Transforming Moments

Changing lives through revolutionary learning and research with real impact.

Student walking amongst greenery on Northern Rivers campus
Student Nathan smiling at camera with students in background

I got my first grade at Uni and um I just laughed outloud. It it wasn't just a pass I actually got a High Distinction. And um I'd always done terrible at school. I did uh the PSP course at SCU which gave me like the foundations of what you need to be able to study at Uni and um I didn't fail that, got good grades so I was like hey we'll keep going. Studied a Bachelor in Psych, did alright so I kept going. And uh got into Honours and now I'm writing a thesis. Getting that first grade was the first time that I felt like I can actually do this and it has led um me to to get to where I am now and I'm really grateful of it.

I can do this

Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours student Nathan says receiving his first High Distinction during a pathway course motivated him to continue to succeed in his studies.

Read Nathan's story Study a pathway program
Jackie walking through grass lit by sunlight

What I really love about regen ag is the opportunity to build something that's going to last longer than I will. As part of one of my core units uh I had to do up a grant application. And I found Nuffield scholarships and I thought yeah that's something that I could do. So, you're looking at the 2023 Nuffield scholar for integrated pest management in beekeeping. Thanks to AgriFutures, I've been travelling the world uh working with some of the world's best beekeepers and really figuring out how Australian beekeepers can deal with varroa mite and how to really get the best out of our industry. Both honey and pollination. Not everyone eats honey, not everyone keeps bees but everybody eats food that's pollinated by bees. It's the most beautiful uh peaceful thing just to be walking out amongst the grass and you can run your hands through the grass seeds and see the bees out pollinating the flowers.

Building something that will last longer than I will

Bachelor of Science (Regenerative Agriculture) student Jackie says one uni assignment led to her travelling the world learning about how Australian beekeepers can better deal with varroa mite.

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Blake with laptop smiling at camera

This is something that I'm going to push through and find a solution for to help these kids just the way I wanted to be helped when I was a kid. So, I've done uh two pracs now. When I was teaching a year one class we were going through number patterns and there were some students that grasped it immediately which was great but there were definitely some students that fell behind a bit and remembering myself as a student falling behind and just not quite grasping it I was able to go up and try and see ways that I learned how to do it when I was a kid myself and be able to teach that to them. Like, instead of telling them what to do but helping them at the same time and saying you're not going to do this, we're going to do this together. It was very uh rewarding like there was a lot of things that happened over my prac that I thought was great but it was those little moments that just made me go this is why I'm doing what I'm doing.

It all adds up

Bachelor of Education student Blake knew teaching was the right path for him when he helped a Year 1 student who was falling behind to understand the lesson.

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Kaliya playing piano and laughing

You just feel like you're exactly where you need to be and you get addicted to that feeling it's it's incredible. I started singing and playing one of my original songs for the first time and everyone was really into it and I felt super connected and grateful in that moment for the gift of being a creative person and an artist and I was able to really enjoy my degree from that moment because I remembered why I was there and that was to share music and connect. Once you get up on stage and you perform and something that you've written yourself that you've gone through and experienced emotionally and when you share that with other people and they connect it's just the most amazing process that is like you wouldn't give it up for anything. You feel so safe and at home in the most beautiful way like from what you have and you're sharing it and you just feel like you're exactly where you need to be.

I felt connected and grateful

Bachelor of Contemporary Music student Kaliya shares the moment she performed an original song on stage for the first time and the feeling of belonging she experienced.

Read Kaliya's story Study contemporary music
Arpan in nursing lab

Once I finished my placement I knew I would be doing mental health nursing. I went for my first placement after my second semester. And then I was placed in one of the aged care homes in Gold Coast. And I was in the dementia ward. And when I started there it was very eye opening for me. Once I finished my placement I knew I would be doing mental health nursing. When I'm working in the wards right now as an AIN, I could see how mentally unstable my patients were in the first day of their admission and then when they are leaving, you know, the change in their behaviour, the way they interact with you, it's completely different and when you talk with their family and the appreciation you get, I think that's the thing that drives me as a mental health nurse. I would say I found my right passion what I should be doing for my future career.

I've found my passion

Bachelor of Nursing student Arpan shares how his placement experience in the dementia ward of an aged care home inspired him to become a mental health nurse.

