the Sunshine Coast, and was awarded the 2022 Sunshine Coast Young Business Woman of the Year. Bronte is a regular guest speaker at events, including returning each year to speak to UniSC students.

Bronte Cresswell
Bronte Cresswell
Nicole Hegarty
Nicole Hegarty
Rising Star Award
Nicole Hegarty
BJourn 2018 

Graduating in 2018 with a Bachelor of Journalism, Nicole Hegarty is an ABC Federal Political Reporter and Producer based at Parliament House in Canberra. Nicole started an internship at ABC Sunshine Coast during her studies, and was offered a role in her second week. It was during a six-week ABC placement in Federal Parliament that the quality of her work led to a fulltime move to Canberra. Nicole continually steps out of her comfort zone, refining her skills and striving for excellence. She has interviewed the Prime Minister, senior ministers and foreign leaders, been a producer on Q+A television program, and reported for the AM current affairs program, Radio National and News Breakfast. Covering politics, international relations, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, she is known for her fair and ethical reporting and embracing diversity and inclusion.

Past recipients

Browse past recipients of Outstanding Alumni Awards for examples of the level of achievement and impact previously awarded.

Nomination guidelines

For more information about the awards, read the 2023 nomination guidelines (current for 2023 only).


Anita Edmonds
Manager, Alumni Relations
+61 7 5459 4564

Please note the recipients' work details are current at the time of receiving their award.

Read next

Champion of solving ‘red mud’ industrial waste named UniSC’s top alumnus

For every tonne of alumina manufactured, another tonne of blood red industrial waste is left behind... posing an environmental and business challenge UniSC's Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for 2023 could not ignore.

Exploring the evolving communication landscape

The way we communicate is changing faster than you can say "emoji is the modern hieroglyph." The good news for communication grads? Exciting job prospects are emerging as a result.