Our graduates are the best examples of where a Southern Cross degree can take you

Choosing a university degree is a moment you’ll always remember. It might be the start of a study journey and a career you had not even imagined. It might be where you meet ideas and people who will take your life in a completely new and exciting direction. 

But don’t listen to us. Listen to the people who have already been there.

 

Arts and Humanities

Production Assistant/Runner

Emily Page | Bachelor of Media

Media graduate Emily Page completed her degree in Lismore and says the Northern Rivers region – that has one of the highest concentrations of media professionals in the country – is a fertile ground to begin a career in media.

“Before moving here, I never realised there were so many creative people in one area,” she says. As part of her studies, Emily completed a training program with the 2018 Commonwealth Games broadcaster and took advantage of numerous opportunities offered through Northern Rivers industry association and University partner Screenworks. “The opportunities included a paid internship as Production Office Attachment and Runner on Deadlock, a web drama series which screened on the ABC. “This experience helped me bridge the gap between being a student filmaker to a professional.”

Woman in front of mixing desk

Content producer at triple j

Nick Gerber | Bachelor of Media

Southern Cross media graduate Nick Gerber fell in love with radio when he was a student. “One of our assignments was listening to different programs and trying to work out how they were put together technically and that just really turned me on to radio and particularly Triple J – to work there became my dream,” he says.

It was a dream he pursued relentlessly, until he was offered a junior producer position at Triple J. Since then, he has worked on the Hottest 100, the Like a Version segment, as a lead producer on Breakfast with Ben and Liam and even live broadcasting from Splendour in the Grass.

Nick now works as a producer across the Drive and Breakfast programs on Triple J, also filtering callers and lining up talent for Dr Karl’s popular science program on ABC radio. “I’d say the most important personal characteristics for a successful career in media are resilience and passion. There are no jobs for life anymore, especially in media, and you have to be ready to adapt."

Digital media graduate Nick Gerber with Triple J logo

Business

Project Lead Product and Service Design at Feros Care

Layla Buckley | Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Laws

Layla co-leads three pilot projects at Feros Care, aimed at assisting seniors to remain independent at home longer, to manage their chronic conditions, and to stay connected with the community.

“I love driving positive change and working towards embedding technology in people-care services. Nothing can fully prepare you for the reality of your career, but studying business and putting my learning into practice at Feros Care really solidified my career,” says Layla.

“I’m very proud of my university! I recommend it to everyone. I love that Southern Cross stands for its community, and openly supports and encourages diversity and inclusion... and the focus on the environment. It’s a very forward thinking university!”

Layla and her colleagues were finalists at the 2019 Social Media Marketing Awards, read about their Fearless Films project.

Woman in black top standing outside building

Senior accountant at KPMG Australia

Lisa Mizeko | Bachelor of Business | Bachelor of Laws

Lisa Mizeko completed study tours and exchanges to the top financial centres in Asia including Hong Kong, Singapore and China as part of a double degree in law and business. The breadth of her international experience has proved invaluable to her current role as an external auditor with multinational firm KPMG. 

“In Singapore, I was amazed to see how so many cultures lived together and were very aware of each other. It really changed the way I viewed the world,” she says.

Although she is currently pursuing a career as a chartered accountant, Lisa says that law is closely related to her work in auditing and reporting. “Law taught me how to think critically. I may not be working as a lawyer but my law studies definitely inform my thinking.”

Read more about a double degree in Business and Law

Video Transcript

I've always found business and law really interesting. I wanted to understand how businesses work and what makes the economy tick, so I think those two degrees went hand-in-hand and made sense to me.

My name is Lisa Mizeko and I'm an external auditor at KPMG. In my year twelve my career advisor told me about Southern Cross University and how they had the STAR early entry program, which meant before sitting my final exam I knew I had a place and I thought that was great.

I found the lecturers at Southern Cross pretty, I suppose, they were people if that makes sense. I was able to approach them when I had questions.