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Professor Kirsten Benkendorff smiling in front of fish tank

I feel good about contributing to that knowledge um so that we can start moving forward. I had a major transformative moment when I went to Vietnam with a group of 16 students on a New Colombo scholarship program. We went out to investigate a massive mortality event of prawns and on the way out there I was kind of surrounded by these rice fields and I saw all these farmers spraying with pesticides and I started to wonder if that was getting into the water um ways and impacting the prawns so we took a bunch of samples from the water and ultimately what I found was this really nasty pesticide that was banned worldwide. So, it got me thinking about whether this problem was also occurring in Australia and how that impacts our seafood safety. And that initiated a whole new line of research and it's been really quite um informative to fill this gap in knowledge about contamination of our seafood because ultimately the health our health is intrinsically related to the healthiness of our food and the environment in which it's been grown.

I want to contribute to knowledge

A trip to Vietnam investigating mass prawn deaths inspired Professor Kirsten Benkendorff to research seafood contamination in Australia.

Read Kirsten's story Study marine science
River with canvas painting

It was the first time I was given permission to think about pursuing a creative career. I went from social work into Art and Design uh after doing my unit Create Innovate Change which was my last unit for the my first year of Social Work. The assessment that we were working on, we had to address a social issue and the group that I was in decided to choose gender and we decided to create a pronoun book for young people and we wanted to do it in a way that was really accessible and non-confrontational. And I think that is the moment in creating this book that I really discovered and kind of had that light bulb moment that it was a creative industry that I needed to be in. The lecturer following that had suggested that I continue to pursue a creative industry or a creative field because of the way that I worked within it.

I had a lightbulb moment

Bachelor of Art and Design student River speaks about how undertaking a creative uni assignment inspired them to pivot to a creative degree.

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Cooper Schouten holding honeycomb covered in bees

Here I am still working every single day as hard as I can to try to create that change that I wish to see in the world. I was um studying in Ermera District in Gleno which is uh in the highlands of Timor-Leste and I was during my undergraduate studies here at Southern Cross Uni and I was um lucky enough to be selected as a part of a New Colombo Plan scholarship. It was such a light bulb moment for me with the work that I do in that, you know, this country is one of the poorest nations in the world. These bees landed outside and I learned later on there's these young boys harvesting this honey from the tops of 50 meter trees and it's super dangerous. They do it at night time with a burning branch and they often share the money that they make from that honey amongst their community and very dangerous and people actually fall to their deaths harvesting this honey and I just thought there's got to be a better way to do this and very naively I thought it would it would be very easy to create solutions to poverty through agriculture but here I am still working every single day as hard as I can to try to create that change that I wish to see in the world.

Creating the change I wish to see in the world

Academic, researcher and alumnus, Dr Cooper Schouten, talks about how a study exchange in Timor-Leste inspired him to improve beekeeping across the Indo-Pacific region.

Read Cooper's story Study environmental science
Gurpreet smiling at camera with blurred grassy field and trees in background
You can um really influence how athletes perform and you feel like you're part of a team. So, when I was on placement working with elite rugby league athletes I was working with a sports scientist to monitor the athletes training loads and the amount of running they did after each training session and after each match using GPS technology. And that was really the first time I was now using all the knowledge I've gained and applying that to practice and officially trying to improve the performance of the athletes. There was a certain play that um we we trained all week with the athletes with the team and in the first five minutes they pulled it off and they scored the first try of the game and we were stoked on the on the side. It's honestly one of  the best feelings and you know all the hard work  
that the athletes put in and all the coaching  staff to come up with that tactic has paid off.

I feel like I'm part of a team

Doctor of Philosophy candidate, Gurpreet Singh, says he is living his dream working with elite athletes and applying his knowledge in sport and exercise science.

Read Gurpreet's story Study sport and exercise science
Acknowledgement of Country image

We acknowledge Widjabal Country as the Country where Southern Cross University originated and grew, and from where it continues to grow. It seeded the growth of our Gumbaynggirr Campus in Coffs Harbour, our Yugambeh Campus in Coolangatta and it planted the seeds to transform the Countries we are on.

Understanding our origins will make each step into the future a more purposeful one, leading all to transform tomorrow.

Elders Council Acknowledging Traditional Custodians