2018 Alumnus of the Year Award Winners


In alphabetical order, below are the 2018 USQ Alumnus of the Year Award winners.


Highly Commended Young Alumnus of the Year

Master of Business Administration, 2015; Bachelor of Business (with distinction), 2011

 Graduating from USQ with a Bachelor of Business and Master of Business Administration, Stacey Burrell has been a stable and significant force at Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE). Being employed by TSBE within six months of its creation, Stacey has never wasted an opportunity. She started as the Marketing and Membership Manager before moving to Executive Officer for several years. Stacey’s strong work ethic and professional nature makes her a highly valued employee which saw her take an opportunity as Acting CEO early in 2018 alongside her current position as the Chief Operating Officer. In addition, Stacey contributes much of her time with the community. She is the Chairman and Director of not for profit business, Ability Enterprises which provides employment opportunities to people facing employment barriers. She is also a Director of the USQ Student Guild, committee member of the Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland and has been a long-term volunteer in both the Pyjama Foundation and her local Toastmasters committee.


CHIA Yoong Hui 

Highly Commended International Alumnus of the Year Yoong Hui

Master of Business Administration, 2005

Chia Yoong Hui is a well-respected and successful entrepreneur. He is founder, chairman and CEO of Ascenz Pte Ltd, Asia’s leading provider in vessel management, established in Singapore in 2008. The company is well known for its award-winning Shipulse solutions which can be used by clients to optimise vessel performance. His effective communication skills, insight and innovative skills makes him popular amongst business partners and clients. Last year Yoong Hui was awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year - Maritime Technology Solutions. Yoong Hui further uses his experience and passion for lifelong learning to mentor ambitious entrepreneurs. In 2017 he had the privilege of having his success story shared by the minister during her speech in parliament. Yoong Hui has been awarded the Enterprise 50 Award in 2017 and 2016, SME 1000 – Emerging Company in 2017, Emerging Enterprise Award in 2012, National Infocomm Award in 2010 and the Minister’s Innovation Award in 2009. In addition, Yoong Hui is an advisory council member of the Australian Alumni Singapore Council of Advisors and was also the founding Chairman for the USQ Singapore Alumni Chapter where he was at the helm for five years. 



Alumni Service Award

Hoa Tran Thi

Master of Learning and Development, 2016; Master of Education (with distinction), 2014

Hoa Cruickshank is passionate about learning and teaching. After obtaining an array of certificates and academic qualifications from various universities and institutions, three years ago Hoa established an English Language School which uses the application of an iPad with IQ Board in Second Language Learning and Teaching. Today the school has more than 120 students. She is currently Managing Director of Vung Tau E-School, a private language center in Vung Tau, Vietnam and Managing Director of Phuc Gia Trading and Tourism Limited Company. During her time at USQ Hoa would always engage in extra-curricular activities and has contributed to the Vietnamese enrolment with USQ, promoting it among her networks. She was one of the founding members of USQ’s Vietnam Alumni Chapter where she remains as Treasurer and regularly organises and attends events.



International Alumnus of the Year

Heidi Dugan

Bachelor of Arts (Creative), 1994

Heidi graduated from USQ in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts (Creative) before going to Japan on a scholarship. Determined to gain experience and improve her career she then moved to China and studied international trade. Heidi has had extensive experience in the TV and media industry including as one of the first foreign TV hosts on Chinese television, an emcee, TV presenter and judge. Commended for her work, Heidi has been awarded Best Foreign TV Host and Most Popular Foreign TV Host on the International Channel of Shanghai. Over 17 years ago she launched her very popular cooking show You Are The Chef which has been awarded the Best Foreign Language Program two years in a row. Her abundance of skills and knowledge from both Australia and China has also allowed Heidi to assist companies enter the China market. In addition, Heidi has published a cookbook titled Follow Me and Learn to Cook Like a 5 Star Chef.


Professor Michael KIMLIN

Research/Academic Alumnus of the Year

Dr Michael Kimlin

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Southern Queensland, 2001; Graduate Diploma of Further Education and Training, 1999; Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc), Biological and Physical Sciences, 1996

Professor Michael Kimlin has made many extraordinary contributions to cancer research throughout his stellar career. Michael is a world renowned radiation epidemiologist who specialises in ultraviolet radiation and human health outcomes. He is currently the Foundation Professorial Chair in the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and Professorial Chair at Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ). He is also a current member of many review panels including his position as the Chair of the NHRMC Partnership review panel. In 2004, he established the AusSun Research Laboratory at QUT which has received global recognition. Over the past seven years Michael has successfully supervised students to completion; 4 Masters and 13 PhD. In addition, he has more than 175 publications, some of which are included in leading journals including the American Journal of Epidemiology. He has received over $19 million in grants to fund numerous agencies worldwide and has received invitations to be a keynote speaker at many national and international events. Michael has been fortunate to be a recipient of the prestigious Top Ten Paper of the Year Award for the American Journal of Epidemiology 2014.


