Past recipients | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Past recipients

Please note: this is archival information and may not reflect the recipients' current work details.

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Marayke Jonkers

BSocSc(CommWk) 2004, BA(Comn 2006) The inaugural Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award was presented to medal-winning paralympian Marayke Jonkers in recognition of being named Queensland Young Achiever of the Year 2005. Marayke beat a field of 400 contenders.

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Dr Sonia Marshall

When Dr Sonia Marshall's daughter Evie was born 14 years ago with incurable cystic fibrosis (CF), her life expectancy was 35 years. She was vulnerable to progressive and recurrent lung infections, poor growth, and chronic inflammation of the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and heart. In August 2018, thanks to Sonia and her family working tirelessly for three years, and after three unsuccessful attempts, the CF drug ‘Orkambi’ was approved for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which meant the cost for patients to access this drug went from $250,000 a year to a maximum cost of $500 a year, and, added an extra 23 years of life. Sonia said she had driven positive change in public health and the local community using the communication techniques, research skills and “ability to think outside the square” gained during her USC doctorate in environmental interpretation from USC’s Sustainability Research Centre. (Full details via link above).

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Kristy Ellis (nee Munroe)

BBus 2006 Kristy Ellis (nee Munroe) was recognised for her achievements in Surf Lifesaving on a local, national and international level. With both a University of the Sunshine Coast degree and multiple Australian and World Ironwoman Championship titles to her name, Kristy said she has now achieved many of her educational and sporting goals.

Alumnus of the Year, Regional Achievement

Andrew Fairbairn

Since graduating from USC in 2001 with a Bachelor of Business (Marketing), Andrew Fairbairn has built a successful career in Australia and overseas in the tourism, marketing and destination development profession. Andrew has worked in senior roles leading sales and marketing teams for Wotif Asia and luxury hotel chains in Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Fiji and Sydney, getting his first break at the Sheraton Noosa, or Sofitel as it is now known. In 2017, Andrew returned home joining Visit Sunshine Coast, our regional tourism organisation, to lead the Industry Development team. (Full details via link above.)

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

LCDR Thomas Miller

Lieutenant Commander Miller is a full-time specialist Emergency Nursing Officer with the Royal Australian Navy who was sponsored by the Australian Defence Force to complete his 2010 Bachelor of Nursing and 2016 Master of Advanced Practice (Emergency Care) at USC. He has recently returned from military operations in the Middle East where he was selected to be Commander of Nursing for the Military Hospital and the Officer in Command of the Emergency Department at one of the largest military bases in Kabul, Afghanistan. This involved coordinating the activities of an emergency department in the centre of a warzone with clinicians from over twelve countries. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Dr Craig Hansen

BSc(Public Health) 2002, BSc (Hons) 2003, PhD 2007 - Dr Craig Hansen was recognised for his doctoral and postdoctoral research in epidemiology (the study of diseases in populations) which included field work in the South African township of Soweto. In December 2007 Craig commenced a post-doctoral fellowship with United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Dr Elke Hacker

BSc 2002, BSc (Hons) 2003 - Dr Elke Hacker received the 2008 Outstanding Alumni Award for her research work into the genetics of melanoma cancer at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR).

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Sean Hurley

Since leaving USC and moving overseas 18 years ago, 2005 Bachelor of Business graduate Sean Hurley has built a career in retail, finding a passion for global trade and cross-cultural relationships. All of which has led him to his current role as a Country Director for Spanish company, Mango, based between Barcelona and Dubai, managing 80 countries in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Mango is one of the largest fashion brands worldwide present in 113 countries. Under Sean’s supervision, the Middle East became the number one region for Mango in growth and profitability. He opened four new countries – Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka – starting from scratch and each with their unique challenges. Adding Africa to his portfolio in 2014 meant taking on 14 operational countries. He has since opened in another seven countries, such as Namibia and Kenya. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Science, Health and Education

Emily Orchard

BSC 2002 - Emily is the Senior Forensic Technician and Senior Occupational Health and Safety Consultant, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. Emily was closely involved in the Victorian Bushfire Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) process in early 2009.

