Albury-Wodonga local awarded University Medal

13 DECEMBER 2019

Albury-Wodonga local awarded University Medal

Charles Sturt will award a University Medal to environmental science and management student Mr Mitchell Cowan at his upcoming graduation ceremony.

  • Charles Sturt to award Albury-Wodonga student Bachelor Honours University Medal
  • Environmental science and management student Mr Mitchell Cowan will receive the award at his graduation on Wednesday 18 December
  • The Albury-Wodonga local said he is “humbled” to receive the award and plans on undertaking a PhD next year

Local Albury-Wodonga student Mr Mitchell Cowan will be awarded the Bachelor Honours University Medal by Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) at his upcoming graduation.

Mr Cowan has finished four years of study with the University and will graduate with a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (Honours) on Wednesday 18 December.

Speaking of being awarded a University Medal, Mr Cowan said he was honoured to receive the award.

“I am feeling very humbled and grateful to be awarded the Bachelor of Honours University Medal,” he said.

“As much as I am pinching myself, I would not have achieved this without the support of my research supervisors and family, so the achievement is shared with them equally.”

As part of his honours study, Mr Cowan researched the denning requirements of female northern quolls in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and the implications of creating artificial refuges for the quolls.

“I had always wanted to work with animals in some capacity, and I was lucky enough that my supervisors provided me with a fantastic opportunity to do just that during my honours study,” Mr Cowan said.

“During my research, I examined three different types of quoll dens: occupied natural dens, unoccupied natural dens, and artificial dens.

“I discovered the dens the northern quolls occupied were those that were deeper and cooler.

“Although the artificial refuges mimicked natural den temperatures, they were shallower and had decreased habitat structure surrounding them compared to occupied natural dens.

"Based on my research, I think there is definite scope for improvement of the artificial dens to more closely mimic the natural occupied dens."

Mr Cowan wanted to thank his project supervisors for the support that he attributes the success of his project to.

“My supervisors were Associate Professor Dale Nimmo, Dr Judy Dunlop, Dr James Turner, and Mr Harry Moore,” he said.

“Their support in terms of fieldwork, research, and writing and just general encouragement was immense.”

Although Mr Cowan has been studying for the past four years and is excited to graduate, he has plans for further study.

“When I was a kid it wanted to be a writer, a carpenter, or a zookeeper. I am so excited to graduate with a degree in a field that allows a mix of all three, which is unreal,” Mr Cowan said.

“Now if all goes to plan, I’m hoping to undertake a PhD at the beginning of next year with Charles Sturt University researching the use and design of artificial refuges for quolls.

“The PhD project will a great opportunity for me to work with my supervisors again.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Ms Jenny Roberts said she congratulates Mr Cowan on his graduation and wishes him all the best for his future studies and in his career.

“Mr Cowan is an ambitious student who has excelled academically during his time at Charles Sturt University,” she said.

“To be awarded a University Medal is a great accomplishment and a testament to Mr Cowan’s diligence during his studies and honours research project”

Mr Cowan will graduate from Charles Sturt at the 9.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 18 December at the Albury Entertainment Centre. Two more graduation ceremonies will follow at 2pm and 6pm.

Charles Sturt awards one Bachelor Honours University Medal per Faculty in each academic year. To be eligible for the Medal, students must achieve Class 1 as an overall grade for the honours course, and at least one examiner is required to indicate that the students’ thesis or dissertation is at a level consistent with the award of a University Medal (a mark of 90 per cent or higher).  

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Mr Mitchell Cowan, contact Rebecca Tomkins at Charles Sturt Media on 02 6365 7111 or

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