Featured News Outstanding Alumni honoured

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Fri, 9 Sep 2022

Outstanding Alumni honoured

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JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs and JCU Chancellor Bill Tweddell and with award recipients at this morning’s JCU Outstanding Alumni Awards.

James Cook University graduates who have excelled in their careers and inspired those around them have been honoured at this morning’s Outstanding Alumni Awards.

12 alumni from six JCU Colleges, representing a wide range of fields including medicine, public health, charity, finance, Indigenous engagement and marine science, have been celebrated during a ceremony at The Ville Resort-Casino in Townsville. (Please see below for a full list of award recipients.)

The Awards recognise alumni of JCU, and its predecessor institutions, who have made an outstanding contribution in their field of endeavour at a local, state, national or international level, and celebrate their successes and achievements.

In addition to the College winners, the Chancellor’s Outstanding Alumnus Award has been presented to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation Co-CEO Skye Maconachie in recognition of her work in providing exceptional care to Vietnamese children and families in crisis.

Ms Maconachie’s involvement with disadvantaged youth in Vietnam started in the early 2000s when she worked as a part-time volunteer with Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Hanoi assisting street children and, later, survivors of human trafficking.

Building on her previous university qualifications, Ms Maconachie returned to study in 2009, completing a Master of Social Work at James Cook University two years later.

She returned to Vietnam during her Student Placement and, in collaboration with Blue Dragon, designed and implemented a highly successful project called The Right to Shine in the villages of central Vietnam.

This project became a catalyst for significant change in the area, contributing to a marked decrease in child trafficking and exploitation. After various stints volunteering that was either self-funded or through Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-funded programs, Skye returned to Blue Dragon in 2015.

In 2019 she was appointed as a Co-CEO, taking responsibility for Blue Dragon’s extensive programs that serve over 20,000 children and youth, and the critical function of child safeguarding. Under Ms Maconachie’s, leadership, Blue Dragon now has over 120 staff working in five provinces, from the urban slums of Hanoi to the remotest mountain villages bordering China.

JCU Chancellor Bill Tweddell said he was impressed each year by the exceptional calibre of recipients at the Awards, making it difficult to choose the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award.

“We are immensely proud of the wonderful work our graduates go on to do in their respective fields and they should all be congratulated for continuing to inspire others along their journey,” he said.

“The Chancellor’s Award goes to someone of the Chancellor’s choosing, whose particular achievements resonate strongly with me and whose contribution I wish to acknowledge.

“Skye’s decades-long commitment to improving the lives of Vietnamese children and families is truly admirable.

“Her compassion for, and tireless drive to help, those less fortunate, and her vision for a better world as Co-CEO of Blue Dragon, is an example to us all about making a difference through the power of volunteering.

“We at JCU are extremely proud to have played a role in furthering Skye’s skills in social work and we look forward to seeing where her already-impressive career takes her next.”

Full list of winners

Chancellor's Outstanding Alumnus Award

Ms Skye Maconachie, Co-CEO, Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.

Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award winners

College of Business, Law and Governance - Mr David Johnstone, Director, KordaMentha.

College of Science and Engineering - Ms Madeina David, Senior Natural Resource Management Officer, Torres Strait Island Regional Authority.

College of Medicine and Dentistry - Dr Daniel Nour, Founder, Street Side Medics.

College of Healthcare Sciences - Dr Lewan Parker, NHMRC/National Heart Foundation Early Career Fellow, Deakin University.

College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences - Dr Emily Moody, Senior Medical Officer, Laidley Hospital.

College of Arts, Society and Education - Mr Jesse Martin, CEO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander International Engagement Organisation.

Outstanding Alumni Award winners

College of Business, Law and Governance - Mr Aaron Newman, Group CEO, Queensland Country Bank.

College of Science and Engineering - Professor Michael Berumen, Director, KAUST Red Sea Research Centre.

College of Medicine and Dentistry - Dr Renee Cremen, Director of Medical Services, Babinda and Yarrabah, Queensland Health.

College of Healthcare Sciences - Ms Andrea Mann, Director of Nursing, Clinical Coordinator TCHHS COVID-19, Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.

College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences - Professor Adrian Miller, Deputy Vice-President Indigenous Engagement, Central Queensland University.

College of Arts, Society and Education - Ms Skye Maconachie, Co-CEO, Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.


Media enquiries: michael.serenc@jcu.edu.au