2018 Outstanding Alumni Nominees

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2018 Outstanding Alumni Nominees


Recipients were announced at the Outstanding Alumni Awards 12 September 2018. View the 2018 recipients.

Abbey Blanchfield
MMgt 2010, BBus 2010

Abbey Blanchfield is the Marketing and Sales Manager for Airtrain and a Queensland Government Young Tourism Leader. She was selected as one of 18 QTIC Young Tourism Professional Mentee’s, is a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute, Member of Women in Tourism and volunteers with Hair Aid Inc. After graduating from USC with a Bachelor of Business and Master of Management, she has become a recognised professional in the Tourism industry, being the Operations and Business Development Manager of Accommodation Noosa, the General Manager of Gympie Cooloola Tourism, Lecturer in Business/ Tourism, involved in the GC Commonwealth Games Multi-Agency Transport Committee group and World Tourism Forum Lucerne.

Amanda Cassar
MFinPlan 2009

Amanda Cassar is passionate about financial services and philanthropy. She is an author and speaker who loves to learn and travel. Amanda is the Managing Director of two advisory firms based on the Gold Coast – Wealth Planning Partners and Trusted Aged Care Services and in 2018 published a book ‘Financial Secrets Revealed’. She attends Strategic Coach workshops in the United States each quarter and loves giving back to the profession, holding state roles in the Association of Financial Advisers and the Million Dollar Round Table. Amanda sits on the Qld Development Board for The Hunger Project. She has visited both Malawi and Uganda raising over $30,000 for this cause.

Jess Cutler
BBus(TourLeis&EventMgt) 2016

After completing her degree in Business (Tourism, Leisure & Event Management) in 2015, Jess commenced work with Sunshine Coast Council’s Recruitment team before fulfilling her dream throughout her studies to work with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Jess worked for 18 months recruiting the 15,000 volunteers required for the international event as Volunteer Selection Specialist and then as Venue Workforce Manager at just 23 years old. Jess has now returned to the Recruitment team at Sunshine Coast Council and as someone who has a long history of volunteering herself, continues to seek opportunities where she can get involved with the community.

Benjamin Doveston
BClinExSc 2013

After graduating from USC in 2012, Benjamin Doveston, Exercise Physiologist and Director of Doveston Health, continued to pursue his mission to create a healthier and fitter Moreton Bay, north of Brisbane. Beginning as a remedial massage and sports trainer business in a fitness facility, Doveston Health has grown exponentially, purchasing and relocating to a new purpose-built centre in 2017. It now employs 17 staff and currently provides Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Podiatry, Remedial Massage and Nutrition & Dietetics. Doveston Health is now one of the largest private allied health practices in the Moreton Bay region, continuing to employ USC graduates and increasing the number of student placements each year.

Samantha Elkington-Dent
BA 2014

Since graduating from USC with a Bachelor of Arts in 2014, Samantha has also received a Master of Information Studies (Information and Knowledge Management) from Charles Sturt University with Distinction and was the recipient of the Institute for Information Management Prize. Samantha has held several roles at USC and is currently responsible for coordinating the copyright operations for the University. She also contributes to a range of information management initiatives and has already presented at industry events and conferences. Her future ambitions include completing a PhD and continuing to pursue a career in the higher education sector.

Dr Christopher Haggarty-Weir
BSc(BiomedSc) 2011

In 2018 Dr Christopher Haggarty-Weir completed his Universitas 21 joint PhD in malaria vaccine development under renowned Australian malaria scientist Prof. Alan Cowman at the Universities of Melbourne and Edinburgh. During this time Christopher was not only prolific with international science communication, publishing of academic papers in biomedical science and philosophy, student mentoring and volunteering, but he also established the Haggarty-Weir Bursary for financially disadvantaged students at USC. Most recently he has set up his own consulting business in Edinburgh, focusing on research commercialisation, whilst also working to attract investment of vaccine development in low and middle-income countries.

Angela Harrison
EMBA 2018, BBus(IntBus) 2013

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 Bachelor of Business and EMBA degrees to shaping and influencing a region. Her efforts at RACQ Careflight Rescue were acknowledged as the 2015 winner of the Sunshine Coast Business Professional Women of the Year Awards. Angela is currently the Manager for STEPS Charity, a not-for-profit organisation supporting young adults living with a disability and has raised more than A$1.1million in her first 24 months of tenure.

Sean Hurley
BBus 2005

Since leaving USC and moving overseas, over the last 18 years Sean has built a career in retail, finding a passion for global trade and cross-cultural relationships. Sean simultaneously continued his passion for rugby, which started on the Sunshine Coast, including as a founding member of the USC Barbarians, and has enjoyed playing for various teams and charity organisations around the world. All of which has led him to his current professional 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.