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Keryn Jones

BSocSc 2005 - Keryn Jones is a dedicated campaigner for social justice and ecological sustainability in her role as Councillor, Division 3, with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and previously as the Coordinator of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council.

Alumnus of the Year, Regional Achievement

Angela Harrison

From leaving school at 14 to working in senior levels of business management, Angela Harrison's path to success has been anything but ordinary. With no formal fundraising education, Angela has raised several millions of dollars through a heart and passion for local community. This has been underpinned by her commitment to tertiary education and applying what she has learnt in both her 2013 Bachelor of Business (International Business) and 2018 EMBA degrees to shaping and influencing a region. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Business

Jonty Bush

BBus 2002 - Jonty Bush was awarded 2009 Young Australian of the Year by the National Australia Day Council for her dedicated work on prevention initiatives and law reforms for homicide victims in her role as CEO of the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group.

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

Ashleigh Morris

In just a few years since graduating from USC as a Chancellor’s Medallist with a 2015 Bachelor of Environmental Health Science degree and the first USC student to receive the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Undergraduate Award, Ashleigh Morris has been unstoppable in her mission to reduce global waste. After working on some of the world’s most intractable environmental issues, including how to transform the supply chain of one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil in Indonesia, Ashleigh’s primary focus now is on being the catalyst for Australia's transition from the linear ‘Take, Make, Use, Dispose’ economy to the circular economy. In 2017 Ashleigh co-founded Australia’s first circular economy company, The Circular Experiment with her sister Jaine, also a USC graduate. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Science, Health and Education

Madonna Kennedy

2001 BSc(PubHlth) gradaute Madonn Kennedy is the ATOD Prevention Coordinator (Northern) for the Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Prevention Unit, based in Townsville, Queensland. Her role covers the area north to the Torres Strait Islands, west to the Northern Territory border, and south to Mackay. It is a senior position within the Division of the Chief Health Officer, Queensland Health, involving the planning, implementation, management, evaluation and reporting of key ATOD prevention activities. Previous roles have included Senior Health Promotion Officer with the Tropical Population Health Unit based in Mount Isa, and ATOD Health Promotion Coordinator for the Townsville Health Service District. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Captain Jan Becker

USC's Bachelor of Nursing Science: Graduate Entry 2009 graduate Capt. Jan Becker is well known and respected in the aviation industry as CEO of Becker Helicopters Group — the Southern Hemisphere’s largest helicopter flight academy. She is a commercial helicopter pilot and board member of Helicopter International Association based in Washington DC. Her drive, vision and business acumen have been recognised with multiple honours, including the 2014 Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Owner Award and the 2013 Telstra Australian Medium Business Award. However, aviation is not Jan’s only passion. As a trained nurse and midwife, she is committed to improving the health of women and babies in some of the world’s most under-resourced countries. Jan is the founder of non-profit organisation Midwife Vision, which offers education, global community participation, professional support, and resources to midwives at Amana Referral Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Business

Dr PM Kam

Dr PM Kam is the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council Hong Kong, a statutory body established to conduct investigation of auditing irregularities and enquiries into non-compliance of accounting requirements in relation to listed entities in Hong Kong. Graduating in 2008 with a PhD from USC, his thesis was on corporate governance and earnings management in Hong Kong. He previously worked for Jardine Matheson for 34 years before his retirement in March 2010, having been its Group Financial Controller for over 25 years. Jardine Matheson has 50,000 employees and an annual turnover of $30 billion. (Full details in link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dr Gary Crew

2005 Doctor of Creative Arts graduate Dr Gary Crew has published over 40 novels and illustrated books for children and youth on every continent in the world in 15 languages. He is one of Australia's most awarded authors for youth fiction, winning the Australian Children's Book of the Year award four times, twice for his novels, twice for his illustrated book. He has also been awarded the National Children's Book Award; the Victorian Premier's Award; the New South Wales Premier's Award; the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Writing; the Aurealis Award for Speculative Fiction and both the Wilderness Society Award and Royal Zoological Award for Environmental Writing.

