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USQ Psychology student Martelle Ford accepts the All Rounder and Community Service awards with her son Jagger at the USQ Student Awards.
As Martelle Ford crossed the stage to receive the USQ Student Award her six-year old son, Jagger, looked on in the audience with pride.

He was her reason for being there. The reason she chose to study more than 20 years later than she first thought, and the motive for applying for the USQ awards.

“I thought why not throw my towel into the ring and see how I go,” Ms Ford said, who is studying a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology.

“It would be validation that if you put in the hard work you can get recognition, and I hope the importance of giving back to the community is a good example to my son.

“I was very surprised to receive the awards, and at the same time, I am very grateful and honoured.”

The USQ Student Awards recognise outstanding achievement and student contribution back to the community and the University through sport, student clubs, leadership and community service. 

Ten awards were presented during the ceremony at USQ Toowoomba this week with Ms Ford receiving the Community Service Award and the USQ All Rounder Award.

Ms Ford was recognised for her commitment to study as well as participation in both co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and her extensive community work.

This year she has given her time to Career Employment Australia as a literacy tutor, teaching adults who were illiterate, individuals with learning disabilities, and new immigrants to Australia, to help them gain employment. 

She has also volunteered with Wesley Mission Brisbane STARH project (Supporting Those at Risk of Homelessness) and a family room supervisor for Ronald McDonald House in both the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Children’s Ward at the Gold Coast University Hospital. 

Ms Ford is also a Silver Cord Reassurance Caller with St John Ambulance Queensland and a crisis support worker at Lifeline.

“It is really important to me to give back to the community – I feel the world has lost a sense of community,” Ms Ford. “And through giving back I have found my calling.

“Through volunteering with these organisations I am also able to put my knowledge and study into practice.

“Even giving a small amount of time can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

The best part of the Awards night was having Jagger with her.

“We arrived at the campus in the afternoon and he had some fairy floss,” she said.

“He thinks university is the greatest thing in the world.”

The other award recipients included: Ina Mills (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Service Award); Jacob-Hakim Oyat (Student Representative of the Year), Sheldon Boland (Multicultural Community Service Award), Redha Alrikabi (Sportsman of the Year), Eden Jackat (Sportswoman of the Year), Chinese Culture Club (Highest Achieving USQ Club Award); Marlene Monteith (Unsung Hero Award); and Nicole Maynard (Australian University Sport Most Valuable Player).

For further information on USQ Student Awards visit: www.usq.edu.au/current-students/life/awards.