Celebrating our outstanding alumni

The University's Outstanding Alumni Awards recognise and celebrate the diverse achievements of alumni, across their fields of endeavour and in their communities.

There are two levels of winners:

  1. Academic Group Winners
  2. Overall University Winners

The 2022 Academic Group Winners have been announced.

Outstanding Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2022

Keith graham

School improvement

Dr Keith Graham OAM

Bachelor of Education (Advanced Professional Development) / Graduate Certificate in Applied Linguistics (TESOL)

Keith is committed to improving national and state school outcomes.

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Melissa Luscashenko

Awarded writer

Melissa Lucashenko

Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Commerce with Honours

Melissa is an award-winning novelist, essayist and short story writer fuelled by a desire to tell untold stories about Aboriginal Australia.

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Alanna geary

Healthcare leadership

Adjunct Professor Alanna Geary

Master of Health Science in Infection Control

Alanna is a leader in working to promote a healthier Queensland.

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Lloyd hancock

Environmental achiever

Lloyd Hancock

Bachelor of Environmental Science

Lloyd is an environmental planner, manager and environmental educator whose contributions have been recognised both locally and nationally.

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Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2022

Rachael Sarra profile portrait OAA 2022

Contemporary Aboriginal artist

Rachael Sarra

Bachelor of Design

Rachael is a multi-disciplinary artist, designer and successful business woman, using art as a powerful tool in storytelling to educate and share Aboriginal culture and its evolution.

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Dennis Foley profile portrait OAA 2022

Indigenous entrepreneurship

Professor Dennis Foley

Bachelor of Business / MBA

Dennis is a Fullbright Scholar working to drive change within indigenous communities.

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Peta Phelan profile portrait OAA 2022

Social and emotional well-being

Péta Phelan

Master of Rehabilitation Counselling

Péta provides national leadership in representing First Peoples social and emotional well-being.

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MC01268-Jack-Kafoa_420x350-OAA 2022

Problem solver

Jack Kafoa

Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)

Jack is a talented problem solver, appreciating opportunities within engineering to develop not only himself, but the built environment.

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Outstanding International Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2022

Dr Antoni Tsaputra

Disability advocate

Dr Antoni Tsaputra

Master of Journalism and Mass Communication

Antoni empowers individuals and organisations to implement policies and procedures to support those with disability.

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Troy Yue

Education and knowledge

Troy Yue

Bachelor of Commerce

Troy is an education entrepreneur nurturing generations of international students to learn practical workplace skills, providing the tools for a successful career.

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Dr Donald Christian

Medical teacher and trainer

Dr Donald Christian

Graduate Certificate in Health Services Management

Donald is passionate about medical research and teaching the next generation.

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Dr Jiangli Di

Health pioneer

Dr Di Jiangli

Master of Science in Public Health / Doctor of Philosophy

Jiangli is a women’s health advocate and researcher as well as a frontline COVID-19 health worker in China.

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Outstanding Young Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2022

Morwenna Collett

Making art accessible

Morwenna Collett

Master of Music / Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours)

Morwenna is an international access expert on a mission to expand what disability in the arts looks like in Australia.

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Beny Bol OAM

Youth support and mentor

Beny Bol OAM

Master of International Law / Bachelor of Politics, Asian Studies and International Relations

Beny is dedicated to addressing youth issues and mentoring others.

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Tyson Tripcony

Serial entrepreneur & accredited sports dietitian

Tyson Tripcony

Master of Nutrition and Dietetics

Tyson is the founder, leader and manager of the most successful private practice dietetic company across Australia – Fuel Your Life (FYL).

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James Greig

Tech and passion project entrepreneur

James Greig

Bachelor of Information Technology with Advanced Studies

James is a serial entrepreneur taking his passion projects and turning them into successful businesses.

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2021 University winners

2021 Outstanding Alumnus_Card.jpg

Outstanding Alumnus

Joe Brumm

Joe's hit ABC TV show, Bluey, has become a global phenomenon, winning awards including a Logie, an AACTA and even an International Emmy Award.

Joe's outstanding story

2021 Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus_Card.jpg

Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus

Haylene Grogan

To remind herself what she's fighting for, Haylene carries around her families exemption certificates, that forbade them from moving around because they were First Peoples.

Haylene's outstanding story

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Outstanding International Alumnus

Ahmed Athif

Determined that no child should be left behind in the Maldvies education system, Athif has made a sustained contribution to inclusive and special education support.

Athif's outstanding story

2021 Outstanding Young Alumnus_Card.jpg

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM is an emergency doctor living with quadriplegia and a passionate disability advocate dedicating his life to working, teaching and researching health.