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

Megan Leane

After graduating from USC with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013, Megan Leane researched locations that were underserviced in her field and chose Gladstone to establish herself as the only ‘practising private dietitian’ in the region when the new Gladstone GP Super Clinic opened its doors. Over the past four years, Megan’s clinic has grown from one day a week to a full-time practice employing two other nutrition and dietetics professionals. Not only has Megan's clinical care setting broadened, she has also accepted government, corporate and community contracts for QLD Health, Gladstone Ports Corporation, Gladstone Regional Council and Headspace Gladstone. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Science, Health and Education

Nubia Ramos

BSc(BiomedSc) 2007, BSc(Hons) 2008, PhD 2011 - In June 2011, Dr Nubia Ramos secured a two year Postdoctoral Fellowship at one of the world's leading medical universities, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm Sweden. According to the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the Karolinska Institute is the 42nd ranked university in the world, and the only medical school outside of the United States ranked in the world’s top ten. The Karolinska Institute has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine since 1901. Nubia had been invited to spend six months at the Karolinska Institute in 2010, as part of her PhD research into the genetic makeup of E.coli bacteria in the urogenital tract. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Business

Dave Gilbert

USC BBus(IntBus) 2006 graduate, Dave Gilbert, began his career as a diesel mechanic in Mt Isa over 20 years ago, and is now the Executive General Manager Operations, AGC (An AusGroup Company). Listed on the Singapore stock exchange with offices and fabrication facilities in Perth and Singapore, AGC helps large and small clients to build, maintain and upgrade oil, gas and mineral resource development projects. Clients include BHP, Rio Tinto and Gindalbie Minerals. Dave is one of six international managers on the AGC Executive Committee, charged with monitoring Group performance, identifying key issues within the business, and successfully implementing and updating the Group's strategy.

Alumnus of the Year, Regional Achievement

Mathew Davis

Since graduating at USC in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) , marine scientist Mathew Davis has worked in the world of environmental management, especially water quality monitoring, mostly in South East Queensland and beyond. In 2013 Mathew founded Australian Coastal and Marine Ecology (ACME) and has lead his team of qualified environmental professionals on a multitude of infrastructure projects, including a 7-year contract on the Moreton Bay Rail Link Project for the Department and Transport and Main Roads. In 2017, Mathew won the Unitywater Moreton Bay Showcase Award for innovative education programs and fundraising efforts for important environmental projects under another company he founded, Coastal Protection Core. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Ryan Darnell

Not long after completing his studies, 2003 BA/BBus graduate Ryan Darnell secured a job with Jones Lang LaSalle in Sydney as a Facilities Administrator. He was quickly promoted to Facilities Manager, taking on extra leadership assignments with clients such as Coca Cola Amatil, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. During this time, Ryan won several corporate awards, completed the Jones Lang LaSalle ‘Leaders of the Future Program’ and received his industry accreditation as a Facilities Manager. In 2008 Ryan accepted a role as Senior Manager, Facilities Management, with a new property company setup by one of the ruling families in Abu Dhabi. Despite challenges during the global financial crisis, Ryan continued to grow the internal capabilities of the 130 staff under his leadership and received the Middle East Young Facilities Manager of the Year Award. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Chris Raine

Chris Raine is the founder and CEO of website and blog Hello Sunday Morning (HSM). Graduating from USC with a BA/BBus in 2009, the following year Chris committed to not drinking for 12 months and documented the journey through a blog and Facebook. He aimed to get a true understanding of what it would take for a young person to change their drinking behaviour. That social experiment is now known as Hello Sunday Morning. "Hello Sunday Morning’s purpose is to provide a platform for individuals to create meaningful change in their lives through a period of sobriety. By sharing their story, each person’s stand is a unique and essential contribution to a better drinking culture,” explains Chris. (Full details via link above).

Outstanding Alumnus Award, business and philanthropic leadership

Tristan Kurz

As dealer principal of Coastline BMW at Currimundi on the Sunshine Coast, business acumen combined with philanthropic leadership has brought Tristan Kurz many accolades. A 2004 Bachelor of Businsess graduate, Tristan is the third generation director of the family business, following in both his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. He began working for the company in 2005, having completed an internship at BMW world headquarters in Munich, Germany. In 2008 Tristan bought half the company and took over running the business as dealer principal. Coastline BMW has over 50 employees and turns over $55 million annually. Under Tristan’s leadership the dealership has been recognised with many prestigious industry awards, including the BMW Individual dealer of the year, the BMW Finance Dealer of the year and the Australian MINI dealer of the year. (Full details via link above.)