They gave me the confidence and the knowledge and understanding that I needed to know what my opportunities were and what I needed to do to be successful. I was lucky enough to go to China Singapore and Hong Kong through Southern Cross University.

Two of those were study tours and the other one was an exchange program where I got to study for six months. Those experiences gave me the confidence to be able to know what I wanted to do and gave me the experiences that I need to be able to do my job today.

I would really recommend students to take the opportunities to go overseas simply because you learn so much, you make so many new friends, and those are experiences which you'll treasure forever.

I finished my undergraduate last year and within the nine months since finishing I've had so much experience. I feel like Southern Cross definitely gave me the skills the knowledge and the level of thinking that I need to actually do my job effectively.

I'm excited to see where the experiences from Southern Cross will take me and I think I've got a bright future ahead and I'm excited to seize the opportunities.

Managing director at Humanihut

Neale Sutton | Master of Professional Management

Alumnus of the Year 2019

Neale is the managing director of Humanihut, providing lightweight, robust emergency shelters for international humanitarian and other purposes.

Neale co-founded Humanihut in 2013, after being deployed as a Military Observer to the UN Transitional Authority in East Timor where he controlled the repatriation of refugees from West to East Timor. Pictured is Neale (left) with Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker.

“The skills I developed completing my Masters at Southern Cross continue to provide the framework I apply to my professional endeavours and has shaped many of my decisions and solutions to the commercial challenges I face as an entrepreneur,” Neale said. Read more about the global impact Neale Sutton is creating with Humanihut.

Neale Sutton

Head of program design and delivery at Slingshot

Bella Zanesco | Bachelor of Business

Vice Chancellor’s Award 2018

After what Bella calls a spectacular corporate career burnout, she reinvented herself as a wellbeing and transformation consultant to major corporations while penning a bestselling book about life and career fulfilment, Smart Girls Screw Up Too: the no-nonsense guide to creating the life you want.

She delivers a wellbeing course called Inspired Reset, aimed at assisting female executives to avoid the same career and health burnout she experienced, and works as a life and career coach.

Bella has delivered $5 billion in new revenues to forward-thinking companies, was labelled ‘the best high-performance coach we’ve engaged’ by Google and donates 10 per cent of her time to support young girls to find their upside in Kenya’s Kibera slum. Read more about Bella Zanesco's inspiring story.

Business graduate and Vice Chancellor’s Award winner 2018

Election Commissioner of India

Ashok Lavasa | Master of Business Administration

Ashok is currently the appointed Election Commissioner of India, having served, over a 37-year career, as India’s Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and Secretary of Civil Aviation.

As Environment Secretary, Ashok led India’s official team to negotiate the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as well as the Montreal Protocol and the Conventions on Biodiversity and Desertification.

As one of the country’s three election commissioners, Ashok oversaw the push for greater electoral participation in the Indian general election in May 2019, which resulted in unprecedented numbers of women, people with disabilities and transgender voters. Read more about Ashok Lavasa’s remarkable career.

Election Commissioner of India Ashok Lavasa

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Digital Media and Information Technology

Scrum Master at Cupid Media

Jennifer Doherty | Bachelor of Information Technology

Jennifer had never really thought of herself as a technical person, but after years of working in administrative roles she decided to retrain in IT.

Her role as Scrum Master at Cupid Media, an international online dating company, is multifaceted. It includes facilitating ‘scrum’ ceremonies for planning and process review across the organisation, demos for major IT projects, business analysis, data collection and analysis, and researching emerging technologies.

“I studied my IT degree online and fast tracked it by taking advantage of the University’s three-session academic calendar,” says Jennifer.

“As a mature student and also a woman studying IT, I was always working to prove to myself that I belonged, but the support I received at Southern Cross really helped to make me feel welcome,” says Jennifer about the Women in Technology program that provides dedicated support for women entering this industry.

