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Top honour for young MBA student

by Michèle Nardelli

Julian O’Shea (left) with His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANRA student of the Masters of Business Administration at UniSA, Julian O'Shea, has just been named Young South Australian of the Year for 2009.

O'Shea is a firm believer in the power of education and has developed not only excellent engineering qualifications, (B Eng Hons, Adelaide University; M Eng Sc Australian Defence Force Academy) but also the management and leadership skills to apply his knowledge in a range of settings.

O'Shea is an engineer and serving as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy where he is managing, West Head Gunnery Range in Flinders, Victoria, a 15-acre live-fire training facility associated with the Navy's premier training facility, HMAS Cerberus.

In his citation for the award from SA Great, O'Shea was said to be an "inspiring young leader within the engineering profession, the Australian Defence Force and the wider community as an active volunteer".

His professional expertise has seen him represent Australia at international conferences as well as young engineers on the National Information, Telecommunications and Electronic Engineering College Board. Late last year Julian was an Australian delegate to the World Engineers convention in Brazil. He has also received the South Australian Department of Trade and Economic Development Achievement Award and the 2009 Advertiser Pride of Australia Medal in the Serving Australia category, which is presented to service personnel who show extraordinary courage and devotion to duty under extreme circumstances.

Given credit at UniSA for his officer training as part of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Defence Force, at just 25 O'Shea is a surprisingly young MBA student.

Program Director for the MBA, Bob Gilliver, said the average age of MBA students is about 37 years.

"It is unusual to take on a 25-year-old, but he impressed us from the very beginning," Gilliver said.

"This award is a fitting tribute to his focus, his maturity, his determination and his vision."

Among the other awards, UniSA Adjunct Research Fellow in Psychology, Rosemary Wanganeen, was named winner of the Community category for her outstanding work in psychology through counselling, research and teaching.  Wanganeen, herself very much impacted by difficult experiences in her life, is the founding director of the Australian Institute for Loss and Grief. Through the Institute, she runs the Sacred Site Within Healing Centre, which provides counselling and support for Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients.