Queensland Corrective Services lead Cassandra acknowledges the value of her CQU studies

11 February 2022

Queensland Corrective Services Superintendent and CQUniversity alumnus Cassandra Cowie has revealed how much her psychology studies helped her career after she was recently recognised in the 2022 Australia Day Honours.

Cassandra received the Australian Corrections Medal' which acknowledged the 18 years she has dedicated to Corrective Services in Queensland.

Cassandra was employed by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Rockhampton and Brisbane when she completed her psychology degree' which she said gave her the foundational knowledge that would eventually lead her into Corrective Services.

"This allowed me to gain an understanding of the criminal justice system as a whole' and where the role of psychologists fit in throughout the process'" she said.

"Upon graduating' I initially worked for Queensland Health' however I was drawn back to the forensic world and Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) provided an opportunity to work across a diverse range of areas within the one agency.

"Over the past 18 years in QCS I have met some fantastic people who are so committed to the work that they do and I am always inspired by their willingness to support each other and work together in an environment which offers a new challenge each day."

She said CQU's study flexibility allowed her to achieve her qualifications while meeting the challenges of working for the DPP.

"I found the experience at CQU to be highly supportive and offered the opportunity to be exposed to some brilliant academic minds. I have been delighted to see so many regional CQU campuses continue to pop up as I think this provides an invaluable opportunity to have students experience the benefits of a regional lifestyle while they are studying'" she said.

"I still continue to use my clinical' operational and leadership skills each day to meet the requirements of my current role.

She said she believed CQU's psychology degree was "one of the most diverse and useful degrees available as it can inform any number of career paths".

"The addition of research methodology and the thesis component (whilst daunting at the time!) has also set me up to be mindful of the importance of data analysis and conducting research activities within the operational environment'" she said.

"CQU's Master of Business Administration was also very attractive to me as the flexibility around the course work means I can work at my own pace and adapt the study commitment into my work and family schedule' without being bound by key dates each year."

She said she was overwhelmed by the Australia Day Honour.

"Over 18 years in this organisation' I have enjoyed the opportunity to work across various roles which has allowed a better understanding of how we can work together the meet the challenges as they arise'" she said.

"It is not easy work' as we have the responsibility of caring for some of the most challenging people in our society' however I am always so proud to see how our people rise to meet each challenge' with our COVID pandemic response being a very recent example.

"Leading a team to manage Queensland's highest risk offenders is a challenging job' and I do feel very grateful to still be thoroughly enjoying my work within this organisation. I am privileged to work with extraordinary people each day and I look forward to many more years working together to serve our community.

"I would urge all new graduates to consider a career with QCS as the opportunities and diversity of exposure to various roles is quite unique. I also encourage graduates to take up the opportunity to spend some time working in our regional and remote communities as it provides such a wonderful career and lifestyle opportunity."