Woman with striped love heart

Education

Primary school teacher at Kororo Public School

Nathan Portelli | Bachelor of Arts | Bachelor of Education (Primary)

The word 'champion' might make Nathan Portelli blush, yet the Southern Cross Education graduate is no ordinary footballer.

Nathan has played semi-professional football and represented Southern Cross in the Queensland Universities Rugby League team.

Now, his passion is teaching at Kororo Public School on the Coffs Harbour coast, a highlight of which is helping students build a robot and compete with school children worldwide in Australia’s FIRST LEGO League.

“Footballers can be nerds too!” jokes Nathan. “There’s nothing better than turning a child’s average day into an amazing day with just a few little comments. That’s so powerful.”

Video Transcript

Teaching is my passion. Every day I come to this job I understand the importance.

You can't take that lightly, you need to really respect it and that's why I try to give everything I have in each day to these kids.

My name is Nathan Portelli and I'm a Southern Cross University Educational graduate.

After I finished year 12 I had a great opportunity with a feeder team for the Gold Coast Titans. Part of the requirement was that I was either working a certain amount of hours or studying full-time.

I was thrown into a job working with children 1 to 6-years-old and I instantly enjoyed that so I started studying at the preparing for Success Program through Southern Cross which then led into starting studying full-time.

If I look back at my time at Southern Cross I'm very thankful to the staff. They're real people, they do the whole professional aspect really well but they also take the time to get to know you.

They supported me by allowing me to study online, particularly with the Summer School that's offered for those that are willing, they can continue their study over summer.

That flexibility is really a great thing. Through Southern Cross I was awarded a scholarship to go and teach in Vietnam for three weeks, it was an amazing experience. Being an educational professional it was really refreshing visiting a country where education is just valued so highly.

I've now been teaching nearly three years at core public school. I do come every day and I want to learn and I grow and I want to get better at what I'm doing. It's one of those professions that the more you give the more you get back and the more you feel a sense of achievement.

You can turn a kid's day from being an average day to a really great day with just a few little comments.

And I think that is so powerful.

Mathematics teacher at South Grafton High School

Holly Millican | Bachelor of Arts | Bachelor of Education (Primary/Secondary)

Alumnus of the Year 2019

If it takes becoming a rising YouTube star to get students interested in maths, Holly Millican isn’t afraid.

“Maths doesn’t need to feel like an ominous hour-long period that students dread,” says Holly.

The Southern Cross Education and Arts graduate, currently completing a Master of Education, teaches at South Grafton High School.

Her first video, showing some of the ingenious ways she makes maths fun won a prestigious state prize that gave her the opportunity to work with the maths teacher and YouTube personality, Eddie Woo.

It also kickstarted her emerging YouTube channel inspiring other maths teachers.

Woman wearing glasses

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Engineering

Project engineer at Ardill Payne & Partners

Lisa Hansberry | Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering

From yoga instructor to the worlds of engineering and construction, Lisa Hansberry’s two careers are more similar than most would think.

“With engineering, we’re working with different materials to create effective and harmonious objects and structures for our cities and those who live in them,” says Lisa, who is a Project Engineer at Ardill, Payne & Partners, founding president of the Southern Cross University Engineering Society, president of the Northern Rivers Group of the Engineers Australia, Newcastle Division, and Newcastle Division Committee Member.

“Similarly, yoga is all about connection. And in both careers, each day provides something interesting to work on, and people to collaborate with."

Smiling woman

Environmental engineer at ENV Solutions

Jake Rozyn | Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering

“Leave this world in a better state than I found it,” is Jake Rozyn’s life mantra, and as the Co-Director and Environmental Engineer with ENV Solutions in Ballina, Jake and his team are working on just that.

Jake is an expert in waste management, which may not sound glamorous, but developing solutions to real world problems is.

“The world is currently at a tipping point,” Jake says. The Engineering graduate specialises in sustainable methods of reusing the many materials humans discard daily.