Alumnus of the Year, Regional Achievement

Katie Toney

In 2005 Katie Toney (nee Blowers) began her journalism career with the 7 Network as a USC student intern, graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor of Communication. By the end of her final exams, she was employed as a cadet reporter in a full time role at the Bundaberg bureau. Over the last 10 years, Katie has reported on a variety of hard hitting and feature stories such as the Jayant Patel scandal, Daniel Morcombe’s murder, floods and cyclones. In 2015, Katie stepped up to the anchor chair as the fill-in newsreader over summer. Management were so impressed they created a new position, Online Presenter, giving her the opportunity to front the network’s social media push. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, international community development leadership

Suzie Burford

BA(IntStud) 2005, BA(Hons) 2006 - Suzie is the manager of the International Projects Group (IPG) at USC and has been recognised for her leadership and dedication to international community development. Her success over the last four years has seen IPG develop from a single-person operation with one grant of $135K, to 25 projects, up to 20 project staff and grants totalling $5.34M. Suzie works in a highly-competitive arena, competing for funding with other leading universities and international aid management contractors. To date, funding success has come predominantly from AusAID as well as the United Nations, DEEWR, foreign governments and corporations. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, ocular tissue engineering research

Dr Laura Bray

Since graduating at 18 with a science degree from USC, Laura has been involved in medical research into the evaluation of silk based materials for ocular tissue reconstruction. Completing her PhD this year at QUT at 24 years old, Laura is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Queensland Eye Institute. Under the supervision of the man who invented the artificial cornea, Professor Traian V. Chirila, this research has the potential to change the lives of millions of people. Approximately 10 million cases of blindness worldwide are due to diseases affecting the cornea. (Full details via link above.)

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

Scott Barker

Scott Barker was in the first intake of sport and exercise science students at USC in 1999. Around the same time, he wrote a letter to Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett offering his services at training and ended up volunteering there for two years, doing everything from holding up the tackle bags to filling water bottles. In 2001, Wayne created a full-time paid position for Scott as Video Analyst. "Wayne was definitely ahead of his time", says Scott. "It's only in the last 4 or 5 years that other professional rugby league clubs have employed full-time performance analysts". During his career, Scott has also worked for Australian Rugby League, Newcastle Knights, Illawarra Dragons, QLD State of Origin and French National Rugby League. Career highlights include winning the NRL grand finals twice, QLD State of Origin in 2006 and being part of the winning Australian team at the 2011 Rugby League Four Nations tournament and 2013 Rugby League World Cup. (Full details via link above).

Outstanding Alumnus Award, executive leadership and management

Jenny Morawska

Jenny is the Founder and CEO of The Morawska Group - a global management consultancy specialising in strategy, structure, sustainable economic and leadership development and business operational excellence, for commercial and public sector organisations. Her passions include banking and finance, science, supporting women as leaders, the right use of power and peace negotiations. In addition to running her own management consultancy, Jenny has had extensive experience in executive leadership and management roles. She was the inaugural CEO for Research Infrastructure Support Services (RISS), now known as Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA), a not-for-profit established to distribute Federal government grants in the area of cell therapies for human transplant research. Soon after becoming USC’s first MBA graduate in 2000, Jenny was recruited as the General Manager, People and Performance at Westpac, to realign the business performance function across Australia, Asia and the Pacific. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award

Debbie Platz

Two-time USC graduate (MBA 2004, GDEd 2011) Debbie Platz is the Chief Superintendent and Executive Manager, Training and Development, of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and Public Safety Business Agency with 28 years of service. In this role, Debbie is responsible for the training of approximately 800 police recruits each year and 15,000 service personnel across Queensland, including investigative, intelligence, forensics, counter terrorism and detective training. She is also responsible for the training and development of over 300 staff from the Public Safety Business Agency, which enables the Queensland's police, fire and emergency services agencies to deliver the best public safety services to the community. Debbie has and continues to represent QPS on numerous boards and committees at State, National and International levels. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, research in plant biotechnology

