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UniSQ Student Awards

Student Awards recognise the outstanding extra-curricular achievement of our UniSQ students. We are proud to recognise current students who have shown outstanding achievement in the areas of leadership, community service, student clubs, sport and much more.

The 2023 Student Awards

2023 Winner: Dennis Arthur

Dennis is a proud Wiradjuri/Darug man who has developed a robust school program alongside a local Koombumerri elder to teach dance and didgeredoo to primary and secondary students. Dance and Didge has since been so successful that his students have been invited to perform at a range of events, and Dennis continues to leverage this pathway to facilitate a better transition from primary to secondary education for First Nations students. In his undertakings, Dennis also actively participates in a variety of other local community events and initiatives.

2023 Highly Commended: Sarah Johns

2023 Winner: Nina Sorley

Nina (pictured) is a full-time Film student who blends working at UniSQ in a variety of roles while volunteering, developing her leadership skills, and engaging with the community. She is an active Academic Student Representative on the School of Creative Arts Learning, Teaching, Success Committee, and continually leverages the thoughts and feedback of her peers as a trusted student advisor within the discipline. As a 2022 graduate of the UniSQ Leadership Excellence Academy, she also went on to represent UniSQ at both the 2022 TEQSA Conference and the 2023 STARS Conference on student leadership, student voice, and the future of artificial intelligence in higher education. Within the student community, she is also the current and founding President of the Innovation and Investment Club and has been a crucial driver in both its growth in members and the development of events, creating accessible, educational and fun activities for all students interested in entrepreneurship, investment, and innovation. Further, Nina has been instrumental in creating information sessions for students interested in postgraduate studies in the arts, and overall, is an all-round, high achieving UniSQ student.

2023 Highly Commended: Farhan Khudir and Tammy Thornton

2023 Student Awards Winner: All-Round Excellence

2023 Winner: Toowoomba Dungeons and Dragons Club

In 2022, the Dungeons and Dragons Club (pictured) expanded its membership to over 100 active members. Over and above their everyday operations with experienced members, the Dungeons and Dragons Club runs training sessions to assist new members who may not know how to play, and have recently started to work with UniSQ Makerspace with 3D Painting workshops for interested members. This Club has also been a part of the Toowoomba Community DnD event conducted at Battlestation Toowoomba, and has been instrumental in the event’s growth for 2022-2023.

2023 Highly Commended: USQ NAT Society and USQ Badminton Club

2023 Highly Commended (Young Club): UniSQ Cheer & Dance Club

2023 Student Awards Winner: Club of the Year

2023 Winner: Fraser Lane

Fraser (pictured) founded the mental health charity Project HAND Inc. to reduce the prevalence and impact of mental illness and suicide through education, preventative and recovery projects. In 2023, the charity provided their flagship program Hike 4 Happiness in both Queensland and New South Wales. Hike 4 Happiness creates a supportive community with regular walking groups where people come together to walk, talk, and build connections, with the aim of improving the mental well-being of participants through social connection and exercise. Through Project HAND Inc. Fraser hopes to remove as many barriers as possible for people in accessing the support they need, when they need it. 

2023 Highly Commended: Niah Domin and Tamyka Mallet

2023 Student Awards Winner: Community Service

2023 Winner: Manasvi Walia

This year, Manasvi (pictured) represented the University at the Universities Australia Conference as a panellist to discuss international students in the Australian workforce. Manasvi has immersed herself in the UniSQ community and works closely with international students to support them across a range of challenges, including their studies, accommodation, financial difficulties, and homesickness. She also volunteers within the Toowoomba Indian community to assist with delivering events and celebrations. 

2023 Highly Commended: Barshat Acharya

2023 Student Awards Winner: International Community Engagement

2023 Winner: Taylah Hoffman

Taylah (pictured) is actively involved in championing the student voice as the co-chair of the Student Senate and an outgoing Senior Residential Colleges Representative at McGregor College. Taylah has worked tirelessly with the Student Senate and placed significant focus on improving the student life on campus and increasing the social opportunities for students to get involved in. With the assistance of staff, Taylah has created an action plan for student events on campus moving forward. Taylah is has a strong focus on a range of perspectives and focuses on well-informed decisions that will be sustainable for future years. 

