2018 Student Awards celebrate aspiration and achievement

Published 29 October 2018
Professor Adam Shoemaker and Benjamin Wild VC Professor Adam Shoemaker with Leadership Award recipient Benjamin Wilde

From the conservation of sea turtles in a remote region of Sumatra, an art installation featuring thousands of poppies to honour Queensland military service, to student leadership spanning study, health, counselling and collaboration, Southern Cross University's 2018 Student Awards demonstrate a breadth of aspiration and achievement.

These annual awards celebrate success outside the academic realm in areas such as leadership, sport, mentoring, sustainability and community engagement. This year's event was made more special for being the 10th anniversary of the inaugural Student Awards in 2008.

Recipient of the Leadership Award at that first ceremony, Mr Craig Miller, returned for 2018 and spoke glowingly of his student experience.

"It takes courage and strength to be a true leader; and to work for others rather than merely for oneself. I always felt that sense of commitment was very strong here at Southern Cross," said Mr Miller, who graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science in 2008 and now runs his own holistic healing business at Palm Beach.

"It felt important to be a part of this University and to take the lessons of leadership and guidance learned here into life beyond the campus."

Mr Miller presented 4th Year Bachelor of Occupational Therapy student, Benjamin Wild, with the 2018 Leadership Award.

Originally from the rural NSW town of Warren, more than 900km from the Gold Coast, Ben came to Southern Cross University after being awarded a scholarship through Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health.

"I would not be here without the support of that scholarship. My father once gave me a piece of advice that went 'Leave things better than you found them'. That is my aim here and in life."

He is certainly living up to that intention. President of the Occupational Therapy Student Alliance from October 2016 to July this year, Ben has also served as a UniMentor since 2016 and supported year groups through their cohort group pages. He has also volunteered, organised and led annual O-Week Welcome Sessions, and presented an orientation and information session to 3rd Year OT students before their Rural-Regional-Remote placements.

Furthermore, Ben has fostered collaborations with other student clubs, and assisted students towards receiving academic and mental health support if required.

In other awards, 4th Year Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons) student, Mathew Alexanderson, received the Environmental Champion Award.

Initially working on the remote island of Palau Banyak, off the north-west coast of Sumatra, Mathew engaged with local businesses and community leaders to talk about the conservation of sea turtles and other fauna. Along with developing a volunteer program to monitor key habitats and raise funds for ongoing protection and sustainability, he also developed an ecotourism program that is providing an alternative income stream for locals.

To make all this possible, Mathew had to live in a remote community, learn a new language and overcome illness, isolation and other challenges. However, the result is an important environmental project for the region, and an invaluable learning and engagement opportunity for Southern Cross University students.

Third-year Bachelor of Business (Convention and Events Management) student Lauren Floyd won the Community Champion Award for her contribution to the Queensland Government's Armistice Centenary Public Art Project. The project will collect more than 57,000 poppies from throughout the state to remember the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women.

Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Adam Shoemaker, congratulated all award nominees and recipients.

"We're in a special place, a special time and in a special position here at Southern Cross University," he said. "These awards are all about celebrating our University for being different, for being so inclusive, for being informal and yet also respectful."

The 2018 Southern Cross University Student Award winners are:


Sports Team of the Year:

Southern Cross University Surfing Team


Contribution to Campus:

Southern Cross University Midwifery Club


Environmental Champion:

Mathew Alexanderson, Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)


Sports Blues:

Brittani Nicholl, Bachelor of Media and Digital Communications (surfing)

Neesa Doyle, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education (football);

Eleka Moore, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education (golf)

Tiffany Paul, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education (golf)

Lauren Linton, Bachelor of Psychological Science (rugby 7s)

Moesha Johnson, Bachelor of Biomedical Science (swimming)

Sophie Curnow, Bachelor of Nursing (distance running)


Community Champion:

Lauren Floyd, Bachelor of Business (Convention and Events Management)


UniMentor Award:
Song Zhang, Bachelor of Business


Sportsperson of the Year:

Joint winners: Jordan Ivey, Bachelor of Marine Science, and

Jennifer Crowhurst, Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science


Leadership Award:

Benjamin Wild, Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Media contact: Jessica Nelson 0417288794 or scumedia@scu.edu.au