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USQ recognises Chia Yoong Hui with Highly Commended International Alumnus Award

Every congratulation to our very own Yoong Hui Chia who was awarded the Highly Commended International Alumnus Award at the recent Alumni of the Year Awards. #usqsgalumni #usqpride #Ascenz

Proud Wakka Wakka and Barkindji woman, and Resident Doctor at Toowoomba Hospital, Dr Anne-Maree Nielsen, was awarded the top honour of 2018 USQ Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, as well as being named 2018 USQ Indigenous Alumnus of the Year.

Dr Nielsen started her studies as a young mother in the University’s Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP), and once eligible to take on tertiary study, there was no stopping her from going on to forge a hard-earned career in medicine.

Dr Nielsen completed a Bachelor of Nursing and two Master degrees with USQ. After 10 years working as a clinical nurse in Aboriginal Medical Services in the Darling Downs, her passion and drive to improve the health and wellbeing of those in the Indigenous community led to her return to university to become a doctor.
“I feel very honoured to be recognised by USQ because it was the place where I took my very first tentative steps into academia, starting off with the Tertiary Preparation Program before really gaining the confidence to do my Bachelor of Nursing,” she said.
“I’ve always had a passion for indigenous health, I’d always wanted to be a nurse and I achieved that, then as an indigenous nurse I had the grace to meet an indigenous doctor who showed me the pathway to medicine and showed me that there is a career as a GP in indigenous health and for indigenous doctors, and I think that drove me some more.
“At USQ there’s a real focus on engaging, retaining and graduating indigenous students across all fields.
“I spoke to the Director of indigenous units the other day who told me that they graduated 11 indigenous nurses last year which blew me away so I think USQ should be commended for that achievement."
USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said the University is incredibly proud of the finalists and enjoys celebrating their successes.
“The USQ Alumnus of the Year Awards allow the local and international community to recognise and celebrate a diverse group of USQ alumni and what they have achieved since completing their studies,” she said.
“Dr Anne-Maree Nielsen is a shining example of what can be achieved when a strong drive to make a positive contribution is combined with a commitment to advocating for awareness of a topic such as long-term health resolutions for the Aboriginal community.

“I congratulate all of the award winners and look forward to seeing where their determination and initiative takes them in the future.”

The USQ Alumnus of the Year award criteria encompasses alumni in a broad spectrum of achievements including their professional careers, academic excellence, or individuals who have made a major contribution in community service or overcome significant personal adversity.

The 2018 winners are as follows:

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year & Indigenous Service Alumnus of the Year
Dr Anne-Maree Nielsen (Bachelor of Nursing, 2004; Master of Mental Health Nursing, 2008; Master of Nursing Honours, 2010) — Resident Medical Officer, Toowoomba Hospital

Professional Alumnus of the Year
Rachel Ranton (Postgraduate Certificate in Business, 2013; Master of Business Administration, 2016) — Inclusion and Diversity Consultant at the Westpac Group

International Alumnus of the Year
Heidi Dugan (Bachelor of Arts, Creative, 1994) — TV Host & Celebrity and Consumer Marketing Director and China Money Director at Food Box

Research and/or Academic Alumnus of the Year
Professor Michael Kimlin (Bachelor of Applied Science, Biological and Physical Sciences, 1996; Graduate Diploma of Further Education and Training, 1999; Doctor of Philosophy, 2001) — Radiation epidemiologist

Young Alumnus of the Year
Dr Jessa Rogers (Master of Education, 2014) — Project Director, Indigenous Research and Education Strategy

Community Service Alumnus of the Year
Direpang Segosebe (Bachelor of Nursing, 2010) — Nursing Officer at Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness, Greater Gaborone Health Management Team (DHMT)

Alumni Service Award
Hoa Cruickshank (Master of Education with distinction, 2014, Master of Learning and Development, 2016) — Managing Director of Vung Tau E-School and Managing Director of Phuc Gia Trading and Tourism Limited Company

More information about the USQ Alumnus of the Year Awards can be found at

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