Congratulations to our 2019 Impact Awards Winners

We received an overwhelming 112 nominations across all categories, shining a light on the diverse and meaningful ways our staff and alumni are making an impact through their work. Award recipients were revealed at the gala awards event on 30 October 2019, which inspired, delighted and surprised attendees.

Alumni Impact Award Winners

Neale Sutton 2019 Alumnus of the Year

Neale Sutton (right) and Professor Adam Shoemaker at the Impact Awards.

Alumnus of the Year

Neale Robert Sutton, Managing Director, Humanihut. Master of Professional Management.

Neale is the Managing Director of Humanihut, providing lightweight, robust emergency shelters for international humanitarian and other purposes.

Neale co-founded Humanihut in 2013, after being deployed as a Military Observer to the UN Transitional Authority in East Timor where he controlled the repatriation of refugees from West to East Timor.

In 2016, Humanihut was shortlisted to the Disrupt 100 list of businesses with the most potential to influence, change or create new global markets.

Related News:
"Former soldier-turned-inventor named Alumnus of the Year."

Read more about Neale's journey and innovation
Ashok Lavasa 2019 International Alumnus of the Year, Adam Shoemaker (right) and Monty Singh (left)

Ashok Lavasa (2nd from right) and his wife Mrs Novel Lavasa, with Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker (right) and Mr Monty Singh, Vice President (Global).

International Alumnus of the Year

Mr Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner of India. Master of Business Administration.

Ashok is currently the appointed Election Commissioner of India, having served, over a 37-year career, as India’s Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and Secretary of Civil Aviation.

As Environment Secretary, Ashok led India’s official team to negotiate the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as well as the Montreal Protocol and the Conventions on Biodiversity and Desertification.

Related News:
"India’s election commissioner named International Alumnus of the Year."

Read more about Mr Ashok Lavasa
Holly Millican 2019 Young Alumnus of the Year

Young Alumnus of the Year - Holly Millican at the Impact Awards.

Young Alumnus of the Year

Holly Millican, mathematics teacher at Grafton High School (on NSW Mid North Coast). Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education (Primary/ Secondary).

Holly teaches maths at Grafton High School and is inspired by empowering students who struggle with basic mathematical concepts. She has developed a thriving mathematics enrichment tutoring program and is currently completing a Master of Education at Southern Cross.

Holly’s emerging YouTube channel inspires teachers to make maths fun. Her first video won a state prize, giving her the opportunity to work with maths teacher and YouTube personality, Eddie Woo.

Related News:
"Maths teacher who makes learning fun named Young Alumnus of the Year."

Read more of Holly's inspiring story

Staff Impact Award Winners

Associate Professor David Lloyd 2019 Community Impact Award winner

2019 Community Impact Award - Associate Professor David Lloyd

Community Impact

Associate Professor David Lloyd, School of Environment, Science and Engineering.

Since 2012, David has led Southern Cross students to work alongside Claire Oelrichs, veterinary surgeon and founder of Save Indonesian Endangered Species Fund (SIES), supporting Indonesian grassroots groups working in Sumatra’s Way Kambas National Park, a hotspot for forest burning and human-elephant conflict.

David’s partnership with SIES has been credited for affecting positive economic and political change for the nearby Braja Harjo Sari village, a village threatened by the long-term conflict

Related News:
"Regional students make international impact at Sumatra elephant centre."
"Uni students help save elephants"

Dr Kathomi Gatwiri 2019 Early Career Researcher with Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker

2019 Early Career Researcher Award - Dr Kathomi Gatwiri (right) with Vice Chancellor, Professor Adam Shoemaker

Early Career Researcher Award

Dr Kathomi Gatwiri, School of Arts and Social Sciences.

Kathomi is an award-winning activist and author, and a lecturer and researcher at Southern Cross University. Kathomi has published research in high-ranking journals, writes for The Conversation and SBS and is a regular guest on ABC radio discussing issues affecting Africans in Australia.

Her book, African Womanhood and Incontinent Bodies investigates the ‘hidden disease’ of women living with vaginal fistulas in Kenya.

Related news:
"A Glorious win for Southern Cross University
"Suffering in silence: how Kenyan women live with profound childbirth injuries"
"Children with severe trauma can be fostered, and recover with the right treatment and care"

Sophie Andrews (right) with Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker

2019 Professional Service Award - Sophie Andrews (right) with Vice Chancellor, Professor Adam Shoemaker

Professional Service Award

Sophie Andrews, HR Services.

Sophie brings unique insight and initiative to her role as Workplace, Health and Safety Advisor.

In 2018, while maintaining her full-time workload, Sophie led the development of Thrive, an employee wellbeing program that has brought genuine benefits to all Southern Cross staff.

Sophie participated in and creatively promoted the program’s activities and continues to create, implement and evaluate new evidence-based activities based on research and staff feedback.

Related examples:
Health and Wellness
Thrive Wellness Program


Associate Professor Terry Rose 2019 Research Partnership Award

2019 Research Partnership Award - Associate Professor Terry Rose

Research Partnership Award

Associate Professor Terry Rose, Southern Cross Plant Science.

