11th annual Student Awards showcase student achievements

Published 7 November 2019
A team of female futsal players The undefeated Women's Futsal Team

If you think some of your fellow students are truly amazing human beings, you’re right! The proof was there in abundance last night as we celebrated the achievements of our outstanding students at the 11th annual Southern Cross University Student Awards.

A student leans against an office window
Sherwin Latosa picked up two awards

Among the award recipients was first-year Bachelor of Marine Science Management student Stef Dwyer, who was recognised with the Environmental Champion Award. Stef lives in Fiji with his family, where the 'plastic soup' at his local surf break is a regular occurrence. He was keen to identify any opportunity to address this issue and focused his studies for one unit on marine plastics.

Stef came up with the idea of making surfboard fins out of recycled plastic and connected with Five Oceans fins, guest lecturers for Global Environmental Issues unit, who have created the technology to turn waste plastics into surfboard fins (the EcoFin).

He has collected plastic rubbish around the Suva municipality and coastline, working with the local university to identify the exact composition of the lids for future recycling opportunities. Stef hopes that this will provide a good stock source for Five Oceans and an opportunity to procure a shredding machine grant for some local Fijians.

Our awesome athletes were again recognised for their performance on the national and international stage. Sports Team of the Year went to the undefeated SCU Women’s Futsal Team, fresh from their victory at the 2019 Unisports National Championship with Sports Blues Awards picked up by Danielle McKenzie (ocean ski racing), Isaiah Koopsman (triathlon) and Bryce Watson (surfing).

The prestigious Sportsperson of the Year award went to joint winners Moesha Johnson and Britt Hargreaves. Bachelor of Biomedical Science student Moesha represented the University and Australia as part of the Uniroos team at the FISU 2019 Summer Universidad in Napoli, Italy, where she won a silver medal in the 1500m freestyle. Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education student Britt has played in futsal teams at the national and international level, an integral part of the SCU women’s team that won the 2019  Division 1 UniSport National Championship.

Contemporary Music student Tom Mwanza will be a familiar face to many thanks to his numerous performances on campus and starring roles in campus videos. He was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the arts in song writing and performance.

PhD candidate Sally Gregory and Bachelor of Psychological Science student Dee Dier Cozette Siers picked up the Campus Contribution award for their outstanding contribution to campus life and 880 hours of voluntary work with student clubs. Since 2015 they have given free ukulele lessons at the Gold Coast campus for two hours a week, providing access to the magical stress-busting powers of music. In 2016 they founded the SCU EnvironMentals club, instigating recycling and litter strategies such as litter clean-ups and subsidised steel straws and keep cups to thousands of students.

A double accolade went to Master of Social Work (Qualifying Program) student Sherwin Latosa, who picked up both the Community Champion and the Leadership award for his outstanding work.

As one of the Mayor’s Student Ambassadors of the Gold Coast, Sherwin co-founded a student-led initiative called Student Opportunities for Impact – SOFI, focusing on connecting students in the humanitarian field with placement and internship opportunities. He was chosen to represent Study Gold Coast and Southern Cross University at this year’s International Student Leadership Forum 2019.  

"Sherwin has always portrayed himself as strong team player, listening carefully and respectfully to fellow students' opinions and is respected by all 2019 Mayor’s Student Ambassadors because of this attribute," said Carina Cirjan, Student Engagement Coordinator, Study Gold Coast.

Also recognised for her spirit of collaboration and generosity was Bachelor of Laws student Jayne Tayler. Jayne was recognised with the UniMentor Award of the Year Award for her work as a UniMentor to more than eight mentees this year, going above and beyond to support new students who are grappling with their studies, and particularly with online study tools.

Congratulations to all our fantastic Student Award winners!

Media contact: Dave Graham (sport awards) or Ann-Maree Wilkinson (student life awards) 0419 795 270 (Dave) or 0419 410 521 (Ann-Maree)