Dr Amal Johnston

2002 Master of Science graduate Dr Amal Johnston has had an outstanding career trajectory and made significant contributions in the fields of plant breeding, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics research. He has worked in some of the world’s most prestigious academic and research institutions, and is now leading his own research team in Germany. Amal is the Research Group Leader and Assistant Professor for Germline Biology, Centre for Organismal Studies, at the University of Heidelberg, currently ranked in the top 3 universities in Germany and top 80 in the world. He was awarded over 1.6 million euros from an Emmy-Noether grant under the German Research Foundation. (Full details via link above).

Alumnus of the Year Award, Rising Star

Dr Chris Walker

2006 Environmental Science and 2012 PhD graduate, Dr Chris Walker is the Environmental Manager and Senior Environmental Scientist for Covey Associates, a leading Sunshine Coast based, multi-discipline, engineering consultancy with clients throughout Australia and abroad. His specialties are: stormwater management, urban lake design and management, Water Sensitive Urban Design, erosion and sediment control and overall environmental project management of commercial, residential and industrial developments. In this role, Chris has made a significant impact on reducing the environmental impacts of large scale urban developments and improving the environmental health of water courses throughout Queensland. (Full details via link above).

Alumnus of the Year Award, Regional Achievement

Brendan Powell

Brendan Powell is the Co-owner and Director, Business Operations, of Queensland Oztag, a social, non-contact sport that can be played from ages six to 60. With a 2006 MBA from USC, Brendan’s leadership since 2009 has seen the number of venues across the state grow from seven to 44, and the number of players from 4,500 to over 30,000. It is fast becoming one of the most popular junior sports on the Sunshine Coast with almost 2,500 players in the Maroochydore and Caloundra clubs this year. Oztag has brought a range of benefits to the Sunshine Coast economy. The 2014 Junior and Senior State Cups saw approximately 11,000 people involved, with the majority being visitors to the Sunshine Coast. Income generated for the region’s tourism providers was estimated at $2.1M. (Full details via link above.)

Alumnus of the Year Award, Regional Achievement

Bill Darby

Bill Darby co-founded project marketing company Village Management Corporation in 1995 and with local developers, Reed Property Group, pioneered the concept of blending student housing at USC into a private residential property investment model – first The Village, then UniCentral. There are now dozens of private student accommodation complexes around QLD operating under the same private investment model they developed. After graduating from USC with a 2006 GCBusAdmin and 2007 MBA, Village Management took on the unit sales and management model for the proposed new Rumba Beach Resort project in Caloundra, acquiring the management rights for the resort as well, which it still retains. The sale of $60 million worth of investment apartments in the first 60 days of marketing broke all previous records for the area. (Full details via link above.)

Alumnus of the Year Award, Rising Star

Jessica Huddart

A 2006 BA(Des&Mktg) graduate, Jessica Huddart is the Creative Director and Partner of design ventures practice, Josephmark, leading a team of 25 staff in Brisbane, New York and Los Angeles. Joining Josephmark’s co-founders in 2005 as their first designer, Jessica has helped grow the business into a leading digital design and branding agency. In 2011, Josephmark was one of only five digital agencies invited to tender for the redesign of the first global social networking site Myspace, which had recently been acquired by Justin Timberlake and Specific Media. Jessica led the successful pitch and moved to LA with her team as they guided their client towards its new vision and launch of the “New Myspace”, attracting a great deal of attention from the design and tech media in Australia and abroad.

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award

Dr Warish Ahmed

2006 PhD graduate Dr Warish Ahmed is a Senior Research Scientist in the Land and Water Flagship, CSIRO, Ecosciences Precinct, Brisbane, and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at USC. As part of his doctoral research at USC, under the co-supervision of Associate Professor Mohammad Katouli and Dr Ron Neller, Warish developed a microbial source tracking (MST) method known as 'biochemical fingerprinting' to identify sources of faecal pollution in Australia’s waterways. His expertise in MST was recognized by the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) with a grant in 2006 to develop quantitative PCR (qPCR) based sewage specific markers for the quantification of sewage pollution in storm water run-off. While at DERM, Warish developed a 'Toolbox' of methods to detect and measure key pathogens commonly found in environmental waters in Australia. (Full details via link above.)