Emma Kill
MSocWk(Qual) 2017,
BSocSc(CommWk) 2006

In her role at USC, Emma has coordinated the delivery of the Tertiary Pathway Program (TPP) to teenage mothers, providing opportunities for others to further their education at USC. Emma’s commitment to also breaking down the stigmatisation and discrimination that surrounds illicit drug use can be evidenced in her work on several NGO boards. This has culminated in her current position as a council member of the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council. In 2017, Emma was recognised for her contribution receiving a USC Vice-Chancellor and President’s Diversity and Inclusion Award.

Danielle McAlister
BSocSc(Hons) 2016,
BSocSc 2015

As Senior Manager, Creating Homes, for Queensland’s largest refugee resettlement provider, Multicultural Development Australia (MDA Ltd), Danielle and her teams in Regional Qld and Brisbane have worked with newly arrived refugees through the Department of Social Service’s Humanitarian Settlement Program to ensure over 1000 clients in the past year have had access to safe and affordable accommodation. Danielle has also overseen the research, design and advocacy of Welcome Residential, an initiative of MDA Ltd and Brisbane’s first Not-For-Profit Real Estate enterprise, which re-invests profits into MDA and establishes pathways for refugees to access the private rental market.

Raphael McGowan
BBus 2010

Bachelor of Business graduate Raphael McGowan is an innovator who avoids ‘sitting on the sideline’ and doing things by halves. From corporate roles in Sydney, to working with not-for-profits in the fundraising and stakeholder management area, Raphael has always had an emphasis on social issues and businesses that help others. In January 2017 he began a new business to create innovative products to assist with sun care and to spread awareness of enjoying sunshine responsibly. In July 2018, Raphael and his support team raised over $40,000 to fund production of his first product ‘backslap’, a sunscreen applicator for the back and other hard to reach places on the body.

Ashleigh Morris
BEnvHlthSc 2015

Ashleigh Morris is an environmental management consultant, board member, academic and circular economy entrepreneur. Ashleigh is currently the National Education Program Manager for Climate-KIC Australia, Chair of Queensland’s Future Business Generation, member of the Smart Cities Council of Australia and New Zealand’s Civic Innovation Taskforce. She was one of only 10 Australians selected to attend the ‘Future Leaders, Future Cities’ business mission delegation to Tokyo, Japan with the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, focused on the circular economy. Ashleigh is passionate about driving socially useful innovation and aligning organisational purpose, strategy and business models that ensure capital acts for the long term.

Dr Greg Nash
DCA 2010, BA(Hons) 2006,
BA 2005

Dr Gregory Nash is USC’s Senior Lecturer in Communication and Course Coordinator of COR109 with approximately 4,000 students a year and supervision of up to 70 teaching staff. He is also Queensland Chairperson of White Ribbon Australia. Since completing his three degrees at USC, Greg has been awarded the USC Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, a USC ADVANCE Award for Learning and Teaching, a Senior Fellowship with Higher Education Australia, and is a co-recipient of an Australian OLT Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Learning and Teaching and an OLT Benchmarking Leadership and Advancement of Standards for Sessional Teaching Award.

Tyson Tripcony
BBus/BSc 2009

After completing his business and science degrees at USC, Tyson gained a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics from Griffith University and is now an Accredited Sports Dietitian, Accredited Practising Dietitian, as well as the Managing Director of Sunshine Coast Dietetics, Fuel Your Life, Correct Nutrition and Dietitian Life. His private practice dietetics businesses operate across every Australian state other than the NT, covering over 100 sites, with almost 40 staff. His flagship business Fuel Your Life was a state finalist at the 2018 Telstra Business Awards but also recently won Australia’s Best Health Improvement Business at the 2018 Australian Small Business Champion Awards.

Dr Amanda Warmerdam
BA/BBus(Psy&HRM) 2012

Since leaving USC, Dr Amanda Warmerdam completed honours at QUT in Organisational Psychology, followed by her PhD at a Monash University’s Accident and Research Centre after receiving a prestigious Peter Vulcan PhD Scholarship. Her research was dedicated to supporting safe driver behaviour, presenting an opportunity for system reform in preventive approaches to workplace road safety in Australia and internationally. It has been featured in The Safety at Work Blog, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and published in international journals. Amanda is now working alongside policy makers in state government to design products, services and policies that are human centred and fit for purpose for the community.

Dr Ken Wasmund
PhD 2010, BSc(Hons) 2005,
BSc(MicroEcol) 2004

After completing his PhD with the Australian Institute of Marine Science and USC, Dr Ken Wasmund worked at the renowned Helmholtz Environmental Research Institute in Germany. Ken is currently a Research Associate at Europe’s most prominent environmental microbiology research department at the University of Vienna. His research uses state-of-the-art molecular and genomic approaches for studying how uncultivated microorganisms interact with global chemical cycles in marine environments, especially Arctic systems. Ken was awarded a competitive research grant from the Austrian Science Fund, the US Joint Genome Institute, and is the author of 12 scientific publications in high-ranking international journals, six as primary author.

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