Alumni Impact Awards 2023
Celebrating our outstanding alumni
It gives me great pleasure to announce the recipients of the Southern Cross University Alumni Impact Awards 2023.
These awards recognise the remarkable contributions of our graduates across disciplines and communities both locally and globally. From nurturing high-performance Paralympians to building rockets for Australia’s space industry, the awards celebrate alumni who have demonstrated excellence, innovation, leadership and social impact in their diverse fields.
There were five categories this year, recognising graduates at all stages of their careers and from disciplines spanning data science, psychology, law, engineering, environmental science and media.
We celebrate their accomplishments and will continue to follow their careers with great pride.
Professor Tyrone Carlin
Vice-Chancellor, Southern Cross University
2023 Alumni Impact Award Recipients
Alumnus of the Year, Ben Newton OAM
After graduating from Southern Cross in 2010 with a Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours, Ben went on to win a gold medal at the 2012 summer Paralympics and was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal in 2014. Ben now works as the Queensland Paralympics High Performance & Development Coach (Wheelchair Rugby) where nurtures talent and inclusivity within the sport.Learn more about Ben
Young Alumnus of the Year, Miranda Luby (dual recipient)
Nominated as an award-winning author, journalist, and copywriter, Miranda’s work spans renowned publications to inspiring novels, showcasing her passion for mental health and conservation issues. A role model for young adults, she inspires and empowers through her talks and workshops where her dedication to community service and impactful storytelling shines through.Learn more about Miranda
Young Alumnus of the Year, Dr Cooper Schouten (dual recipient)
Cooper has completed three degrees including a PhD at Southern Cross. He is the Director of Bees for Sustainable Livelihoods research group and oversees several programs promoting education, research and capacity-building within beekeeping industries in Pacific Island partner countries and Australia. He also teaches into the Regenerative Agriculture program at the University.Learn more about Cooper
International Alumnus of the Year, Dr Sara Shashaani
Completing her Bachelor of Applied Computing at Southern Cross in 2010, Sara is an esteemed researcher in climate-induced learning and prediction. As Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University, she aims to contribute to sustainable solutions and support vulnerable communities.Learn more about Sara
Early Career Alumnus of the Year, Mitch Lavelle
Mitch is a mechanical engineer at Gilmour Space Technologies, leading provider of Australian-made launch vehicles and satellite platforms. The company is on track to launch its Eris rockets and G-class satellite platforms into Low Earth Orbits soon and Mitch is the responsible engineer for the first stage main tank, as well as the entire second stage of the Eris Block 1 vehicle.Learn more about Mitch
Community Impact Alumnus of the Year, Evangeline Wood
Evangeline recently completed a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and is also a volunteer firefighter and Founder and President of Coolamon Community, a group dedicated to connecting Aboriginal mothers with culturally safe healthcare. Evie started Coolamon Community in 2021 and the group has since delivered more than 400 Coolamon cribs to First Nations mothers.Learn more about Evangeline
Meet our previous award winners
Discover our incredible past award recipients who are impacting communities across their respective disciplines.Meet our past winners