“Engineering students can be at the forefront of ensuring the planet is in good shape for their generation and future generations.”

Engineering student Jake Rozyn

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Health Sciences

Nurse and Midwife at Tweed Hospital

Ashleigh Woods | Bachelor of Nursing

From an early age, Ashleigh knew she wanted to be a nurse and a midwife; since graduating her career is going from strength to strength.

Now accredited in Advanced Life Support, Ashleigh works in the resuscitation room of The Tweed Hospital’s Emergency Department; and on a casual basis as a midwife at the hospital’s Women’s Care Unit providing care to women before and after giving birth.

Ashleigh says she entered the hospital workplace with confidence thanks to the lab classes at Southern Cross, practising skills in a setting that was safe and where she could ask lots of questions.

“I was always amazed by how realistic the scenarios were, using the simulation dolls and other equipment. There was pretty much no equipment I was unfamiliar with by the time I entered the clinical setting.” says Ashleigh. Read more about Ashleigh’s experience studying nursing.

Nurse in clinical setting

Director and occupational therapist at Empowered Kids

Kristy Harris | Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s to think outside the square,” says Kristy Harris, founder of Empowered Kids, who pursued her Southern Cross Bachelor of Occupational Therapy as a mother of two girls – a number that became three while she was a full-time student.

“I’ve seen something I’m passionate in and I’ve pursued it and through that, I’ve connected with my own kids as well as my business helping kids,” Kristy says.

“To see a child who has significant challenges work really, really hard and overcome them and pursue a bright future, that’s what excites me.”

Video Transcript

There's been children that I've been seeing for five years. Watching their progress in the development that they've made is incredible and I think that drives us.

Just those little wins every day and they all add together to really great outcomes.

My name is Kristy Harris and I'm a pediatric occupational therapist and I'm a director of Empowered Kids. I'm also a mum to three girls.

I was working as an employment consultant and decided that I wanted to do something a little bit different. Southern Cross was advertising for a new degree called occupational therapy and I thought it sounded very much like something that aligned with what I've believed in and what I was looking for.

At the time I had two children at that point so to leave a full-time job and uproot the family and move out of the area to go to uni, it was a big decision.

The first lecture on the first day I really knew that I was in the right place and occupational therapy was for me and there was quite a mix of people that were really passionate.

I just settled in really quickly. I found the class sizes to be great and every single lecturer was so impassioned about occupational therapy that they really wanted to bring us along on the journey as well.

At the end of third year my husband and I had our third baby. The university was really great with finding placements for me that weren't too far away from home and I was able to take my youngest daughter to uni with me.

The support while I had young children was amazing. So since graduating from Southern Cross University I started a business called Empowered Kids.

Being able to watch a child that has significant challenges work really really hard and overcome them and you can see them having really bright futures I think that's what I'm excited about.

My business is called empowered kids but I empower my own kids as well because I've seen something that I've been passionate in and I've pursued it and I just want my children to be able to see that as well and I'm very proud of myself and what I've done.

Head strength and conditioning coach at All Blacks

Dr Nic Gill | PhD Exercise Physiology

The secret to Dr Nic Gill’s success is… “stick to the basics.” His career, however is anything but.

'Gilly', as he’s known, has been the head strength and conditioning coach for New Zealand’s All Blacks for “a wee while” of 11 years, and when he’s not training a team of grown men on the world’s playing fields, he’s competing in Ironman Australia events, lecturing as the Associate Professor of Human Performance at the University of Waikato or spending time among his family’s avocado orchard – growing avocados and kiwifruit are his 'basic' passions.

“Stick to the basics and do them better than anyone else is doing,” Gilly says.

Rugby strength and conditioning coach

Osteopath at Newcastle Osteopathy

Bec Woods | Bachelor of Clinical Science | Master of Osteopathic Medicine

For Bec Woods, 'The Glow' — that little voice that says, there, that’s it, that’s why you’re here — once came when surfing, which she did competitively for nine years on the World Tour.