Terry has established research partnerships based on respect and integrity with multiple industry partners, including Australian Mustard Oil, the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association, the Australian Subtropical Coffee Association, Northern Co-operative Meat Company, Richmond Dairies, the Natural Rice Co., passionfruit growers and macadamia growers.

These partnerships have led to successful research funding outcomes and enhanced Southern Cross’s reputation as a trustworthy provider of agricultural research.

Related news:
"New project adding value to organic wastes in the Northern Rivers"

Profile and research:
Associate Professor Terry Rose

Social Justice Award Winners and Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker

(from left) Professor Barbara Rugendyke - School of Arts and Social Sciences, Roslyn Felsch from Anglicare North Coast, Dr Louise Whitaker - School of Arts and Social Sciences, with Vice Chancellor, Professor Adam Shoemaker

Social Justice Award

3Es to Freedom.
Dr Louise Whitaker, Dr Mandy Hughes and Professor Barbara Rugendyke from the School of Arts and Social Sciences.

Jane Gustus-Callanan and Roslyn Felsch from Anglicare North Coast.

The 3Es to Freedom program, delivered by Anglicare North Coast in collaboration with Southern Cross researchers, aims to empower refugee and migrant women to successfully navigate their futures and secure sustainable employment of their choice.

Fostering social inclusion and making community connections are guiding principles of the program with a focus on developing confidence, building knowledge and skills, and broadening social experiences.

Related news:
"Refugee and migrant women’s stories to freedom showcased in new art exhibition"

Student Experience Award Winners Julian Smith, Colette Giltrap, Bianca White and Amadeus Bell-Todd

2019 Student Experience Award - Julian Smith, Colette Giltrap, Bianca White and Amadeus Bell-Todd

Student Experience Award

Unit Warm Up.
Bianca White - Student Outreach. Julian Smith, Amadeus Bell-Todd, Callan Brine and Colette Giltrap - Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Unit Warm-Up (UWU) is an online student engagement tool developed to bridge the information gap between enrolment and the start of session, by getting new students ‘warmed up.’

It aims to increase student engagement and improve success rates by providing user-friendly access for new students to manage concerns around starting new units.

Since inception, 35 UWUs have been delivered to thousands of Southern Cross students.

Related UWU website:
"Unit Warm-Up"

Dr Desirée Kozlowski (right) and Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker

2019 Impact Award for Teaching Excellence - Dr Desirée Kozlowski (right) and Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker

Teaching Excellence Award

Dr Desirée Kozlowski, School of Health and Human Sciences.

Desirée’s research interests and expertise are in the areas of pleasure, emotional intelligence and gender roles.

Currently, she is collaborating with an international team measuring gender roles across the world. Desirée’s teaching excellence and valuable contributions are highly regarded by students with multiple student commendations each year.

Desirée’s focus and joy is her commitment to exceptional student learning and responsive optimisation of teaching practices.

Related news:
"Best psychology degree in the country at Coffs Harbour
"Good Universities Guide shows Southern Cross offers stellar study experience
"Diverse psychology program has Coffs Harbour in mind

Follow Desirée’s work on Twitter

The 2019 Impact Awards Presentation Ceremony

Be inspired, delighted, surprised. Wednesday 30 October we have celebrated the staff and alumni who aspire to make a better world.

The event was livestreamed with the recording available below.

2019 Impact Awards
Whitebrook Theatre, Lismore Campus

Universities are people: Southern Cross acknowledges staff who’ve given more than 25 years’ service

To mark the University’s 25th anniversary in 2019, the inaugural Impact Awards celebrate the people – both staff and alumni – who have made the institution what it is today. (2:42)

Southern Cross University Impact Awards - For what matters

We stand for what matters: to students, to individuals, to the community and to the world. We are a place where novel ideas are welcome and lasting careers are created. A video tribute to 25 years of impact. (3:12)

Southern Cross University Impact Awards

Pushing boundaries, creating and making change, leading the thinking, the science, the teaching and the human relationships that aspire to make a better world; universities are far more than buildings and laboratories. Universities are people.

As we mark our 25th anniversary as an institution, we reflect on and celebrate the people – both staff and alumni – who have made this university what it is today. They have embraced the values of Southern Cross and the education they received here to make a significant impact on the world around them. Our new Impact Awards celebrate their achievements.

We are deeply proud of their talent and dedication. More than 1800 staff create inspiring and engaged learning experiences, supporting our students to succeed, undertaking ground breaking research and developing innovation that in turn creates lasting and positive change in both local and global communities. Our alumni nominees are leaders in their fields, who have leveraged their education, passion and skills to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries.

Nominations will be peer-reviewed before finalists and winners are selected by a panel. All finalists were invited to a special awards event on 30 October 2019 and winners in each category receive $1,000 towards professional development activities.

See the complete list of nominees and finalists.


Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Adam Shoemaker launching the Southern Cross University Impact Awards