Media Release

Newsroom Releases 2012 August Indigenous quartet join JCU honour board

31/08/2012
Indigenous quartet joins JCU honours board
Four Indigenous graduates of JCU are among 12 former students of the University honoured as Outstanding Alumni.

Four Indigenous graduates of James Cook University were among 12 former students of the University honoured today as Outstanding Alumni.

The Awards recognise graduates of JCU who have made an outstanding contribution in their field of endeavour at a local, state, national and/or international level.

The four are:

Dr Ngiare Brown, who was foundation chief executive officer with the Aboriginal Indigenous Doctors Association and is currently a Medical Officer with the Association, is a Yuin nation woman from the south coast of New South Wales.

Dr Brown graduated from JCU with a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2000.

Judith Ketchell, who is Executive Principal at Tagai State College in the Torres Strait, is a descendant of Torres Strait Islanders. Born in Cairns, she now heads a college that has 17 school campuses and TAFE facilities across 15 islands in the Torres Strait.

Mrs Ketchell enrolled at JCU as a special entry student with the Aboriginal and Islander Teacher Education Program and graduated in 1982. She completed her Bachelor of Education in 1995.

Traven Lea, who is Special Adviser to the Australian Government initiative, Australian Medicare Local Alliance, is a descendant of the Wuli-Wuli, Darambal and Djirubal people from South-East Queensland.

He completed a Diploma of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at JCU in 1999 and later attained a Masters of Epidemiology at the Australian National University.

Ali Jimmy Drummond, who is Indigenous Nurse Advisor in the Nursing and Midwifery Office of Queensland Health, is a descendant of the Dauareb people of Murray Island and the Wuthathi people of north-eastern Cape York.

He graduated from JCU with a Bachelor of Nursing Science in 2005 and was awarded the Sally Goold Award in his final year of study for most outstanding Indigenous nursing student.

Each of JCU’s four faculties nominated two Outstanding Alumni and one Early Career Alumni for the awards.

Dr Brown and Traven Lea were the award winners from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences, while Ali Drummond was the faculty’s Early Career nominee.

Mrs Ketchell was put forward for her award by the Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences.

JCU’s Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding told the gathering in Townsville that JCU’s aim was to produce graduates and discoveries that make a difference.

“Listening to the profiles of today’s awardees shows that JCU is producing outstanding alumni all around the world and they are doing an outstanding job,” she said.

“And today’s wonderful group of JCU alumni is just a snapshot of the many graduates who have gone on from their time at the University to make their mark on the world.”

The other recipients of the awards were:

Outstanding Alumni:

  • Dr Rose Evaster-Aderolili - Chief of the Human and Social Development Program for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

  • Professor Ian Mackinnon - executive director of the Institute for Future Environments at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

  • Bill Mitchell - Principal Solicitor and Registered Migration Agent at the Townsville Community Legal Service

  • Professor Clive Moore - Head of School in History Philosophy, Religion and Classics at the University of Queensland

  • Dr Richard Smith – producer and director of natural history documentaries including this year’s ABC series Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide.

Early Career:

  • Winsome Denyer – ABC journalist

  • Dr Mariana Fuentes – turtle and dugong researcher and children’s book author

  • Diane Ruhl - Associate in Family Law at Boulton Cleary & Kern Lawyers in Townsville

JCU Chancellor Lt Gen Grey chose one of the Outstanding Alumni as JCU’s Outstanding Alumnus for 2012.

He said the decision was very hard as any of them would be a worthy choice, however Dr Evaster-Aderolili had an extraordinary record of achievement.

After working as an economist in Uganda and a lecturer in Papua New Guinea, Dr Evaster-Aderolili joined JCU’s fledgling Cairns campus in 1991 as a student and was also the first lecturer in economics. She was awarded her Graduate Certificate of Education (Tertiary) and PhD in 1996.

Dr Evaster-Aderolili now heads the biggest program at UNECA, delivering research, policy advice and technical support to all 54 African countries in areas such as education, employment, health, gender, migration and youth.

Issued: August 31, 2012

JCU Media Liaison, Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449