13 December 2001

A genetic breakthrough that promises big benefits to the sunflower industry has won a distinguished award for University of Queensland Gatton Campus student Joanne Elsden.

The Bryan Memorial Medal winner will be among almost 400 graduates in ceremonies to take place at Gatton this Friday, December 14.

Joanne, from Chinchilla on the western Darling Downs, completed an important piece of research for her Agricultural Science honours degree which will allow the presence of rust resistance in sunflower plants to be verified by gene analysis.

She will join graduating students from a wide range of disciplines including agriculture and horticulture, animal studies, environmental management and agribusiness.

The two ceremonies will cap what has been an outstanding year of academic achievement at UQ Gatton.

Increasing interest in Agribusiness studies at UQ Gatton reflects the strong employer interest in graduates from this uniquely structured program.

Associate Professor Tony Dunne said there had been particular demand from banks and finance institutions for graduates this year.

“Banks are building up their specialist agribusiness divisions and our students are popular because they can relate to rural clients and will work in rural areas,” Associate Professor Dunne said.

Agribusiness graduates will include the winner of the prestigious Queensland Cotton award, Mark Cook, a mature age student who is returning to work on a diverse family farming enterprise at Clermont in Central Queensland.

Winner of the inaugural AgForce-Westpac bursary, Leesa Muller of Rolleston, will be a student valedictorian.

The Director General of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries Warren Hoey will also address graduates.

For more information on the Gatton graduation ceremonies, contact Anthony Smith on (07) 54601229