Wagga Wagga

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Beef put to the taste test

Wednesday 20 Sep 2017

It's not five star dining but Charles Sturt University (CSU) scientists are calling on people to put their taste buds to work for research into beef eating quality.

Researchers from the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation are running consumer sensory analysis sessions, or taste testing, of beef products in Wagga Wagga.

CSU lecturer in farming systems, Mr Michael Campbell said, "The Graham Centre has various projects investigating how different management, feeding regimes, breed and meat storage affects the eating quality of beef. While some factors affecting eating quality can be measured in the laboratory we need consumers to be part of the next phase of our research, to taste some of these beef products."

One of the things being put to the taste test is research examining the eating quality of Holstein meat.

Veronika VicicCSU Bachelor of Animal Science (Honours) student Ms Veronika Vicic's research will compare the carcass performance and eating quality of meat from Holstein steers with British breed beef steers fed a common diet.

"The Australian dairy industry slaughters more than 500 000 male calves per year, most are marketed as veal with carcasses ranging between 50 to 150 kilograms, and they are generally regarded as a low-value product," said Ms Vicic (pictured left).

"There's potential to grow these steers out to higher weights, providing an opportunity for dairy farmers to expand and integrate their enterprise into the beef market.

"Commercial feedlot data from America indicates that Holstein steers consume less feed and can exceed performance and grading of traditional beef breeds, although their dressing percentage is lower.  There's also limited information about what consumers think about the meat and my research aims to provide some baseline data."

Ms Vicic's research has been approved by CSU's Human Ethics Research Committee and is supported by a Graham Centre Honours research scholarship.

One consumer sensory analysis session has already been run in September with more planned for October.

Media Contact: Emily Malone, 0439 552 385

Media Note:

To arrange interviews or to attened the beef tasting sessions media should contact Graham Centre communications officer Emily Malone on 0439 552 385 or email emalone@csu.edu.au

Media are invited to attend a beef tasting session at 12:30pm on Thursday 21 September at the Dining Hall, building 230 near carpark 69 off Jingellic Place, at CSU in Wagga Wagga.

Online survey for sheep producers

Thursday 14 Sep 2017

There's a call for sheep producers to take part in a survey as part of research to better understand and improve animal health and biosecurity practices.

The research through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation is led by Charles Sturt University (CSU) senior lecturer, Dr Marta Hernandez-Jover (left).

"This short online survey aims to build our knowledge about Australian sheep producers, their aninmal health management, and attitudes towards surveillance for emergency animal diseases," Dr Hernandez-Jover said.

"We also want to investigate how sheep producers can be better supported to improve on-farm profitability and animal health management, through innovative communication and extension approaches.

The confidential survey is available online here and will take producers about half an hour to complete. Those taking part will go into a draw to win one of 20 $50 retail gift vouchers.

Postdoctoral researcher Dr Jennifer Manyweathers said, "Information from this study will contribute to current research on biosecurity and disease surveillance.

"Our aim is to build producer-led and partnership based animal monitoring systems so that Australian livestock industries are more reliant and prepared for an outbreak of emergency animal disease."

This research is part of a wider Rural Research and Development for Profit integrated project to improve surveillance, preparedness and return to trade from emergency animal disease incursions using foot and mouth disease (FMD) as a model. Read more here.

Producers can take part in the survey here.

Media Contact: Emily Malone , 0439 552 385

Media Note:

The survey is supported by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme, and by producer levies from Australian FMD-susceptible livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) industries and CSU, leveraging significant in-kind support from the research partners. 

The research partners for the wider project are the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), CSU, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, supported by Animal Health Australia (AHA).

To arrange interviews, contact Graham Centre communications officer Ms Emily Malone 0439 552 385 or email emalone@csu.edu.au

This research has been approved by Charles Sturt University's (CSU) human ethics research committee.

The Graham Centre is a research alliance between Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)


Mentoring program to foster young scientists

Monday 11 Sep 2017

Charles Sturt University (CSU) PhD students have taken a break from their own research to mentor primary school students from Wagga Wagga in a science education program.

The students from the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Functional Grains (FGC) are working with Year 5 students from Mater Dei Primary School as part of the MyScience program.

Over the past three weeks the FGC students have been working with groups of primary school children to design and carry out an experiment related to energy.

PhD student Mr Stephen Cork said, "The MyScience program does a great job at hands on teaching core scientific principles of seeing a problem, defining a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis by changing one variable and controlling other variables, then measuring and reporting the findings. It is also a privilege to be able to give students real life exposure to people who have chosen science as a career."

The program will culminate in an expo at the School on Tuesday 12 September where the students will showcase their experimental results.

Mater Dei Year 5 classroom teacher Mr David Enever said, "Most students have loved taking charge of their own investigations, under the watchful eyes of their Functional Grains Centre mentors. Some have come up with some really creative investigation ideas linked to improving the production of renewable energy."