She attributes her enduring career to an osteopath who helped her through a potential career-ending injury early on. This led her to osteopathy at Southern Cross University.

“It’s amazing to have knowledge and techniques that can help transform the lives of people who live with pain,” she says, now in her first year at a Newcastle Osteopathy practice and getting the glow every time a patient meets their healing goals.

Woman with surboard on beach

Rehabilitation coach at Brisbane Broncos

Blake Duncan | Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science

When Blake Duncan knew he would not make it as a young rugby player, he chose the next best thing: training elite athletes.

“I think I’ve got the best job in the world,” says Blake, now the Rehab Strengthening and Conditioning Coach of the Brisbane Broncos.

“For me, it’s the pinnacle of sport and that’s exciting. The challenge is making sure that everything I do is 100% because I’m working with athletes who need to be at their best.”

It’s a dream career, making his beloved sport his life. And, he confesses, “I don’t miss waking up sore on Mondays!”

Rugby league rehabilitation coach

Emergency room nurse at Queensland Health

Katie East | Bachelor of Nursing

The sun has barely risen most days before Katie East hits the road to one of her many roles – as a nurse practitioner candidate at Brisbane’s Redlands Emergency Department, a clinical nurse at Gold Coast Emergency Department and as an emergency nurse at Southport Watchhouse treating prisoners in custody.

Before leaving, she walks the dog and may even surf. “Work-life balance is important,” says Katie, for on top of all that, she holds several roles within the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia and travels around Australia teaching trauma to nurses.

“Nursing has given me the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I wake up every morning excited.”

Woman in medical room

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Indigenous Knowledge

Family preservation worker at Family Support Network

Tennyson Strong | Bachelor of Indigenous Studies

A love of history and a fascination with leaders who had orchestrated world-changing events, coupled with a desire to know more about the history of his own people, made the Bachelor of Indigenous Studies a natural academic choice for Tennyson Strong.

The Southern Cross graduate says the degree offered diverse career opportunities both during and after his studies. “The door was wide open to go into child protection, out-of-home care, family support, education, paralegal work and business studies.”

Not all families are able to access information to solve problems so I bring the knowledge to the home. I help build parenting capacity and I work with the children to meet their milestones – whether they are educational, medical, social or emotional. It’s very satisfying work. I’m doing something different every single day.”

Read more about Tennyson and where he is taking his career.

Indigenous Studies graduate Tennyson Strong

Law

Solicitor at Rae & Partners Lawyers

Johanna Byrne | Bachelor of Laws

Johanna Byrne knows love. Once a florist – a career of passion and empathy – Johanna experienced the sudden loss of her husband in 2014, leaving her a single mother to seven children.

Amid it all, she left floristry and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 2017, quickly becoming an essential figure in the Australian legal system.

After working roles in Legal Aid then corporate law, Johanna was appointed the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights’ State Convenor for Tasmania and the National Indigenous co-chair. “Law is a people profession,” says Johanna.

“I can help people in a different way than what I was doing with flowers.” 

Read more about Johanna and her legal career.

Video Transcript

Justice fails in a lot of ways. There's always you know people they have a good case but no one can manage to do anything for them.

I want to be in the position that I can do pro bono work for people who cannot access justice.

My name is Johanna Byrne and I'm a Southern Cross University Law graduate.

I was working as a florist and I decided that I wanted to do something a bit more with my life.

I hadn't studied since like 1982 or something you know so it was a big step to go back to university.

I had a setback at the end of my first session. My husband passed away so then I was left single mother with seven children and the university gave me lecturers to help me.

They had other students contact me as well. So they put all these networks and support in place so that I can continue to get through.

All the lectures are recorded so I could listen to them in the car so gives you that flexibility to study when you want.