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Colin Vale

2010 MBA graduate Colin Vale was the Executive Director of the Anitua Group on Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Under his leadership, the organisation transformed into the most successful and largest landowner Group of Companies in PNG. It grew to more than 4,500 staff and 20 companies operating all over PNG in a diverse range of businesses including mining services, camp catering and management, retail, construction, agriculture and security. Colin’s ability to be inclusive of the cultural customs and collective approach to decision making with landowner groups, whilst implementing international best practice commercial strategy, business planning, financial management and corporate governance, was commended by the World Bank. (Full details via link above).

Alumnus of the Year, Regional Achievement

Raphael McGowan

Since graduating from USC in 2010, Raphael McGowan moved to Sydney and found his calling creating initiatives such as cycling and walking across the USA and Australia to raise awareness and funds to support research for melanoma skin cancer. In 2017, Raphael returned to the Sunshine Coast to create his current business 'bakslap', a sunscreen application device. The first product was designed, manufactured and launched with the involvement of many USC students and is currently available in 88 retailers nationally, including 44 on the Sunshine Coast. In 2019, bakslap won a Sunshine Coast Business Award for manufacturing, recognised for innovation and economic, social and environmental impact. (Full details via link above).

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

Dr Krystina Lamb

Dr Krystina Lamb is a leader in renewable and hydrogen energy technology research, currently working at the world class National Hydrogen Materials Reference Facility at Griffith University. After graduating from USC in 2016 with a PhD, as well as her undergraduate and honours degree, she has had a significant impact on promoting hydrogen technology in Australia, receiving over $2.3 million in research grants to date. In 2018, she and her team at CSIRO demonstrated a world-first technology of producing ultrahigh purity hydrogen from ammonia to a crowd of over 200, including members of parliament, government and industry representatives and the media. (Full details via link above).

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

Ali Couwenberg

2010 Bachelor of Business (Tourism) graduate Ali Couwenberg (née Marshall) is a senior marketing professional with over ten years’ experience within the property industry. As a lead marketer for international property and infrastructure group Lendlease, Ali’s career highlights include launching a $350 million new build retail asset and she is currently leading the marketing and placemaking on Melbourne Quarter (MQ), a $2.9 billion project identified as the city’s most ambitious, greenest, urban regeneration development yet. (Full details via link above).

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Dr Shamala Thilarajah

Dr Shamala Thilarajah is the current President of the Singapore National Stroke Association, World Stroke Organisation Future Leader (2020-2022), and Singapore Physiotherapy Association 2021 Outstanding Public Sector Physiotherapist award winner for her work building better rehabilitation systems for vulnerable populations who cannot afford expensive private healthcare. Shamala has been a physiotherapist since 2004 and is a Principal Physiotherapist at the 8th ranked hospital in the world, Singapore General Hospital. (Full details via link above).

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Dr Michael Duggan

Utilising his doctoral studies in sustainability and human geography from USC’s Sustainability Research Centre, Dr Michael Duggan has been a Director of Deloitte, where he led sustainability services across Queensland and also played a leading role in the formation of a start-up waste to energy company. In 2019, Mike joined Orange Sky Australia as Chief Operating Officer – a national provider of laundry and shower services for the homeless. Mike has been pivotal in expanding Orange Sky’s Australian and New Zealand service delivery, embedding social impact measurement and decision-making into Orange Sky’s projects and leading them through the challenges of COVID-19. (Full details via link above).

Alumnus of the Year, Regional Achievement

Elise Jione

Elise Jione is the General Manager of USC’s Thompson Institute and has played an integral role in the Thompson Institute’s growth to become one of Australia’s leading mental health research institutes. Elise developed and implemented the Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a community-based program committed to improving mental health outcomes on the Sunshine Coast that now has 125 member organisations. She also led a multi-disciplinary team to swiftly develop ‘EMERALD’, a wellbeing program in response to COVID-19. With over 200 participants to date, it has delivered clinically significant outcomes, with an average increase in wellbeing of 53%, average decrease in depression by 53% and average decrease in anxiety by 54%. (Full details via link above).

