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2017 Alumni of the Year Award Winners

Jules Allen
2017 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Jules Allen Jules Allen graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in 2009. Jules is an award-winning youth advocate who has co-hosted the television show 'Studio 10', written editorials for the Herald Sun, blogged for parenting websites The Carousel and Kidspot and presented a TED Talk. Jules was also a contestant on MasterChef Australia in 2013. She featured on the ABC's Australian Story in June 2014 and has been widely acknowledged for her dedication and commitment to a life of service.

Jules is an ambassador for Australian children's services charities Key Assets and Adopt Change, where she works alongside Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman. A single mother of four adult children, Jules has also fostered 32 children. For the past twenty years, Jules has worked in youth support, child protection, as a school counsellor and in private practice for young people and families in crisis. Jules's own troubled beginnings are the backbone of her expertise in this field. Her motto is food, family and service.

Tara Grant
2017 Young Alumnus of the Year

Tara Grant Tara Grant graduated with a Bachelor of Education in 2012. She is a primary school teacher and currently the acting Principal at Walhallow Public School in Caroona, New South Wales. Tara is also the Quirindi Zone Primary Schools' Sports Association President, leader in the Liverpool Plains Small Schools' Network and a prominent member of her local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.

Tara has taught herself the local Gamilaroi language and established an Aboriginal Culture program to recover local history that had been lost. Elders and community leaders from different parts of the Gamilaroi nation were encouraged by Tara to teach the students through storytelling, art, dance and music.

Glenn Fawcett
School of Arts and Social Sciences Alumnus of the Year 2017

Glen Fawcett Glenn Fawcett graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1989. Glenn has spent the past 20 years working as a social development professional while living in India and Cambodia. He has a commitment to working for social justice and creating a level playing field for the underprivileged and underserved. Glenn is currently studying a Master of Social Science in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice at London University's Centre for Development, Environment and Policy.

Glenn is a great believer in lifelong learning and is committed to achieving profound and lasting social and behavioural change. The programs he has designed have had an impact on tens of thousands of women and girls and their families from the poorest communities in Asia. Glenn's work helps young people, especially girls, to gain academic and livelihood skills to establish meaningful and happy lives, breaking cycles of poverty for themselves, their families and future generations.

Michael Emery
School of Business and Tourism Alumnus of the Year 2017

Michael Emery Michael Emery graduated with a Master of Organisational Development and Training in 2000. He is the Director, Division of Human Resources at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the lead UN agency with a mission to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. In his role he supports the business of UNFPA with recruitment, retention, career development and management relations for the 3,800-strong workforce.

Michael originally trained in education and after a teaching career in Adelaide, he travelled to Liberia in West Africa as a volunteer teacher. His arrival coincided with a civil war, leaving most of his students either refugees in neighbouring Guinea or soldiers in rebel armies. This led him to the nearest United Nations office in Monrovia, Liberia where he asked for a job, which he commenced that day. Michael has worked as a peacekeeper all over the world and enjoys sharing his insights and stories with students at universities.

Tara Grant
School of Education Alumnus of the Year 2017

See Tara's bio above as the 2017 Young Alumnus of the Year.

Rodney Ingersoll
School of Environment, Science and Engineering Alumnus of the Year 2017

Rodney Ingersoll Rodney Ingersoll graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in 1999. He is an environmental consultant and the Community Relations and Engagement Superintendent for the Barrick Gold Corporation in Enga province, Papua New Guinea. Rodney also has an aquaponics gardening business in Cairns, where he teaches hands-on food security and how to live sustainably. Rodney speaks Tok Pisin, a language he learned while living in remote Papua New Guinean communities.

Rodney has spearheaded sustainability campaigns, administered foreign aid, developed community training programs and managed a Papua New Guinea wildlife sanctuary for conservation. He has been awarded three Distinguished Service Medals from the government of Papua New Guinea and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in the fields of environmental management, sustainable development and community service.

Professor Debra Jackson
School of Health and Human Sciences Alumnus of the Year 2017

Debra Jackson Debra Jackson graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nursing in 1992 and a Diploma of Health Science in Nursing in 1991. She is Professor of Nursing Research at Oxford Brookes University in the UK, Associate Chief Nurse and Professor of Nursing Research at the NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford University Hospitals and Professor of Nursing in the Faculty of Health at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a highly regarded Australian nurse researcher, establishing an international reputation for her research, leadership and innovation.

Debra's research has addressed the fields of health workforce development, improving the health of vulnerable and socially-marginalised groups, adolescent and family health care. She has undertaken research with vulnerable populations such as women mothering in prisons, at-risk young people, children whose parents have a mental illness and family survivors of suicide.

