Highest honour for our graduates

18 Jul 2019

A group of 14 exemplary graduates from the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law’s class of 2018 were named University medallists this week.

The prestigious medals are awarded annually to eligible graduates from the previous year who achieved outstanding academic results throughout their studies.

Medallist Ransi Weerasooriya with her father and her honours supervisors
Medallist Ransi Weerasooriya (centre) on graduation day in 2018 with her father (second from left) and her honours supervisors, Dr Christiern Rose (far left) and Dr Antonio Peyrache (far right). 

International student and medallist Ransi Weerasooriya said she attributed her academic success to two main factors: the unconditional support she received from family, friends, staff and supervisors at the School of Economics, and her mindset.  

“I took personal responsibility to do well because I had a Centenary Scholarship,” she said.

“I realised that many people would have applied for this scholarship and a lot of people didn’t get it – I did. And back in Sri Lanka, not many students had the means to study abroad.

“It was important for me to make the most of my opportunity.”

Weerasooriya’s UQ journey began in 2015 when she made the move from Sri Lanka to Australia to study the Bachelor of Economics.

During her four years of undergraduate and honours economics studies, she was a summer and winter research scholar, secretary of the UQ Sri Lankan Association, an international student officer for the UQ Economics Society and an economics tutor.

Since graduating with her Bachelor of Economics (Honours Class I) in 2018, Weerasooriya has remained actively involved with UQ.

She is currently studying a Master of Science specialising in mathematics, and working as a research assistant on School of Economics Professor Alicia Rambaldi’s ARC Linkage Project.

At the end of this year, Weerasooriya will begin applying to various economics and public policy PhD programs around the world, with her long-term goal being to run for government in Sri Lanka.

Looking back, Weerasooriya said she had several pieces of advice for UQ economics students.

“Take a lot of risks: if you feel a course is going to be difficult, take it to help you grow,” she said.

“Consider your study as dignity, in the sense that the harder you work, the prouder you can be of yourself.

“Don’t shy away from mathematics. Maths is the sort of thing that makes more sense and becomes more applicable the more you learn about it.

“And finally, have a sense of humour. When something goes wrong, try to see it as a funny story instead of a negative experience.”

Medallist Benjamin Wiltshire said he believed UQ provided everything he needed to help him excel – he just needed to put in the work.

“On top of hard work and the support provided by family and friends, the resources that UQ made available are what enabled me to have academic success – be that courses, guidance from lecturers and alumni or opportunities through scholarships,” he said.

“The opportunities provided by societies such as networking and case competitions, in conjunction with the alumni network, were also pivotal for the next stage of securing internships and converting these into graduate offers.”

Medallist Benjamin Wiltshire on his graduation day
Medallist Benjamin Wiltshire on his graduation day.

Wiltshire studied a dual Bachelors of Commerce/Science and later progressed into the Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) program, where he graduated as valedictorian with Honours Class I.  

While at UQ, Wiltshire participated in a range of extracurricular activities, including sports such as mixed touch football and boxing, case competitions such as the Citi Global Markets Challenge, and summer and winter internships.

He was also a joint recipient of the Matthew McLennan and Richard Howes Outstanding Honours Collaboration Scholarship, which saw him team up with a student from the School of Economics on a collaborative research article.

Today, Wiltshire works as a global markets analyst on the trading floor at Citi in Sydney.

Reflecting on his own success, Wiltshire said he would advise other students to build support networks within their cohort.

“This not only expands your friendship and professional network but facilitates collaboration, which enables you to further excel academically,” he said.

“I would also suggest investing time early on into discovering how you most effectively learn as it will make your learning more valuable and efficient as your degree progresses.

“From a professional perspective, my number one tip would be to focus on a well-rounded profile.

“By that, I mean a balance of strong academics, work experience and extracurriculars to help differentiate yourself from the pack when going for internships and graduate roles.”

Congratulations to all 2018 University medallists from the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law:
  • Zoe Brereton | Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
  • Sarah Connolly | Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
  • Rosie Gallagher | Bachelor of Business Management (Honours)
  • Gillian Gehrke | Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
  • Wanying Huang | Bachelor of Economics (Honours)
  • Lu Jin | Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)
  • Jason Lejcak | Bachelor of Economics (Honours)
  • Le Diem Quynh Pham | Bachelor of International Hotel and Tourism Management (Honours)
  • Ransi Weerasooriya | Bachelor of Economics (Honours)
  • Hannah Williams | Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
  • Benjamin Wiltshire | Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)
  • Phillip Womack | Bachelor of Economics (Honours)
  • Qiaozhi Ye | Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)
  • Jiayi Zheng | Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)

Contact: BEL Communications, media@bel.uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 9349