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

Lyndsey Scott

Lyndsey Scott is the Group Human Resources Director for MJS Holding in Saudi Arabia, a global group bringing world-class dining to Saudi Arabia as the country brings to life its 2030 vision with a focus on a vibrant and energised society. Lyndsey is a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity with a focus on women in the workplace and has achieved global recognition for innovation in her industry. During her 15 years’ experience in Human Resources, previous roles included Area Director of HR for Hyatt based in the Middle East and Director of HR at Grand Hyatt Melbourne, where colleague turnover rates dropped from 42% in 2015 to 28% in 2017 along with 80% of all leadership vacancies being filled by internal candidates. (Full details via link above).

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

Dr Jennie Chandler

Dr Jennie Chandler obtained first-class honours from the University of Exeter in 2013 and moved to Australia to do her PhD at USC, publishing seven first-author papers. In 2017, Jennie secured a postdoctoral position at the prestigious University College of London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UK), where her research focuses on novel treatments for childhood kidney failure. (Full details via link above).

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Candice Fox

Candice Fox is an Australian crime fiction novelist who completed her BA(Hons) in 2011 and her BEd/BA in 2010 at UniSC. She is a multi-time New York Times and Sunday Times best-selling author, and three-time recipient of the Australian Crime Writers Association's Ned Kelly Award. Candice has reached number one on the New York Times bestseller lists seven times, collaborating with one of the world’s bestselling authors James Patterson. Her novel 'Crimson Lake' was adapted into a major ABC TV drama series ‘Troppo’ which is now available across the globe on a variety of streaming platforms. Candice is published in over 20 languages with Penguin Random House and has been interviewed twice on ABC Radio 'Conversations', giving her time helping other authors, speaking at writers festivals and running workshops.

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Brad Stefanovic

Dr Brad Stefanovic graduated with a PhD from UniSC in 2013, after receiving his BSc(Hons) in 2007 and BSc(Sp&ExSc) in 2006. He is Vice President of clinical operations at major biotech firm Aura Biosciences in New York City, one of the most promising late-stage biotech companies currently listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Since completing his PhD, Brad has made valuable professional contributions in the clinical trials and biotechnology industries. Brad identified Aura’s growth opportunities and potential for public offering on the stock exchange for their virus like drug conjugate product in treating cancer and is credited for doubling Aura’s clinical and research capacity. Brad helped lead Project On-ramp, an initiative facilitating summer interns, with hopes to increase this number over the next 3 years, thereby increasing diversity in the STEM field.

Alumnus of the Year, Regional Achievement

Mahalia Cassidy

Mahalia Cassidy graduated from UniSC with a BOccThpy(Hons) in 2019. She is a professional netball player with the Sunshine Coast Lightning, in the nation's top level netball league, and works as an Occupational Therapist in aged care. She had a stand-out 2022 season with Lightning, achieving Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. Mahalia is passionate about giving back to the community and volunteers one day per week at STEPS Pathways College — an organisation designed to develop independence for people with a disability. She is also part of Lightning’s Reconciliation Action Group, and was involved in the working group that helped to stand up the Lightning v West Coast Fever Pride Round. Mahalia is a fantastic role model to young girls and boys and leaves a lasting impact on the hundreds of people she connects with each and every year.

Alumnus of the Year, Rising Star

Alise Fox

Alise graduated from UniSC with a MSc in 2020 after receiving her BSc(Hons) in 2015 and BEd/BSc in 2013. She is passionate about mathematics, the natural environment and public engagement with STEM. As a fisheries scientist, she develops population models for wild fish species in the Great Barrier Reef to ensure fishing levels are sustainable. She has over a decade of experience teaching mathematics, both at university and high school. Her diverse and fast-growing portfolio of STEM engagement activity includes television, podcasts, and public presentations for children, high school students and adults. She was Highly Commended for the 2022 Queensland Women in STEM Prize and is using that platform to springboard her science communication projects to have greater impact.