Dr Anne-Maree NIELSEN 

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year & Indigenous Alumnus of the Year

Anne-Maree Nielsen

Master of Nursing Honours, 2010; Master of Mental Health Nursing, 2008; Bachelor of Nursing, 2004

Dr Anne-Maree Nielsen is a proud Wakka Wakka woman of Queensland’s South Burnett Region with associations to the Barkindji Nations in the Darling River Basin Region, Western New South Wales. She is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing for people in the Indigenous community and has highlighted the importance of community health prevention resolutions to ensure long term health. As such, most of her career has been focussed on Indigenous healthcare in capacities of both a researcher and registered nurse. Anne has experience in various positions at the Royal Darwin Hospital including as a Surgical Intern, Renal Intern, Medical Intern and Orthopaedic Intern. Currently, she is the Resident Medical Officer in the Acute Mental Health Unit at Toowoomba Hospital. In addition, she has recently been accepted by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and will be commencing her journey to become a GP. Anne's extensive involvement within this area of medicine has also resulted in her contribution to several research papers and her membership in the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA). 


Rachel RANTON 

Professional Alumnus of the Year

Rachel Ranton

Master of Business Administration, 2016; Postgraduate Certificate in Business, 2013

2018 Veteran Employee of the Year Rachel Ranton continues to use her military skills of leadership, decisiveness and enthusiasm to learn and lead change within the workplace. Currently an Inclusion and Diversity Consultant with Westpac Group, her passion for inclusiveness shines through her prominent role in many programs across the organisation. The Autism Hiring Program – Tailored Talent was executed in response to Rachel’s extensive research and thorough recommendations into how best to encourage and support people on the Autism Spectrum and their careers. In addition, Rachel’s involvement in the Veterans Hiring Initiative, Inclusive Leadership Training (ILEAD) and Women of Influence Awards has not gone unrecognised. Last year, Rachel presented a TED Talk discussing the importance of group dynamics and leadership through which she applied both her corporate and military experience.



Young Alumnus of the Year Award 

Dr Jessa Rogers

Master of Education, 2014

Dr Jessa Rogers’ heart for the community and influential nature has paved the way for bettering Indigenous education. Jessa graduated from USQ in 2014 with a Master of Education. Since then she has held school-based teaching positions, professional memberships and academic positions, including her current position as the Project Director, Indigenous Research and Education Strategy at the University of New England. In her previous capacity as Assistant Professor at the University of Canberra, Jessa wrote two new Indigenous units to be included as compulsory units in both primary and secondary degrees to close the gap. Earlier in her career she was the inaugural principal of Australia’s first boarding school for Indigenous teenage mothers – the Cape York Girl Academy. Jessa’s contribution to many academic publications, articles, reports and conference papers has not gone unnoticed and she has won numerous awards, including a Fulbright scholarship which saw her based at Harvard University in the Native American Program. Jessa is a member of the a Federal Expert Committee on English Language Learning for Indigenous Children (ELLIC).


Direpang SEGOSEBE 

Community Service Alumnus of the Year

Direpang Segosebe

Bachelor of Nursing, 2010

Ms Direpang Segosebe is a role model in Botswana, Southern Africa where she resides as a Nursing Officer/Administrator within the Greater Gaborone District Health Management Team (DHMT). After graduating from USQ in 2010 with a Bachelor of Nursing, Direpang continues to impress. Focussing on the less privileged population of Botswana including the elderly, disadvantaged children and street youth, her achievements have improved the health and wellbeing of the community in Botswana. She has successfully advocated the dangers of road use for pedestrians and in 2016 saw the implementation of speed bumps in areas with heavy foot traffic. In a response to Direpang’s health awareness programs, underprivileged community members are also provided with free access to health care services including screening for TB, diabetes, blood pressure, HIV testing and eye tests. In 2017, she was awarded a service star by Consumer Watchdog Botswana for exceptional customer service and regularly appears in newspapers where she is referred to as a Florence Nightingale figure, a result of her exceptional contribution to her community.


Highly Commended Community Service Alumnus of the Year

Kevin Wilson

Master of Professional Accounting, 2016; Master of Business Administration, 2007; Bachelor of Business, 2004

Kevin Wilson’s outstanding involvement with his community earns him the respect of everyone he meets. Graduating from USQ with two masters and a bachelor degree, Kevin has progressed quickly in his career from a small business proprietor early on to his second CEO position at The Crommelin Group. When he’s not at work or with his family, Kevin is President of the City of Perth Triathlon Club, Treasurer of Gridiron West, Hall of Fame Member of Gridiron QLD, Communications Director of Gridiron Australia, Coaching Director of Perth Blitz Gridiron Club and Head Coach for many community teams. Earlier this year he helped form Women’s football, providing around 150 females with access to football in Western Australia. In addition, Kevin was a mentor within the USQ Mentoring Program for a few years and continues to regularly mentor others in his community.