Kasukabe uni cements bond with Fraser Coast

USQ’s status as a local university with global connections was reinforced when the university officially recognised its relationship with Kasukabe’s Kyoei University in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said the document’s signing symbolised the dynamic connection between the two organisations.

“Our association with Kyoei University continues to grow and is indicative of the hard work being done between both institutions,” Professor Thomas said.

Kyoei handshake

Kyoei University President Akira Kato (left) and USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer celebrate the signing of an MOU, supported by Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell and university staff.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said that yesterday (Wednesday June 5, 2015) was an exciting day for the USQ and the Fraser Coast region.

“In April last year, USQ’s Michelle Hay and Kate Kuzma, through the Kasukabe International Friendship Association, visited the Japanese city 30km north of Tokyo to connect with Kyoei University, Mr Langabeer said.

“That connection led to the visit of Kyoei University President Akira Kato to USQ Fraser Coast to look at developing business between the two universities.

“Yesterday, President Kato and USQ, under an MOU between the two institutions have agreed USQ Fraser Coast will host 30 Japanese students in 2017.

“That intake will lay the foundation for the annual participation of their students in an intensive English program in Semester 1 followed by four business courses in Semester 2.

“This builds on the relationship that started last weekend with the arrival of 20 students in Hervey Bay on a study tour.”

Mr Langabeer said the MOU ensured Japanese students would travel to Australia studying English and business into the future, bringing great opportunities for USQ and the Fraser Coast region.

“It adds culture and diversity and has far-reaching benefits for both universities,” he said.

“USQ is thankful to the Kasukabe International Friendship Association that helped ignite this relationship, which on all indications will prosper in the future.

“We’re very excited about Kyoei’s global education strategy, which has been very innovative in how they connect with other countries and universities to give their students opportunities to diversify, develop their English skills and look for job opportunities.”

President Kato said he was “much pleased” with Kyoei University’s relationship with USQ.

“Education in English and business will make our students more familiar with English conversation and open their eyes to the world,” he said.

“I aim to make my university be more globalised with greater assistance with USQ.

“Globalisation will progress to better understanding and support for my people and government.”


Feature photo: The Japanese Garden in Toowoomba, Qld, is the largest traditionally designed Japanese Garden in Australia.

Footsteps lead to higher education

FOLLOWING in her adored grandmother’s footsteps with higher education has Kelly McBride of Nikenbah bursting with pride.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill,” Ms McBride beamed at yesterday’s NAIDOC Week celebration at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast.

The 29-year-old Butchulla woman, who recently started the USQ Bachelor of Nursing program, is the grand-daughter of Aunty Irene McBride, last year’s USQ Indigenous Service Alumnus of the Year.

 Aunty Irene holds a Master of Education and coordinates the Vacation Care program at Hervey Bay’s Scrub Hill.


First-year nursing student Kelly McBride celebrates NAIDOC Week at USQ Fraser Coast.

She is also a member of USQ Fraser Coast’s Buallum Jarl-Bah Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Committee (BATEC), an advisory group made up of Butchulla Elders, community members and USQ personnel who promote education to local Indigenous people.

“Aunty Irene is an excellent role model and does a lot for the community,” Ms McBride said.

Inspired by her grandmother’s achievements, the former Aboriginal medical receptionist is now taking the next step in her education journey.

“I have wanted to work in the health industry since leaving Year 12. I like working with my people so I thought university was the next level and started a degree.”

Ms McBride was among the dozens of University students, staff and community members who gathered at USQ Fraser Coast in Hervey Bay to celebrate NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observation Committee) Week.

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said NAIDOC Week celebrated the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“This year’s theme We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate is an opportunity to pay respects to country, honour those who work tirelessly on preserving land, sea and culture, and to share the stories of significant places,” Professor Thomas said.

NAIDOC Week celebrations were also held at USQ campuses in Toowoomba, Springfield and Ipswich with traditional Indigenous performances and foods on offer.

At USQ Fraser Coast, foods included Damper, Lemon Myrtle Pancakes, Spicy Barramundi Pieces and Kangaroo Tartlets.

bush tucker

Sampling the traditional Aboriginal food at USQ Fraser Coast’s NAIDOC Week celebration are (l-r) Butchulla Elder Uncle Ian Wheeler, visitor Kayla Monaghan, Campus Executive Manager Brett Langabeer, student Kelly McBride, staff member Deanna Eastall and student Rachael Bayley.



Aliens, or old friends?

HUMAN infants were born on forest floors for thousands of years before the advent of sterile hospital theatres yet our race not only survived, it thrived, says University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast Nursing Lecturer Ruth Newby.

“Today, human infants born by cesarean section are at a nutritional disadvantage compared to those born naturally,” Mrs Newby said.

“A cesarean-born baby will take longer for its gut to be colonised in the same way as an infant born naturally because it doesn’t get the same ‘bugs’ from the mother.”

Modern society’s excessive reliance on disinfectants and antibiotics will be in the spotlight at the USQ Fraser Coast Open Day this Sunday (August 2) when the local scientist and research fellow makes her Future Talks presentation titled Aliens, or old friends?

“Most of us look into the night sky and wonder if there is intelligent life somewhere else in the universe,” Mrs Newby said.

“When we look for aliens in outer space, what we don’t always recognise is that aliens are not only around us in our environment but actually inside us.

“We look at our own planet and think scientists know all about everything on Earth but we are yet to discover the full spectrum of life here.

“Humans are intrinsically reliant on the organisms in our gut to make us healthy, to nourish us, yet we don’t know everything that’s there. We don’t recognize the DNA signature of about 25% of what’s in our gut so it’s a very alien environment.”

Mrs Newby said animals also had unidentified life forms inside their bodies.

Ruth Newby

Lecturer Ruth Newby talks about Aliens and old friends.

“Koalas only digest gum leaves because they have microorganisms in their gut that allow them to ferment the leaves and extract the goodness,” she said.

“The microorganisms get there during birth. The babies eat their mothers’ waste to colonise themselves with the ‘bugs’ that allow them gain nourishment from their environment, enabling them to live.

“Baby koalas separated from their mothers soon after birth are unable to digest gum leaves and die.

“Humans also get a lot of nourishment from the microorganisms that come from the outside environment into our gut.

“In the earliest years of human existence, infants were born on forest floors so they naturally got a good gulp of mum’s ‘bugs’.

“Only now we’re learning how these aliens inside us are intrinsic to our health. We’ve been led to believe all bugs are bad but many bugs are incredibly important.”

Mrs Newby said the largest part of the human immune system was in the gut.

“Our immune system is involved in sensing and tolerating the external environment and it needs to learn how to identify what is good and what is concerning.

“If doesn’t get exposed to the entirety of the outside environment including the ‘bugs’ we get from our mothers during birth, it learns the wrong lessons.”

Mrs Newby is a USQ medical scientist, nursing lecturer and University of Queensland research fellow.

Her PhD project – Feeding Queensland Babies Study – investigates infant feeding attitudes and behaviours among first-time mothers in Queensland.


Feature photo: Are aliens closer to home than the moon?