Alumni Alumni Stories

Alumni Stories

Friendships made at JCU are near and dear

Sereseini Dikalouniwai Vakawaletabua

In 2017 Sereseini Dikalouniwai Vakawaletabua was one of the students from a variety of Pacific Islands who were offered a place to study at James Cook University through a scholarship in partnership with the Pacific Ridge 2 Reef program.

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A lifelong friendship and association with JCU

Nola Alloway and Trevor Cook

Emeritus Professor Nola Alloway (BEd [Hons] & BA, 1974; PhD, 1979) and Professor Trevor Bond (BEd [Hons], 1977; PhD, 1990) have enjoyed a lifelong friendship since meeting on the first day of teaching at the Douglas campus in 1970.

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Drones taking over in challenging territory

Cameron Van Der Berg - Engineering

JCU alumni Cameron Van Der Berg uses drones to connect wind and solar power stations to the electricity grid. Instead of cutting trees to make way for dangerous jobs done by large helicopters, oversized drones do the hard work now.

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A future in Pharmacy

Tegan Stark - Pharmacy

Growing up in Mackay in North Queensland, Tegan Stark had always planned on following in the family footsteps to James Cook University. Now a specialised pharmacist in oncology, she’s never looked back.

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From passion to profession in Law

Melia Benn - Law

From Far North Queensland to a major Anti-Discrimination case in South Australia, a JCU Law degree has made a huge difference to the life of Melia Benn, one of only two Aboriginal women barristers in Queensland practising at the Private Bar.

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The good, the bad and the furry

Dr Brooke Schampers - Veterinary Science

When Dr Brooke Schampers began working with the Animal Emergency Service in Brisbane, she quickly discovered that she had entered a wild world. From patients in need of urgent care to the long nights of shift work, Dr Brooke shares her experiences.

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Healthy smiles for North Queensland

Nirjyot Gill - Dentistry

Nirjyot Gill became a Dentist after completing her studies in 2020. The Cardwell local is now setting her sights on the new challenges of dentistry as she enters the next phase of her career to bring healthy smiles to northern Queensland.

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Giving back to Mackay

Dr Clarise Sornachalam - Medicine

JCU Medicine graduate Dr Clarise Sornachalam was born in South Africa and moved to Mackay when five years old. She has a passion for science and a desire to make a positive impact in people’s lives. In 2021 she will intern at the Mackay Base Hospital.

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Becoming Cairns' top teacher

Sarah Del Favero - Education

When Sarah Del Favero first began studying Education at JCU, she wasn’t sure it was meant for her. After falling in love with teaching and discovering a passion for helping kids learn, Sarah was voted top teacher by the Cairns Post.

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Read more Alumni Stories

JCU's Alumni are amazing and can be found all across the globe. Here are just some stories of where they are, what they're doing, and who they're helping.

Pursuing an unlikely career

Growing up in a low-socioeconomic environment in Tasmania, JCU alumni Leah Nicholls never saw herself studying at university or pursuing a career. But moving to Townsville set her on a path to discover that opportunities she had never dreamed of weren’t so far away after all.

Read Leah's story.

Ready for the real deal

While 2020 has been full of challenges, Hayley Rosadi is one of the many students looking forward to graduating at the end of the year.

A Townsville local, she completed her schooling at Ryan Catholic College and was drawn to the JCU's Pharmacy program. Hayley is ready to kick off her career in hospital pharmacy after securing an internship at the Townsville University Hospital for 2021. She’s reflected on her four years at JCU and how it’s prepared her for the next challenge.

Read Hayley's story.

Dentistry in a tropical paradise

Hema Chodha is one of 75 budding dentists to survive the perils of 2020 and complete her Bachelor of Dental Surgery. Hailing from Canada, she left her family to trek to Australia as a fresh-faced school leaver. What she found at JCU was a supportive community that would enrich her experience and set her up for a career with impact.

Read Hema’s story.

Palm trees and prescriptions

When Townsville school leaver Sarah Hughes enrolled in the first year of James Cook University’s new Bachelor of Pharmacy program in 1999, she had little idea of where the profession would take her. Fast forward two decades and what she has found is a diverse career that’s allowed her to juggle family and work with aplomb.

Based in Port Douglas in Queensland’s beautiful far north, Sarah’s career in pharmacy has seen her move from a purely community-based focus to include home medication management as well as hospital pharmacy.  All while raising four children.

Read Sarah's story.

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We're always on the look out for interesting alumni to profile on social media, in course guides and here on the stories portal. Please update your details and share your story with us so we can catch up on all the wonderful things you're achieving.

If you're looking for news on JCU, you can check out the University's Featured News portal for recent releases and news articles.

Outstanding Alumni

JCU's alumni include numerous notable members of both the North Queensland community and the globe. From world-renowned professors, to judges, doctors, business leaders, engineers and research specialists. Each year the University recognises the contribution that our alumni make in the world with Outstanding Alumni Awards. Read about our Outstanding Alumni or make a nomination.