I won the National Indigenous Law Student of the Year in 2016. I was a bit humbled and shocked that I'd actually been nominated and won it.

I was offered a graduate job six months before I'd finished and had a contract signed so I've started work three days after I finished.

In 10 years I want to have my own chambers and be practicing at the bar and doing more social justice and sort of pro bono work but have a good work-life balance with the kids.

When I started studying there's no way in my wildest dreams I thought I would ever be where I was today.

You hear stories all the time that you know you're not going to get a job in law because you're a mature age student who studied online and so I proved them all wrong I guess.

Solicitor at Kay & Hughes Art & Entertainment Lawyers

Thomas Lynch | Bachelor of Contemporary Music | Bachelor of Laws

Thomas – Tom – Lynch is the sort of rock star you’d want to end up in the courtroom with.

The passionate yet humble drummer and self-confessed ‘garage producer’ is a solicitor with Kay & Hughes Entertainment Lawyers in Sydney.

He spends his days helping artists of all kinds navigate the colourful life of being a creative who makes a living.

“Law touches every aspect of our lives and I love helping to arm artists with the tools they need to be sure that their work is valued and protected,” says Tom. In his ‘spare’ time, Tom now lectures in Media Law at the Australian Institute of Music.

Man leaning against window

Special counsel at Susan Moriarty & Associates

Benedict Coyne | Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

Benedict Coyne’s thriving career is inspired by a dedication to human rights, and environmental and social justice. “Law is a fascinating, complex and multifaceted profession,” Coyne says.

“There are many opportunities to stand up and help to protect the lives of the vulnerable, from marginalised and powerless peoples to threatened ecosystems.”

Benedict recently served as National President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, after graduating in 2016 with Distinction from a Master of Studies in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, UK, building on his Bachelor of Laws from Southern Cross, from which he graduated with Honours, the University Medal and other academic awards.

Man at lectern speaking

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Music and Creative Arts

Musician and promoter

Kate Stroud | Bachelor of Contemporary Music

If there’s one bit of advice Kate Stroud would give a music student, it would be this: when opportunity comes knocking, open the door, invite it in, make it a cup of tea and make it feel really welcome!

“The course opened so many doors for me. I had the chance to intern at major events, connect with industry partners, who subsequently employed me, play in bands and organise live music events,” she said.

During her degree, Kate – who also sings, plays guitar and runs live sound – organised live music events on the roof of her apartment building. That led her to open a live music lounge in Lismore, before she partnered with Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA), managing events and coordinating artists. She now collaborates with a host of local organisations on projects that range from community festivals to live performance and still finds time to do a bit of songwriting and performing on the side.

Woman sitting in chair playing a guitar

Motion graphic designer at Projection Teknik

Rose Staff | Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours

Rose Staff’s installations are a gorgeous visual feast of light and movement that have featured in some of the most well-known festivals and contemporary galleries around the country and internationally – from Vivid in Sydney to the UK’s Glastonbury Festival and Athens Digital Art Festival in Greece, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal and The Australian Centre of the Moving Image based in Melbourne.

Rose says the visual arts training she experienced at Southern Cross was critical to establishing her practice, which became the bedrock for her career.

“Creative thinking was a very strong element in the course, the technical stuff I picked up later but being able to think about WHY you are doing something is very important…the rewards for persevering and establishing your practice are there,” she says.

Visual Arts graduate Rose Staff

Science and Environment

Researcher at University Centre for Rural Health, Lismore

Maddy Braddon | Bachelor of Environmental Science/Bachelor of Marine Science and Management

Maddy Braddon is a born campaigner. From flood recovery to renewable energy, the environmental science graduate has worked with grass-roots programs such as Lock the Gate and Lismore Helping Hands, before landing her current job as a researcher looking at mental health and wellbeing after extreme weather events.