PhD student Ms Michelle Toutounji has enjoyed her role as mentor and is looking forward to the expo.

"I hope that I have planted seeds of imagination and enthusiasm for scientific investigation.  The future of the next generation of scientists looks bright," Ms Toutounji said.

Funded by the Australian Research Council, the FGC is an initative of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.

Media Contact: Emily Malone , (02) 4439 552 385

Media Note:

The MyScience expo will be held from 2pm to 3pm on Tuesday 12 September in the Year 5 classroom at Mater Dei Primary School, 63 Gregadoo Road in Wagga Wagga. To attend contact Graham Centre communications and web officer Emily Malone on 0439 552 385 or email emalone@csu.edu.au

The MyScience program was founded in 2006 to support primary school teachers and students in conducting authentic scientific investigations.

Supporting educational aspirations of people with disability

Friday 8 Sep 2017

People living with disability are looking to higher education as a path to engaging with meaningful activity in their community, particularly in regional areas. But can our regional universities support these aspirations?

Researchers from five universities including Charles Sturt University (CSU) are currently investigating the experiences of people with disability who aspire to complete a university course in regional Australia.

The research team is now calling for people with disability in regional areas from Wangaratta in Victoria to Port Macquarie in NSW to share their experiences of higher education, particularly those:

  • currently at high school in Years 10 and 11 and who are interested to go to university; and,
  • mature aged people who  haven't been to university but are interested in study.

Clare Wilding"We want to interview volunteers from regional communities to understand their perceptions of higher education. We are investigating the barriers for people with disability in undertaking a university course," said CSU researcher Dr Clare Wilding.

"The uptake of higher education by people with disability is lower in regional areas than for their city counterparts," Dr Wilding said.

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, people with disability are more likely to have lower levels of educational attainment. Furthermore, data from the bureau showed that there are more people aged 15 to 64 years living with disability in regional areas – around 18 per cent - than those living in major cities, which is 13 per cent. So we should see a higher proportion of students with disability from regional areas attending university."

"However, only two per cent of people with disability living in Australia's regional or remote areas are currently studying in higher education, compared with four per cent in a major city.

"We want to find out why this pattern is happening, and how universities, governments and the community can address the problem," she said.

As part of the project, the researchers have already surveyed and interviewed students with disability who are currently enrolled in regional universities.

"Through this research, we hope to improve access and participation in higher education by regional people with disability, particularly those from a low socio-economic background," Dr Wilding said.

The upcoming round of interviews will be conducted using media to suit the volunteer participants: by telephone, instant messaging, Skype, email or face-to-face. People wishing to participate should contact Ms Kate Freire on (02) 6051 9355 or email kfreire@csu.edu.au.

The researchers aim to complete and analyse the interviews before the end of 2017, and report final recommendations to the Federal Department of Education by the middle of 2018.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Interviews with project researcher Dr Clare Wilding are available through CSU Media.

The research project, titled "Understanding how regionality and socioeconomic status intersect with disability", is funded by the Federal Department of Education.

The project has been approved by the CSU Human Ethics Committee, project number H17124.

Other partners in the project are Federation University in Victoria, and University of Southern Queensland, Central Queensland University and James Cook University in Queensland.

Final 2017 Booranga writer-in-residence

Thursday 17 Aug 2017

Biff WardBooranga Writers' Centre at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga has named award-winning author Ms Biff Ward (pictured) as the final writer-in-residence for 2017.

Centre President and adjunct senior lecturer in English at the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences Mr David Gilbey said, "Biff's residency for a month from Wednesday 23 August concludes our program of multi-talented writers who have shared their skills with the writing communities of Wagga Wagga and surrounds.

"I reviewed her early feminist poems for Southerly in the early 1990s and was impressed with her insights, energy and language skills. More recently, Biff is the author of the literary memoir In My Mother's Hands, which was short-listed for the NSW Premier's Douglas Stewart Literary Prize for non-fiction 2015 and the WA Premier's Prize for 2016. It was also long-listed for The Stella Prize 2015 and winner of the Canberra Critics' Circle Award 2014 for non-fiction.

"Commentators have noted, In My Mother's Hands (published by Allen & Unwin) is a beautifully written and emotionally perplexing coming-of-age true story about growing up in an unusual family.

"In 1984, her ground-breaking book, Father-Daughter Rape, one of the first in the world about child sexual abuse, was published in the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Biff is a winner in the Griffith Review's 2017 novella competition, Storied Lives. She is currently finalising her memoir about the Vietnam War."

During her residency, Ms Ward will present a free public reading of her work at the Historic Council Chambers in the Civic Centre, Baylis Street, Wagga Wagga, from 5.15pm to 7pm on Thursday 24 August. She will be joined by local poet Mr Maurice Corlett who will be reading his new works.