Marcelle Burns
School of Law & Justice Alumnus of the Year 2017

Marcelle Burns Marcelle Burns is a Kamilaroi woman who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws in 2000. She is a pre-doctoral Fellow in the School of Law at the University of New England. She is a legal practitioner, academic and a leader in the field of Indigenous peoples and the law. Marcelle is a leading voice in the national dialogue on Indigenous cultural competency.

Marcelle is currently working on an internationally significant project recognised by the Council of Australian Law Deans and the New South Wales Department of Justice. She will be delivering an invited address to the Association of Continuing Legal Education conference in Vancouver about initiatives in Australia that incorporate Indigenous cultural competency in legal education. She works tirelessly to advance social justice issues and remains committed to promoting greater recognition of Aboriginal peoples' rights.

Kini Rema
International Alumnus Award 2017

Kini Rema Kini Rema graduated with a Master of Education in 2002. She was the first female high school principal appointed to a large international education agency in Papua New Guinea. After three years in this position, Kini was promoted to provide professional development to 23 schools and was the only Papua New Guinean in the program. She introduced a teacher induction program which resulted in a 95 per cent increase in Papua New Guinean appointments to schools.

Kini now has her own training company where the courses and training are all aimed at behaviour change and capacity building. She is active in both her local and village community churches and regularly fundraises for local groups. Kini initiated a Women's Empowerment Program four years ago, where women are encouraged to showcase their talents. For the past six years she has supported young men with their dream of playing rugby league by providing uniforms, first aid kits and meals.

Christian Layland
SCU College Alumnus of the Year 2017

Christian Layland Christian Layland graduated with an Associate Degree in Business in 2015. He is the Social Community Engagement Manager at Microsoft. Christian co-founded sports media organisation The Football Sack while still a student, which earned itself a spot among mainstream organisations such as Fox Sports and SBS as experts in football coverage. On the Football Sack he is an entertainer, MC and event host. He has won Football Podcast of the Year three times, Best Use of Social Media twice and reached number 41 on iTunes Australia charts.

Christian developed the Football Sack Internship Program where journalism students have an opportunity to complete a six-month internship. As of May 2017, 50 graduates had completed the program. Christian's passion for football has led him to work with the Western Sydney Wanderers as their Digital Media Manager. He regularly coaches elite teams including New South Wales and Victorian State football teams, Western Sydney Wanderers under 20s and the National Youth League.

Emma Stone
Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples Alumnus of the Year Award 2017

Emma Stone Emma Stone graduated with a Bachelor of Indigenous Studies in 2014. She is a Landcare Coordinator for the Border Ranges-Richmond Valley Landcare Network. Emma has a passion and talent for connecting people and organisations by engaging the community about what is important to them.

In her role, Emma supports Border Ranges-Richmond Valley Landcare Network members by writing grants, sharing information, linking groups and organising workshops. She is also a Dorrobbee Grass Reserve Trust board member. Emma has an interest in land management and Indigenous issues both in Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Allan Stewart OAM
Vice Chancellor's Alumnus Award 2017

Allan Stewart Allan Stewart graduated with the Bachelor of Clinical Sciences in 2012. A former dentist, Allan became the world's oldest graduate not once, but twice, breaking his own Guinness World Record. He graduated from the University of New England in 2006, 70 years after graduating with his dentistry degree from the University of Sydney. He then eclipsed his own record when he graduated from Southern Cross University in 2012.

Allan has always spoken of the benefits of living a healthy, balanced life, through the four paradigms of fitness: fitness of mind, body, spirit and purpose. Allan's achievements in graduating at his age have inspired many and he has been invited to speak at numerous community events. Allan was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2017. Allan is 102 years young.

Bethany Mantle
Young Entrepreneur Award 2017

Bethany Spoor Bethany Mantle graduated with an Associate Degree in Business in 2016. She is an entrepreneur and has her own natural skincare company, Bethany Grace. Her passion for entrepreneurship began when she was five-years-old and living in Coober Pedy, where she created jewellery and sold it. From there she began creating her own natural skincare range using ingredients from her parents' hobby farm. She was home schooled and completed Year 12 at the age of 15. Too young to attend university, she took a traineeship at McDonald's Australia.

Bethany's achievements have been featured in magazines such as Girlfriend and TotalGirl. She recently created a KickStarter campaign for a Custom Skincare Shop with products made from scratch on the spot and ingredients chosen by the client. Richard Branson ran an entrepreneurial article about her in Virgin Media Pioneers and she appeared in the television show, Shark Tank, in August 2017.