A passion for regional communities is a common thread. “I’ve spent much of my life moving between small towns in rural NSW and my approach to change-making stems from a growing understanding that we share common experiences and skills that unite us in the face of adversity,” says Maddy.

Maddy says that the research skills she gained in her degree were priceless. “With my interest in climate justice and building community resilience, I have the best toolkit possible”.

Woman sitting on concrete ledge

Marine scientist and underwater photographer

Lucas Hadley | Bachelor of Marine Science and Management

Lucas has always been a wild child. Growing up on the border of the Booyong rainforest in northern NSW, his playground was the creek and bushland around the family home.

When the family moved to a nearby coastal suburb, his boyhood interest in the natural world shifted towards the ocean. was a natural progression for Lucas and it became the backbone for his exploration of science and conservation through film and photography.

“I was already involved in work around the ocean, but the degree I think legitimised what I was doing in film,” he says.

Video Transcript

I remember diving at Broken Head, like going out as a kid going snorkeling and, you know, seeing sharks and big schools of fish.

That was really intriguing to feel part of something, that was a bit wild and untamed and I think, yeah, that's where the love of the ocean came from.

My name's Lucas Hadley. I am a free dive instructor, marine scientist and filmmaker.

I wanted to become a marine scientist. I sort of looked at the different universities around where I wanted to be in my life. You know I wanted a beautiful community around me and Southern Cross University just sort of fitted that mould perfectly. They're in a beautiful location with access to some of the most amazing oceans that Australia has.

The classes are small and the lecturers become friends. They were so flexible; you could study online, you have the support of the lecturers to be able to do that from a place that wasn't just in the classroom.

It was about getting out there and getting your hands dirty. So you can understand things not just from a book but by seeing it and being part of the study.

Since leaving Southern Cross we did a film called Blue which then went around the world. It opened the UN conference on the oceans and that came from having supportive people guiding you through how to make that difference.

If you want something and you think that it is achievable go out there and make it happen. Get your degree and chase the things that matter to you. I've achieved some incredible things now and I'm looking forward to seeing where else that can go.

Resource planner at Queensland Commodity Exports

Andrew Egan | Bachelor of Forest Science and Management

Andrew Egan would rather be traipsing through bushland than behind a computer (unless it’s raining), so is happy with his days assessing trees all over southeast Queensland and northern NSW for Queensland Commodity Exports.

“I get the best of both worlds,” says Andrew, who applied for university after biking around Rotorua, New Zealand, where he was inspired by pine plantations being harvested.

“It’s quite impressive watching lots of wood get shifted around. And I just like machines,” he admits. As a new father, working in a renewable industry is also important. “Wood is the ultimate renewable resource and there is going to be more demand for it.”

Forest science graduate Andrew Egan

Senior manager at NSW Department of Primary Industries

Brendan Logan | Bachelor of Coastal Management and Applied Science | PhD Environmental Science (Paleoecology)

For a self-confessed introvert, Brendan Logan spends a lot of his work life talking.

The PhD graduate of Environmental Science describes life as an executive leader as “no two days are the same” — he might start work in Ballina, fly to Sydney, end up in Dubbo, and wake the next morning with a flight to Queensland.

Brendan has two roles with NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment  (DPIE) – managing coastal Crown land, and he’s also one of two Directors of Indigenous and Local Government Allocations for DPIE, working on a unique initiative allocating Crown land to both local government and Indigenous groups and corporations.

Environmental Science graduate Brendan Logan

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Social Sciences and Community Services

Former CEO of Heartfelt House and social science researcher

Katarzyna Loubet | Bachelor of Social Science with Honours

From an early age, Kate was interested in psychology and how people overcame adversity. In 2005 she began as a volunteer group facilitator at Heartfelt House, evolving into CEO, advocate and researcher while studying her degree.

“Heartfelt House is an independent, community-based, charitable organisation and as the CEO for three years, my role was both challenging and rewarding, especially supporting survivors and their families through programs dedicated to the healing of childhood trauma, neglect and sexual abuse,” says Kate.

