Media Release

Newsroom Releases News Archive JCU names outstanding alumni

25/07/2014
JCU names outstanding alumni
A group of 12 scientists, lawyers, health workers, a school principal, an engineer, a wildlife protector, a businessman, a journalist and an eclipse chaser were named today as James Cook University's Outstanding Alumni for 2013.

July 26, 2013: - A group of 12 scientists, lawyers, health workers, a school principal, an engineer, a wildlife protector, a businessman, a journalist and an eclipse chaser were named today as James Cook University’s Outstanding Alumni for 2013.

Coming from all over the world – Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, the Philippines and Ethiopia – and from around Australia, they were presented with their awards at a special ceremony at Jupiters in Townsville.

The awards recognise JCU graduates who have made an outstanding contribution in their field of endeavour and to the community. This contribution can be at a local, state, national or international level.

Each of the University’s four faculties are represented with two Outstanding Alumni and one Outstanding Early Career Alumnus.

From the group, the University’s Chancellor, Lt Gen John Grey, selected as his Outstanding Alumnus for the year Professor Porfirio Miel Aliño from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute.

“Professor Aliño received his PhD from JCU in 1990 and is a prolific author with more than 150 scientific papers published establishing him as one of the top coral reef scientists in the South East Asian region,” Lt Gen Grey said.

“But what particularly impressed me was Professor Aliño’s efforts in mentoring a new generation of scientists who are now among the best marine scientists in the Philippines.”

JCU’s Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said the Outstanding Alumni were proof of the University’s desire to produce graduates and discoveries that make a difference.

“Listening to the profiles of today’s awardees shows that JCU’s alumni are making an outstanding contribution across Australia and around the world,” she said, “and today’s wonderful group are 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 Outstanding Alumni are:

Professor Porfirio Miel Aliño from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute where he heads the Community Ecology Laboratory and is the university’s Deputy Director for Research, received his PhD from JCU in 1990.

Clare Campbell, the Director of Wildlife Asia, President of Silvery Gibbon Project, and Director of the Asian Rhino Project, graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science (Biological Science).

Clayton Carnes, Principal of Hermit Park State School since 2007 and a member of Microsoft’s 12-member International Advisory Panel for their Global Partners in Learning program, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 1995 and a Bachelor of Education in 1997.

Richard Ireland, a prominent business leader in northern Queensland, joint managing director of the family business FR Ireland Pty Ltd, chair of the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Ltd (RRRC) and Deputy Chair of Advance Cairns, graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1982.

James Hickman, a Physician Assistant, is Country Medical Director for Civilian Employees attached to the US Army Materials Command at Kabul Air Field in Afghanistan. Mr Hickman graduated from JCU in 2005 with a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Melissa Nielsen, a partner in the commercial and property law department of Miller Harris Lawyers in Cairns, graduated from JCU with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in 2002 and received a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice in 2003.

Dr Kate Russo is the Assistant Course Director, Doctoral program in Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Principal Clinical Psychologist at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children; Regional Coordinator of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Northern Ireland; an Independent Consultant, author and eclipse chaser. Dr Russo graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours from JCU in 1994.

Dr Azage Tegegne Wolde, a senior scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the only livestock research institute among the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) centres, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr Tegegne was conferred with a PhD by James Cook University in 1990.

The Early Career awardees are:

Joanna Mather, who covers national affairs for the Australian Financial Review from the national newspaper’s Canberra bureau with particular emphasis on education, graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism in 1999. This year she was named the Higher Education Journalist of the Year by Universities Australia and the National Press Club.

Brooke Myers, a Pharmacist Clinical Educator and Senior Clinical Pharmacist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and a Conjoint Associate Lecturer at the University of Queensland, graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Pharmacy. In 2012, Brooke was awarded the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Young Pharmacist of the Year award.

Melissa Sinopoli, an Associate in the Commercial and Corporate team of MacDonnells Law and the youngest female in the firm’s 128 year history to achieve such a position, graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Laws. In 2012, she was the youngest recipient of the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland Regional Woman Lawyer of the Year Award.

Erwin Van Wyk, is a System Operations Engineer with Ergon Energy after receiving a scholarship from the company in his final year at JCU and joining them as a Graduate Engineer upon the completion of his studies. Erwin graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic).

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

Issued: July 26, 2013