Ms Ward will also present a writing workshop from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday 26 August at Booranga Writers' Centre, Mambarra Drive, at CSU in Wagga Wagga. The workshop is free to members, and a $5 donation is requested from non-members.

Read more about Ms Ward here.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Mr David Gilbey and Ms Biff Ward.

Students get microscopic with science

Wednesday 16 Aug 2017

As part of National Science Week 2017, Charles Sturt University (CSU) lecturer Dr John Harper will encourage young scientists in Wagga Wagga on Saturday 19 August to get up close to everyday items using a microscope.

Joined by students from the University's Faculty of Science, Dr Harper will help children look down the lenses of digital, stereo, and compound microscopes.

Dr Harper will also demonstrate how the microscopic images can be captured on a mobile phone.

The free family event will be held from 10.30am to 12.30pm in the children's area in the Wagga Wagga City Library.

 "The children should bring along something to look at through the microscopes," Dr Harper said.

"It may be a pet hair sample, a plant from the garden, or even breakfast cereal. It is fascinating how these everyday items look under the microscope."

Dr Harper is a senior lecturer in plant science in the CSU School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences.

Media Contact: Fiona Halloran , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

For further information contact, CSU academic Dr John Harper on (02) 6933 2837.

Social work students from India experience Wagga

Thursday 27 Jul 2017

Kerala students in WaggaCharles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga is providing an international study program to give social work students from India experience with Australian human services organisations.

Course Director at the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences Ms Therese Jones-Mutton said the School is currently hosting two students from Rajagiri College in Kerala, India.

"The School has been visiting the university in Kerala for a number of years with groups of students and this is the first time we have been able to reciprocate the hospitality we received in Kerala," Ms Jones-Mutton said.

The students from Kerala, Ms Nefertiti Sweet and Ms Arsha Baby Joseph, are both undertaking the Master of Social Work and are here for the month of July.

"We have developed a program for them to provide exposure to a range of human services in the Wagga Wagga area," Ms Jones-Mutton said.

"Most of the students' time has been spent visiting agencies and finding out about the model of service delivery and the issues that affect marginalised Australians.

"The students also have had the opportunity to experience campus life and attend lectures."

The agencies include Relationships Australia, Wagga Women's Health Centre, and South West Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service, and the students experienced a full-day exploring the work that the Red Cross is engaged with locally.

Ms Jones-Mutton explained that the Human Services Team in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is committed to supporting a reciprocal arrangement with its international partners, and the program is supported by CSU Global.

"The School's relationship with Rajagiri College began in 2012 when one of our academics Dr Bill Anscombe visited the college in India," she said.

"Our first student study tour to Kerala was in 2015, led by our colleague Ms Heather Boetto. A second group of students visited in January this year, led by Ms Belinda Cash."

Ms Sweet and Ms Joseph were formally farewelled by CSU staff at a dinner on Wednesday 26 July prior to the conclusion of their study visit on Friday and their departure for India on Sunday 30 July.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with CSU's Ms Therese Jones-Mutton, or Ms Sweet and Ms Joseph.

Photo shows Ms Nefertiti Sweet (centre left) and Ms Arsha Baby Joseph (centre right) with Australian Red Cross CEO Ms Judy Slatyer (left) and Red Cross MSP Ms Kate Tralaggan (right)  in Wagga Wagga recently.

Slam poet champ is new Booranga Writers' Centre resident

Friday 14 Jul 2017

Zohab KhanA poetry slam champion is the new writer-in-residence at Booranga Writers' Centre at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga.

President of Booranga Writers' Centre and adjunct senior lecturer in English at the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences Mr David Gilbey said he was pleased to announce Mr Zohab Khan (pictured) as the writer-in-residence for July.

"Booranga's new writer-in-residence is a charismatic poet-performer, hip-hop artist and international educator, celebrated as a compelling raconteur, proficient didgeridoo player, harmonica beat-boxer and percussionist," Mr Gilbey said.

"Since 2006, Zohab has been building a formidable career in spoken-word poetry, culminating in taking out the title of the Australian Poetry Slam Champion in 2014. Zohab is also the co-founder of The Pakistan Poetry Slam.

"Zohab has graced stages across the world and has conducted over a thousand poetry and self-development workshops at various prestigious institutions and festivals. His workshops aim to inspire change and confidence in people through spoken-word poetry and 'brain hacks'."

Mr Gilbey explained that with the incorporation of self-development techniques, spoken-word poetry becomes not just a platform for self-expression but also a means to inspire change and increase productivity.

"As a fourth generation Australian of Pakistani heritage and having been raised in Griffith and Wagga, Zohab has channelled his distinct life experiences into exemplary stories," he said. "He confronts a range of social justice issues from racism to socio-economic disparities, and his high energy and powerful words have left many inspired."