“Going to university was one of the best decisions I have made! The rewards are certainly worth all the hard work, the frustrations, and even the tears. It’s an amazing feeling when you receive your qualifications, you really do feel like anything is possible,” she said.

Woman sitting in  children's playground

Child protection case worker at NSW Department of Communities and Justice

Craig Blandon | Bachelor of Social Welfare and Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying)

For Craig Blandon, helping people is in his DNA. After a career as a NSW firefighter spanning more than 14 years, Craig is currently completing his Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) at Southern Cross University.

“I’ve always enjoyed learning. If I knew I could have handled my studies and work as a firefighter, I would have done this a long time ago. I just didn’t think that university was for me at all. “Attaining my Masters and professionally qualifying as a social worker is my goal. I’m really looking forward to working further in the mental health space.

Read more about why Craig believes study gets better with age.

Craig Blandon Social work graduate

Tourism

Match Commissioner at Football Federation Australia

Sam Murphy | Bachelor of Business in International Tourism Management

There are not many people who can say they have visited 29 countries to see exactly 169 football grounds. Sam Murphy can.

He has worked in England and New Zealand in professional sports events and with Football Queensland as the State and Major Events Manager, before landing a job as Match Commissioner for Football Federation Australia. Sam’s role is to ensure compliance with competition standards and regulations – from checking marketing to player behaviour.

“I have one of the best ‘seats’ in the house. I get to experience first-hand all of the interesting work that goes on behind the scenes to arrange a professional sport event,” he says. Sam credits his degree for his practical skills and exposure to the industry before he even graduated. “That strongly helped my understanding of industry trends and what to expect from the workplace.

Man in suit kneeling on grass with football beside him

Complex Marketing Specialist at Marriott Hotels

Militsa Antonova | Bachelor of Business in International Hospitality Management

Growing up in the small Bulgarian town of Sevlievo, surrounded by mountains and nature, Militsa Antonova dreams big.

Graduating from Southern Cross, she took on an internship that led to her dream job as Marketing Executive and now Complex Marketing Specialist at Marriott Hotels.

“Travelling is about experiencing, learning, supporting local communities and immersing yourself in new cultures,” says Militsa, who works at two luxury Melbourne properties and sees the hotel world moving into a period of colourful change in coming years.

She gets through her busy days with a little Bulgarian saying: “if there is desire, there is a way.”

Video Transcript

I've always knew I wanted to study abroad and also travel throughout my career. Tourism was just the perfect fit.

My name is Militsa Antonova I'm originally from Bulgaria. My Southern Cross University experience was amazing the reason why I came to Australia and particularly, the Gold Coast campus, is the campus looked amazing.

You get views of the ocean from the library. Who wouldn't want to study there?

All the lecturers were so nice to us. The fact they were a bit smaller classes, as well, I think really helped us to get to know our teachers in a more personal level. I got to meet people from all around the world.

The international office organised so many activations for us to get to know each other, to get to know each other's culture, as well as getting to know the earliest culture.

The best highlight of my entire experience would have been when I was chosen to be a data research assistant for one of my lecturers who ended up spending an entire month up in the Great Barrier Reef.

It was fantastic to be able to learn, to put it on my resume and to see this amazing part of Australia as part of my degree.

I actually had to complete an internship out in the industry in my final session. I got offered an internship at the Surfers Paradise Marriott. Upon completion of my internship I got offered three different jobs - in London and one in the Gold Coast.

I was definitely very surprised of how I progressed. I'm currently the conference marketing specialist int two properties in Melbourne. I absolutely love my role it's never the same it's always different that's what I've always wanted. If it wasn't for my degree in Southern Cross University I wouldn't have been here today.

My degree is truly giving me that experience to be able to go and see the world. My journey so far has been so exciting that I really and truly can't wait to see where my degree will take me in the future.

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