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Southern Cross University students shine in virtual awards ceremony


Media team
27 November 2020
Zoe Bertuzzi News image
Student award winner Zoe Bertuzzi

While classes may have gone online in 2020, Southern Cross University students were as community-minded and dedicated as ever, with stand-out students being honoured in a virtual ceremony.

Fifteen students were awarded at the ceremony, with Zoe Bertuzzi saying she was ‘deeply honoured’ to be named Southern Cross University’s student of the year.

As a recent graduate from Southern Cross University’s Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science double degree, Zoe worked tirelessly in her role as sports ambassador to new students both in person and over zoom, and was influential in the development of several representative and social sports teams and assisting in coordinating ‘Intercampus Clash’ sports events between the University’s Gold Coast, Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses.

She played an essential role in Southern Cross University’s six-a-side soccer program, developing the university women's representative sporting teams, and was a co-manager of the Southern Cross University’s Unisport Australia women's Football and Futsal teams in 2018 and 2019. This culminated with Southern Cross winning the National University Championship for futsal in 2019.

Southern Cross University Sport, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator Dave Graham said as a sports ambassador Zoe had welcomed hundreds of new students to Southern Cross and this year contributed as a panellist on the Unilife ‘Talking Sport’ online session to share her university experiences and let new students know of the opportunities and benefits that exist through being involved with the university sports program.

Meanwhile Southern Cross University law lecturer Emma Babbage described Zoe as an ‘exemplar of a law student’ for her role as sole Student Facilitator in the Criminal Process Intensive unit taught to high school students over two consecutive weekends in February 2020 at the Gold Coast campus.

“This was the third time I’d asked Zoe to be involved. Zoe provided a shining light for prospective law students about what it means to study law by teaching and mentoring those students through applied coursework in an Intensive unit. Her professionalism and acute ability to connect with and engage a group of 30 high school students was incredible.”  

Zoe said she was not expecting to be named Student of the Year, but thanked all of her colleagues and friends at the University who helped in every endeavour.

“I feel deeply honoured, but it’s crazy considering all the other nominees and winners and the standard of what they’ve been up to, I was not expecting it at all,” she said.

“I’ve immensely enjoyed my time at Southern Cross, with all the incredible people, playing social sport and meeting international students was a highlight and going on the snow tour was a lot of fun too. I really appreciated the innovative interactive teaching and supportive staff, especially all their support and expertise when we transitioned to online learning this year.”

Zoe decided to study her double degree in Laws and Sport Science at Southern Cross University five years ago, to combine her two strongest passions in defence both on and off the field, as an avid soccer player and aspiring criminal lawyer.

She is now studying her graduate diploma in legal practice to work as a solicitor, and enjoys the intellectual challenge and stimulation of working in law while being able to help the community and have a meaningful impact on society, while also staying fit and healthy.

“I want to practise criminal law, to help in reforming the incarceration system, then eventually I’d love to do a PhD around mental health and the law, specifically regarding the high number of lawyers who struggle with depression and possible strategies, using my background in sports and exercise science.”

Southern Cross University’s Student Excellence Awards recognise outstanding students who have distinguished themselves in areas such as leadership, sport, volunteering or community engagement. 

Other recipients of Student Excellence awards included Zackary Marceau (Sports Blue Recipient), Courtney Osborne, Emanuel Limbongan, Hunter Mircev-Cox, Joshua Cotton, Kaarin Goeldner, Ken Dinh, Larissa Jordan, Mahmudur Rahman, Meisha Grant, Nicolas Colbrelli- Adams, Rhiannon Mitchell, Snowy (Zachariah) Frankland and Tyrone Orr.

This year the awards were presented as part of Southern Cross University’s Connect Quest Big Meet Up Online Party.