University’s first civil engineering degrees to be awarded at graduation

Published 9 December 2016

After four years of learning, Southern Cross University’s first crop of civil engineering graduands are set to realise their dreams and receive their degrees on Saturday December 10, with ABC science journalist Robyn Williams AM the occasional speaker at the graduation ceremony.

Among those graduating is Lisa Hansberry who has already secured employment with Ardill Payne and Partners in Ballina as a civil design engineer. She will be awarded a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering with First Class Honours.

Ms Hansberry made the most of her degree. Together with classmate Corelle Forster, she won the coveted BHP Billiton Award at the 2013 Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Design Challenge National Showcase for a water filtration and storage solution system they designed for a village in Timor Leste. Ms Hansberry was the founding president of the SCU Engineering Society and also served on the University’s Engineering Academic Advisory Committee as a student representative.

“Some of the best things about studying at Southern Cross University were the support from other students and friendships made, nature in the university grounds and, of course, being the first cohort to graduate from civil engineering,” she said.

“My new position as civil design engineer at Ardill Payne and Partners is putting into practice what we learnt through the engineering course. It is a great team to work with, I am really enjoying it. There are very experienced people there whom I can learn a lot from to develop my career.”

Ms Hansberry presented at many events about the value of pursuing a career in engineering and is a strong advocate for women in the field. This week she presented a paper derived from her final year thesis, ‘Developing Engineering Sense through Holistic Engineering Education’, at the 27th Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) conference in Coffs Harbour, hosted by the engineering group at SCU.

Professor Scott Smith, Southern Cross University Dean of Engineering and Foundation Professor of Engineering, said it was a historic time for engineering at the University.

“It is not often you have the opportunity to experience a very first graduating cohort of engineers,” he said.

Professor Smith said the graduands were equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to provide a range of professional civil engineering services in regional, national and international environments.

“They have worked extremely hard these past four years to realise their goals. They’ll serve as wonderful ambassadors of SCU engineering. I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the efforts of the our academic and professional staff and members of the SCU Engineering Academic Advisory Committee in making this milestone a reality.”

Robyn Williams, who presents ABC Radio National's The Science Show and Ockham's Razor, will give the occasional address at the 10am ceremony on Saturday December 10. Robyn Williams was the first journalist elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. He is the author of more than ten books. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australian Bicentenary Honours list and elected a National Living Treasure by the National Trust in 1987.

Two University medals (for academic excellence), eight PhDs (Doctor of Philosophy), six DBAs (Doctor of Business Administration), along with Master and undergraduate degrees will be awarded to around 467 graduands in four ceremonies over two days, December 9 and 10, at the Lismore campus.

The University Medal is awarded to students who have completed a Bachelor degree with First Class Honours and demonstrated a very high standard of academic achievement at all times. The recipients, who both completed their studies by distance education, are:

• Tammy Higginbotham – Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
• Ian Mackie – Bachelor of Education (Honours)

All graduation ceremonies will be held in the Whitebrook Theatre (Y Block) at the Lismore campus.

Friday 9 December 2016

10.00 am ceremony
• School of Health and Human Sciences (excluding Bachelor of Nursing)
• School of Arts and Social Sciences
• Occasional Address: Professor Ross Bailie, Director, University Centre for Rural Health

1.00 pm ceremony
• School of Health and Human Sciences (Bachelor of Nursing)
• School of Law and Justice
• SCU College
• Occasional Address: Dr Ray Moynihan Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Research in Evidence Based Practice, Bond University

Saturday 10 December 2016

10.00 am ceremony
• School of Education
• School of Environment, Science and Engineering
• Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples
• Occasional Address: Robyn Williams AM, Science Presenter, Journalist and Author

1.00 pm ceremony
• School of Business and Tourism
• Occasional Address: Professor Geraldine Mackenzie, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Southern Cross University

Photo: Lisa Hansberry (left) and classmate Corelle Forster won the coveted BHP Billiton Award at the 2013 Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Design Challenge National Showcase.

Media contact: Sharlene King media officer, Southern Cross University, 02 6620 3508 or 0429 661 349.