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Southern Cross University congratulates first graduates of popular program


Jessica Nelson
27 November 2018

The first graduates of Southern Cross University’s combined Master of Engineering Management and Business Administration will be among hundreds of graduands from around the world receiving their awards at Lismore campus on Friday

Indian students George Mattamana and Sebi Abi are the first to complete the popular combined two-year masters degree, a year earlier than their peers, after transitioning from their MBA studies into a combined mode at the Gold Coast campus a year ago. In the next two years more than 300 international students will graduate from the unique degree.

George said the degree equips engineers with skills in strategic infrastructure asset management, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, project management and leadership. He has applied to conduct PhD research next year in risk and resilience engineering in the renewable energy sector, and Sebi has applied to conduct PhD research into quality assurance and resilience engineering in aerospace industry.

“One of the reasons I studied this course is because I want to help the engineering projects to be environmentally friendly and ensure the sustainability of projects. One of the valuable things I’ve learned is how to maximise the utilisation of an asset and reduce the wastage,” said George who previously studied engineering in electronics.

“All of our tutors are industry experts in their different fields and taught us about how each industry measures outcomes and targets related to the environment and the well-being of citizens. The international student support staff and MEM/MBA Course Coordinator Dr Jeremy Novak and his team have been amazing and supportive, as studying here is very different to back home.”

Meanwhile 89-year-old Master of Science by Research recipient Robert ‘Bob’ Newman has travelled from his home in Canberra for his momentous graduation in Lismore.

Bob studied the equivalent on an honours degree back in the 1950s, and spent more than 50 years working at his career in forestry management before returning to study.

His supervisor Professor Jerry Vanclay, who is the Head of School of Environment, Science and Engineering at Southern Cross University, also became one of his biggest supporters and friends.

“I have my own ideas about forest management which have helped inform my research, I have seen firsthand how much the policy schemes have changed in the last 50 years,” Bob said, who hasn’t let his age hold him back from achieving his research dream.

“My masters is about the ways government can encourage people to have timber plantations using long-term incentives.”

Six PhD recipients and four Masters of Science by research will also be presented across the three graduation ceremonies, with Pamela Kamya from Papua New Guinea receiving a prestigious Chancellor’s Medal for her PhD titled ‘The Thorny Problem in a Changing Ocean: Responses of the Coral Eating Crown of Thorns Starfish (COTS) to Ocean Warming and Acidification, and the Implications for Coral Reefs’.