2023 Highly Commended: Lolita Liboon Aranas and Komal

2023 Student Awards Winner: Student Voice

2023 Winner: Shenae Ciesiolka

Shenae has been a member of the Brisbane Broncos NRLW team for the last four seasons. At the end of 2022 she represented Australia at the Rugby League World Cup in England, received an Australia Day Sports Award from the Toowoomba Regional Council, and has represented Queensland on numerous occasions. She consistently volunteers her time to participate in various Brisbane Broncos events, including coaching clinics for kids, hospital visits, school engagements, panel discussions, and journeys to remote communities. Shenae is also a valued sports coach and enjoys giving back to the local community, and was recognised as the Academic Player of the Yearfor 2023.

2023 Highly Commended: Mia Rennick and Shishir Dholakia

2023 Winner: Taylah Hoffman

Taylah (pictured) holds a range of student leader roles, including being an experienced Student Ambassador and working alongside the media team. She has had a positive impact on the residential colleges cohort by facilitating study break events, BBQ dinners, and movie nights, and has similarly uplifted her Ambassador peers by coordinating times for them to meet up and bond, ensuring all new students are welcomed and supported. Taylah also represented the University at the 11th University Scholars Leadership Symposium at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok as well as at the national Leadership forum in Canberra. 

2023 Highly Commended: Jeanie Cartwright and Dani Challacombe

2023 Student Awards Winner: Student Leader

2023 Winner: Daniel Jess

In 2022, Daniel founded the Australian College of Vocal Arts. The College is an innovative competitor to other professional certifications organisations in the music and arts sector. Daniel has just finished beta testing on all programs and has received incredibly high and positive feedback from students and industry stakeholders alike. Daniel is also undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy, where he is exploring the connection between individual expert capability and organisational strategic ambidexterity, which helps create sustainable organisations that can be more readily future-proofed. He is leveraging this research to grow the Australian College of Vocal Arts, including implementing innovative learning design, applying novel capability frameworks, and transforming the delivery of its courses. 

2023 Highly Commended: Richard Dein Altarez and Gauri Samant

2023 Winner: Jennifer Harris

Jennifer (pictured) upholds and promotes the values of Respect, Integrity and Excellence in every interaction and decision, fostering a positive learning environment amongst her Nursing cohort. Jennifer is a passionate supporter of mental health initiatives, and applies these values to her volunteer work with the Black Dog Institute, where she works to reduce stigma and promote a better understanding of mental health issues. She is also dedicated to building an inclusive and diverse community, previously volunteering with the Queensland Aid Council, and continues to demonstrate a steadfast commitment to the principles of equity, inclusion, and social justice. 

2023 Highly Commended: Lily Foran and Lisa Connolly

2023 Student Awards Winner: University Values

The UniSQ Phoenix Award recognises well-rounded, career-ready students who have gone above and beyond their academic studies to demonstrate the six Graduate Skills through sustained effort. When undertaking the Award, students engage in a diverse range of extra and co-curricular activities that are assessed across three categories: professional development, extra-curricular achievement, and contribution to the community.  The Award also acknowledges the development of the skills, attributes, and personal qualities necessary for effective university study, success in the workplace, and good citizenship. By actively participating in this program, students can build their skillsets, expand their knowledge, meet new people, enhance career outcomes, and engage with the full UniSQ experience.

In 2023, we are proud to recognise the following students who completed the Phoenix Award:

  • Ashley Duffin
  • Chad Johnston
  • Emma Baillie
  • Louise Wilson
  • Nina Sorley
  • Richard Dein Altarez
  • Samuel McCelland
  • Tasha Winsor Okeefe