How a tiny bee can make a world of difference
After numerous trips to the highlands of Papua New Guinea, one Southern Cross University Lismore campus student believes his research into beekeeping can make a positive difference to some of the world’s poorest people.
Four ceremonies were being held over Friday and Saturday, with Dr Cooper Schouten, 28, to join more than 700 fellow graduands to receive their testamurs and have their degrees conferred at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
On Saturday Dr Schouten will give will give the graduate address on behalf of all students.
“One of the key things I will mention is while it’s great to have all your hard work and efforts recognised, I’ll want to thank all of our families, friends and colleagues for their love and support during our studies at Southern Cross University,” he said.
“And the staff and teachers at SCU to make us industry-ready has also been amazing.”
Dr Schouten said his PhD investigated the role of beekeeping in poverty alleviation throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific and how to achieve effective international agricultural development projects.
“I focused on beekeeping in Papua New Guinea as a case study to develop a framework to understand the determinants of success of agricultural development programs, and improve their impact, profitability and sustainability,” he said.
“I’m really passionate about how beekeeping can addressing issues of poverty, food and nutrition security, gender inequality and agricultural productivity.”
Dr Schouten works as a SCU lecturer in Regenerative Agriculture and was Project Manager for the Bees for the University’s Sustainable Livelihoods (B4SL) initiative.
He said B4SL was a grassroots non-for-profit research group that works to develop solutions to beekeeping industry challenges.
“I’m really passionate about this work I've been doing in the misty mountains of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea,” he aid.
“I feel like even thought this graduation is the close of a chapter it’s also the start of a new beginning, a new journey and the ability to create research for a positive impact on the lives of the poorest people in the world.”
SCU said students will be able to celebrate their on-hold graduations at ceremonies in Sydney in May and Coffs Harbour in June.
A decision about a Lismore graduation event will be made later in the year.