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Graduates to boost regional research powerhouse

Doctor of Philosophy graduate Lyndsay Sealey in academic robes


Cloe Jager
3 October 2023

Southern Cross University is continuing to deliver regional research with global impact following the graduation of 24 Higher Degree Research (HDR) students at the Northern Rivers campus last month.

The event saw the conferral of 17 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, one Doctor of Indigenous Philosophies, 3 Master of Science, 2 Master of Engineering and a Master of Business.

The graduates’ theses explored diverse topics including optimising SMART drumlines; the law and wellbeing at work; relational anarchy in art; cultural safety in the classroom; the use of drone mapping to reveal aquatic environmental change; and isoprene emissions from coastal benthic habitats.

The prestigious Chancellor’s Medal was awarded to Doctor of Philosophy graduate Lyndsay Sealey. Her research focused on the challenges and solutions for composing works for choirs with linguistic diversity in the Northern Territory, as well as teenage girls going through adolescent vocal changes.

“The Northern Territory is very multicultural. In my trial group of 20 kids we had up to 16 nationalities represented. The chances of them pronouncing a word the same way is zero. I tried to find vowels that were common across the languages and tracked the progress of my trial choir using spectrograms which shows where in the mouth each vowel that you sing originates and gives it a numerical value. I tracked each of the students to see how long it took them to get an exact pronunciation," Dr Sealey said.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Academic Quality) Professor Mary Spongberg congratulated the graduands on their outstanding achievement.

“It is inspiring to see so many higher degree researchers graduate at our Northern Rivers campus,” Professor Spongberg said.

“From the influences of legal frameworks domestically and abroad to renewable energy resources and the chemistry of Australian Tee Tree, our graduates are producing research of local and global importance.”

“It is inspiring to see so many higher degree researchers graduate at our Northern Rivers campus...our graduates are producing research of local and global importance.”

Professor Mary Spongberg

The University is fostering transformative research through the development of four future-focussed research impact clusters addressing areas of environmental need: Harvest to Health; ZeroWaste; Reefs and Oceans; and Catchments, Coasts and Communities.

The clusters represent a targeted approach to creating a safer and more sustainable world through the optimisation of projects, facilities, resources and multidisciplinary relationships.

This transformative research saw Southern Cross rise in the ranks in the latest Times Higher Education World University rankings for 2024, with the University rising 76 places in the Research quality category, where it now sits at 667 globally.

Southern Cross was rated 5-stars for postgraduate skills development, student support, teaching quality and full-time employment in the Good Universities Guide 2024.

“We are a research powerhouse and this is reinforced through our strong rankings,” Professor Spongberg said. “My goal is to foster a collaborative and supportive environment for students to build their skills and empower them to develop impactful research.”

Learn more about studying a Higher Degree Research course.


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