In 2017 Mr Khan will release of his first book in Japanese, and second collection of poetry in English. See more of Mr Khan's performances on YouTube here and here and here.

A number of events featuring Mr Khan will be held in Wagga Wagga and Griffith later in July:

'Zohab at Sonder' on Friday 21 July from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, a free admission Performance Reading at Café Sonder, Fitzmaurice St, Wagga Wagga. Local slam poet Nutmeg Jacquelin will also be performing at this event. Food will be available for purchase from a special menu including share platters as well as cakes and drinks.

Writing Workshop on Saturday 22 July from 2pm to 4pm at Booranga Writers' Centre, Mambarra Drive, Wagga Wagga. Free to members, a $5 donation is requested from non-members.

Poetry Slam and Open Mic Night on Thursday 20 July from 5.30pm to 7pm at Griffith City Library, Banna Ave in Griffith. Free admission.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Mr David Gilbey and Mr Zohab Khan.

Talent at HSC English Study Day at CSU

Wednesday 14 Jun 2017

David GilbeyThe 2017 Higher School Certificate (HSC) English Study Day at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga on Friday 16 June will bring together accomplished academics, exemplary teachers from the region, and CSU graduates.

Between 500 and 600 high school students and teachers from across the Riverina region will attend the annual HSC English Study Day.

Mr David Gilbey (pictured), adjunct senior lecturer in English in the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the coordinator of the HSC English Study Day, said more than 40 lectures, workshops and discussion panels will be presented on texts and topics being studied by Standard and Advanced English students for the 2017 HSC.

"The day's focus will include poetry, prose, drama, film, techniques, writing skills, and exam tips – from William Shakespeare and Henry Lawson to contemporary Indigenous and multicultural perspectives," Mr Gilbey said.

"The students are pleased to get other perspectives on the work they're concentrating on for the HSC, and for teachers it's a useful professional development occasion.

"English teachers and academics are shining word wizards. I'm sure the day will sparkle with verbal magic," he said.

The sessions will run from 9.30am to 2.20pm and will be presented mostly by teachers of English from regional high schools and academics from CSU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Communication and Creative Industries, and from the Academic Literacy, Learning and Numeracy (ALLaN) Team.

Students and teachers will come from schools in Tumut, Young, Yanco, Leeton, Junee, Culcairn, Gundagai and Temora, as well as from Wagga Wagga and surrounds.

The HSC English Study Day is organised by the Wagga Wagga Branch of the English Teachers Association, in association with CSU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Booranga Writers' Centre.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:
Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Mr David Gilbey.

Tales From The Arabian Nights opens in Wagga Wagga

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Dominique SweeneyThe second production in the University Theatre Ensemble (UTE) 2017 season opens at the CSU Riverina Playhouse on Thursday 1 June.

Tales From The Arabian Nights is directed by Dr Dominique Sweeney (pictured) who was recently appointed as a lecturer in stage and screen acting at the Charles Sturt University (CSU) School of Communication and Creative Industries in Wagga Wagga. He is a filmmaker specialising in documenting performance practice, and in particular he has been researching and filming traditional Aboriginal performances.

CSU's third-year students of the Bachelor of Stage and Screen (Acting) students bring to life these ancient stories of The Arabian Nights recrafted by Australian playwright Donna Abela.

Dr Sweeney said, "This famous story from the Arabian Nights recounts the paranoid world of King Shahrayar who kills everyone and everything that is a potential threat until the enchanting Shahrazad bravely steps in. Risking her life she begins a tale that continues into another and another which so intrigues the King that he is utterly transformed. The storyteller changes the king and the world."

Tales From The Arabian Nights opens at the CSU Riverina Playhouse at 7.30pm on Thursday 1 June then plays Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm and Thursday 8 June to Saturday 10 June at 7.30pm, with a matinee at 2pm on Saturday 10 June.

Tickets can be booked at the Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre Booking Office, telephone 6926 9688, or are available at the door.

The University continues its policy of providing excellent value for money with tickets prices of $25 full price, $18 for groups (5 or more), $15 concession, and $12.50 for students. Book online at http://www.civictheatre.com.au/

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Dominique Sweeney.

Dr Sweeney taught acting at Screenwise, Griffith University, ANU, UWS, Macquarie and Sydney Universities and at the St Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy. He taught and directed at Sydney Theatre School and worked as an Environmental Education Ranger in Centennial Park, Sydney. In 2012 he devised and applied a drama program for autistic and multiple disability students at Wairoa school in Bondi.He trained and works as a performer, and his education included two years in Paris at L'ecole de Theatré, Jacques Lecoq.

His performance work has seen him on stages, on screen, and other locations throughout Australia. He is a core member and chair of the board of Theatre Kantanka, a company that specialize in site specific performance. He also works with Fine Line, a Lecoq-based ensemble.

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