Bundaberg students reach Young Achiever semi-finals


CQUniversity accounting and business students Christi Chapman and Emily Smith have reached the Queensland semi-finals of the 7 News Young Achiever Awards.

The Bundaberg-based duo will attend the awards gala presentation in Brisbane on 3 May after being nominated by CQUniversity business and law lecturer Tim Whan.

Christi Chapman
Christi Chapman (left) with Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett at a Bundaberg Business Enterprise Centre event. Source: Twitter

“Small class sizes of 15-20 students allow lecturers in the School of Business and Law to get to know students and what they are doing outside university,” Mr Whan said.

“Then it was just a matter of working with these students to nominate them for the 7 News Young Achiever Awards. Also a big thank you to the sponsors Auswide Bank and 7 News.”

Christi will feature in the judging for the Kennelly Constructions Aboriginal Achievement Award, recognising her community contributions.

As a proud Wakka Wakka woman, Christi has been active with her Indigenous community, especially during NAIDOC Week events.

“I plan to show Indigenous Australians that education is another way to open the doors and networks to new opportunities and life,” she said.

Christi has also supported her rugby league club as a player and coach.

Her work role with Shalom College includes helping children who have learning difficulties. She also raises awareness of indigenous culture within the school community.

Christi has boosted her goal of a human resource management or accounting career through a summer internship with the Bank of Queensland.

She was a proud recipient of the 2017 Wangan and Jagalingou Clermont Aboriginal Community Development Fund (ACDF) Scholarship and will be the first in her family to graduate from a university degree.

“This is a great inspiration to a lot of family and friends,” Christi said.

Empowering others

Emily is in the running for the Soroptimist International Women Empowering Others Award, recognising her work supporting communities in Asia.

Emily Smith
Emily Smith went to Vietnam last year, where she and her team presented a project idea around sustainable development to the United Nations. Source: CQU

During an ‘Unbound’ education visit to Vietnam, Emily worked with three other students in developing an environmental sustainability project.

“We identified a large issue surrounding the lack of responsible rubbish disposal in the cities of Vietnam, with drainage systems also being clogged during the monsoon season,” Ms Smith said.

“After many stages of design thinking and prototyping, we came up with our model that combined a sustainably-built drain shield, accompanied by a bin.

“This bin was no ordinary bin, as it featured infographics with staggering statistics that we hoped would not only inform the locals and tourists but also appeal to their emotions.

“We presented a pitch about our project. Overall, our presentation went really well, and we received some very positive feedback from United Nations representatives.”

Emily went on a similar trip to Cambodia when she was still at school and did a lot of work with schools and social enterprises.

In the future, she hopes to work closer with social enterprises and agents of change, where she can continue on her journey of empowering others.

She aspires to travel to Nepal to contribute to the empowerment of marginalised women through the Seven Women Association, which provides education and employment opportunities.

Emily has served as a student representative of the Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce.

She has also secured a work role with Greensill Capital after sharing her aspirations for the future with local business professionals.

Emily also enjoys being involved in discussions surrounding the #lovebundy campaign that reaffirms the message that the community needs to support its local businesses.

She has been involved in many other activities, from Business Leaders’ Forums to volunteer work with the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association at the Annual AgroTrend event.

Outside work and study, Emily is a keen beach volleyball player.


Emily Smith and Christi Chapman with CQUniversity lecturer Tim Whan. Source: CQU
Emily Smith and Christi Chapman with CQUniversity lecturer Tim Whan. Source: CQU