University of Southern Queensland: 50 Years 50 Stories
From Miranda Kalinowski, who is the Global Head of Recruiting at Facebook in New York; to Indigenous Australian singer/songwriter Kevin ‘Kev’ Carmody; and from Jozef Borja-Erece, the youngest Law graduate in the Southern Hemisphere; to Alexandra Halford, Public Relations Manager at Australia Zoo, 'USQ: 50 Years 50 Stories' is a must-read for every proud alumnus. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of USQ: 50 Years 50 Stories will go to the USQ Student Endowment Fund, so by purchasing this book you will not only own a piece of USQ history, you will also be helping future students achieve their tertiary education dreams.
Technical production skills and journalism qualifications gained from USQ have proved to be the winning career combination for Simon Van Der Spoel. His first post-graduation job was with the Toowoomba branch of WIN TV. He now works as a Commercial Producer for Channel 7.
As the current Federal Member for Groom in the House of Representatives of the Australian Parliament, Dr John McVeigh, MP, is someone who appreciates the value of education when it comes to attaining professional and personal goals.
Professional development and upskilling have been key components in John Williams’ career successes. Since his first graduation from DDIAE almost forty years ago (he has since graduated from USQ three more times), John has worked hard to achieve every goal he set for himself.
Caio de Moraes Basilio knows first-hand what it’s like to be an international student. Born and raised in Brazil, he always had a fascination and skill for information technology and computers. He now lives in Australia, lecturing at the USQ Sydney Education Centre.
Contributing to the betterment of society and affecting change are community goals Barbara Hovard, OAM, is passionate about. After two decades working in aged, community and hospital-based care, Barbara advanced her career with a USQ degree, before being elected the first female Mayor of Maryborough.
Studying in a foreign country can be a challenging experience. But for Professor Junichi Hatai, a USQ degree enabled him to learn the skills that allowed him to share his culture in Australia, and achieve a career goal in Japan.
Lachlan Hill has taken one small agricultural aircraft and grown it into one of Australia’s largest aerial application businesses. Precision Aerial now has three locations, a range of aircraft (including 18 turbine-powered agricultural aircraft) and a firebombing contract with the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
As a Queensland Corrective Services Education Officer Mickeelie Kunst’s job is never boring. She is tasked with assisting prisoners at the Maryborough Correction Centre complete their studies as part of the Making the Connection project and it is a role Mickeelie enjoys for its challenges.
For Annette Apelu, her determination to pursue tertiary education came from a desire to inspire her eight children, showing them anything is possible if you have commitment. Her advice to fellow mature-age students is, ‘if you want you study at university, do it!’.
Project collaborations with NASA, ‘Computers in a Suitcase’, lectures broadcast over the radio and an infant retrieval system that has saved countless tiny lives – these are just some of the career achievements of DDIAE alumnus, Professor John Grant-Thomson.
Agriculture is in Charles MacFarlane’s blood. After growing up on cattle stations in the Northern Territory and outback Queensland, he looked for a career that would let him blend his drive to create innovation with his country heritage.
Of the more than 96 000 graduates of USQ (and its former incarnations) Denis Tarasov is the only one from the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan. After completing his degree online in his home country Denis moved to, and now works in, Australia.
From a student at DDIAE studying mechanical engineering, to a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force flying Macci Jets, and finally to the top job of Chief of the RAAF, Air Marshal (Rtd) Geoffrey ‘Geoff’ Brown, AO has achieved an admirable career.
Working as a Research Mechatronic Engineer at the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, Dr Alison McCarthy enjoys the challenges and rewards of her career. She’s at the forefront of technology and development solutions, and loves the opportunities to solve real-world problems within industry.
Having won competitive grants worth more than $1.6 million to assist with her research, it’s no wonder Dr Cheryl McCarthy has attracted attention both domestically and internationally. She is working with global organisations on research projects that have vast commercial and industry potential.
Being an active student as well as an active member of the community has always been a part of Steve Noakes’ ethos. During his studies he was President of the Student Union and he has crafted a career in the industry of Eco Tourism.
Jozef Borja-Erece was 15 years of age when he enrolled at USQ to study Law and 18 years of age when he became the youngest Law graduate in the Southern Hemisphere. Now he is precipitating positive change globally.
Dr Kevin 'Kev' Carmody is an Indigenous Australian singer/songwriter whose work tells a story. His most well-known song 'From little things big things grow' was named fourth on Amnesty International’s 10 Songs for Social Change list.
As a Clinical Nurse and Organ Donation Specialist for the Toowoomba region, Elizabeth Hill has witnessed miracles. She has seen countless lives saved by the selfless decision many people make to donate their tissue and organs.
Georgia Ridler (nee Stewart) is a Sports Psychologist, High Performance Consultant and the Director of Sports Psych Qld. She is passionate about helping athletes, including the 2016 Rio Olympics Australian Swim Team, expose the best versions of themselves.
In the 1960s when Lorraine McPhee started her degree, it was considered unconventional for a woman to become a scientist. But with QIT(DD)’s equal opportunity enrolment policies, Lorraine was able to break new ground, achieving a successful career specialising in clinical microbiology.
Travel and education have become synonymous for young USQ alumna Savannah Barber. As a recipient of the Bellmaine French Appreciation Travelling Scholarship, Savannah is living in Paris, France, completing work experience as an assistant project coordinator at the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Imagine being stolen from your family, placed in a group home and denied an education all because of your ethnicity. That is the childhood Dr Victoria Close overcame to succeed in what she calls her ‘USQ journey of education and lifelong learning’.
Growing up in Delhi, India, Gitie House had a vibrant and diverse childhood. Since moving to Toowoomba in 1978, Gitie has been committed to making the region more culturally aware and inclusive, especially through educational community events. Her achievements have been recognised with a number of prestigious awards.
Chancellor John Dornbusch has been associated with USQ for more than four-and-a-half decades. Since first stepping foot on the DDIEA campus in 1972, John has earned three USQ degrees and says he is proud to have been able to witness the University’s growth.
Every day, Kathryn Campbell, CSC, incorporates the lessons she learned at DDIAE, and then USQ, with her military experience, to improve the lives of Australians. As Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Human Services, Kathryn strives to constantly make a difference.
A university education opened unexpected doors and opportunities for Peter Grant. With a little motivation from one of his Information Technology lecturers, Peter embarked on a fulfilling career that included working as the Queensland Government Chief Information Officer and now as an adjunct professor.
From the Queensland Youth Parliament to the USQ Head Start Program, then from a Bachelor of Laws to a Toowoomba Young Citizen of the Year Award, Georgia Soutar (nee Stafford) is a remarkable woman who achieves all she sets her mind too.
Born in Hong Kong, Anthony Espina moved to Australia in his teens, attending boarding school in Toowoomba before enrolling in the newly enacted, DDIAE. He is now the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman on the management board of AFT Bank in Kazakhstan.
At the DDIAE graduation of 1988, Michelle Ockers stood before her fellow graduands and delivered the valedictory address. Michelle, who studied at the Institute on a Royal Australian Air Force cadetship, says being named valedictorian was both unexpected and an honour.
Stephen Willis believes in the power of lifelong learning, for both its personal and professional benefits. When a desired career changes required Stephen to have new skills, he chose to study at USQ Springfield because of its convenient location and study options.
As the Chief Executive Officer and founder of HR Junction and the 2015 Queensland Winner in the Start Up category of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, Belinda Brosnan works hard to facilitate positive change in corporate environments and global arenas.
Ismail Najeeb grew up in a refugee camp in Afghanistan, learning the value and importance of education from his mother. Today, he is dedicating his life to improving education opportunities for all children, but especially young girls, in his home country.
USQ is proudly partnered with 12 international education institutions, offering students the opportunity to earn a degree by studying through two organisations. Yoke Ling Koh has done this not once, but three times, utilising USQ’s partnership with SEGi University in Malaysia.
The Honourable Dr David ‘Derek’ Sikua always knew he wanted to become a teacher. What he didn’t know was that his commitment to improving the quality of education for his people would lead to him being elected prime minister of the Solomon Islands.
From an early age, Rachel Mather understood the inequalities that exist in health care throughout the world. She has chosen to spend her career volunteering and working domestically and internationally to help facilitate change.
Working with lemurs, collaborating with koalas and coordinating the publicity for an internationally-recognised conservation organisation is all in a day’s work for Alexandra Halford. From a USQ Toowoomba Residential College to Australia Zoo, she has followed the stepping stones to career success.
When Paul Webb wanted to further his career opportunities, he looked to USQ for its distance-education options. As a father of 12 children, Paul needed the flexibility to study after hours, while also working full-time and being a hands-on dad.
At 13 years of age David Webb picked up one of his father’s USQ textbooks on computer programming. Now, at 25 years of age, he has started his own web-based forum for Android developers, completed a bachelor degree and works at Google.
For the last 30 years, Jennifer ‘Jenny’ Woodward (nee Mackie) has been the trusted voice of weather reporting at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Jenny says she is grateful for the skills and lessons she learned at DDIAE, including how to evolve in an ever-changing industry.
Being on the frontline of history and writing the first draft is all in a day’s work for Mark Willacy. From the Iraq War to the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan, the multi-award winning journalist and author has had an impressive career.
Choosing acting roles which allow him to transform are how Russell Dykstra has achieved success. From Uncle Fester in The Addams Family – The Broadway Musical to Barney Meagher in Rake, the multi-award winning DDIAE alumnus is explore his craft to the fullest.
Having begun his USQ journey at 17 years of age, David Burton has since enjoyed a truly varied career in the arts. His impressive list of accomplishments comes from successful ventures as a writer, director, producer, lecturer, public speaker, dramaturge and podcaster.
Walking into her first lecture at USQ, Aletha Ward had no idea she was embarking on a journey that would lead her to three degrees, an award-winning career in healthcare, and a love for lifelong learning.
Milton Cheng Shing Yan is a respected businessman, a Fellow member of Certified Practising Accounts (CPA) Australia and a proud USQ alumnus. He understands the value of staying connected and was Chair of the USQ Graduates Society Hong Kong Alumni Chapter from 2010 – 2014.
Improving the lives of Indigenous Australians, including her own, is something Dr Maree Toombs is passionate about. She has three tertiary degrees and since 2012, Maree has received a total of $3.2 million in research funding to continue her vital work.
Many students have had to overcome obstacles to succeed with their studies and achieve their dreams. Sharon Boyce, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis, has overcome more than most. She now lives her life to the fullest, educating and promoting awareness and acceptance of ‘disAbility’.
As the Vice-President of Global Recruiting at Facebook, Miranda Kalinowski (nee Dowie) has her dream job. Every day she works to connect people’s professional strengths with their career ambitions. Her skills in recruitment began with her DDIAE degree and have strengthen throughout her career.