Dinesh's outstanding story

Outstanding Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2021

Diversity and inclusion champion

Andrew Hebbron

Master of Business Administration and Graduate Certificate in Policy Analysis

Director (Chief Superintendent), Queensland Ambulance Service

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Midwife and pilot

Captain Jan Becker AM

Master of Aviation Management

CEO, Becker Helicopters Pilot Academy

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Community health professional

Dr Mohit Tolani

Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Science and Graduate Diploma of Dentistry

Lead Dentist and Practice Associate, Dapto Dentists

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Emmy award winner

Joe Brumm

Bachelor of Animation (Honours)

Creator and writer of the hit series, Bluey

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Griffith University Cultural Sensitivity Warning: The Following profiles and announcement may contain images, and the name of a deceased persons essential to service and engagement. Students, Staff and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community are warned that there may be words and descriptions that may be culturally sensitive, and which might not normally be used in certain public or community contexts outside of the practical delivery of these Awards and the Announcement of this year's winners for 2021. We have spoken with the family and received permission from family to share the nomination and image of this person in celebration of their life.

Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2021

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First Peoples advocate

Haylene Grogan

Master of Public Administration

Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer and Deputy Director-General

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Professor Chris Matthews

Connecting culture and mathematics

Professor Chris Matthews

Doctor of Philosophy

Education consultant and researcher

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Vanessa Lee - Ah Mat

Cultural broker

Dr Vanessa Lee - Ah Mat

Doctor of Philosophy

Senior Academic at The University of Sydney

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Susan Hamilton Card

Barrister in the High Court of Australia

Susan Hamilton

Former CEO of the Aboriginal Family Legal Service Southern Queensland

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Outstanding International Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2021

Dr Mubashar Hasan

Social justice activist

Dr Mubashar Hasan

Doctor of Philosophy

Director, Pyrmont Consultants and Tutor at WEA Sydney

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Maria Elena Barragan-Paladines

Ecuadorian ecosystems conservationist

María Elena Barragán-Paladines

Master of Environment with Honours

Executive Director, Fundacion Herpetologica Gustavo Orces

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Inter-disciplinary nursing expert

Dr Bih-O (Becky) Lee

Doctor of Philosophy

Dean and Director of Doctoral Program in Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University

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Special needs learning pioneer

Ahmed Athif

Master of Special Needs Intervention Education and Bachelor of Education in Special Education

Lead Consultant, Voshufila Learning Center, Malé

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Outstanding Young Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2021

Malaysian entrepreneur and educator

Lee Sin Tiew

Master of Commerce

Managing Director, Artivo Education Sdn Bhd

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Jordyn de Boer

Eco-friendly entrepreneur

Jordyn de Boer

Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation Biology

Co-founder of Boomerang Bags

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2021 Queensland Australian of the Year

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM

Doctor of Medicine

Doctor, lawyer, disability advocate and spinal cord injury researcher.

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Lawyer, journalist and filmmaker

Eammon Ashton-Atkinson

Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Government and International Relations

U.S Correspondent, Video Journalist, Network 10

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2020 Outstanding Alumni University Winners

Remarkable Alumni - Nick Marshall

Outstanding Alumnus

Nick Marshall

With a strong sense of community and connection, Nick lives his dream of helping others be the best they can be and is a passionate advocate for special needs children.

Remarkable story

Remarkable Alumni - Cameron Costello

Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus

Cameron Costello

Cameron uses his entrepreneurial skills to enrich the lives of the next generation and empowers them to become advocates and carers of Country.

Remarkable story

Remarkable Alumni - Zhariff Afandi

Outstanding International Alumnus

Zhariff Afandi

Being born without arms has never hindered Zhariff's ability to lead an impactful life as an entrepreneur, humanitarian and an adventurer.

Remarkable story

Remarkable Alumni - Dr Elise Stephenson

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Dr Elise Stephenson

Dr Stephenson is living her vision of supporting the marginalised and contributing to a better society and a better world.

Remarkable story

Outstanding Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2020

Lyn Melcer_card

Champion of Indigenous super issues

Lyn Melcer

Master of Business Administration (Advanced) / Bachelor of Commerce

QSuper’s Head of Technical Advice

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Remarkable Alumni - Nick Marshall

Officially a local hero

Nick Marshall

Master of Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy

Business owner and ambassador for special needs children.

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Dr Cephas Lumina

Lawyer and human rights expert

Professor Cephas Lumina

Doctor of Philosophy / Graduate Certificate in Higher Education

Member, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

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Professor Andrew Knight_Card

Animal welfare advocate

Professor Andrew Knight

Doctor of Philosophy

Passionate advocate for animal welfare and ethics

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Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2020

Jayde Geia_card

Indigenous commercial lawyer

Jayde Geia

Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

Pioneering a new approach to law

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Remarkable Alumni - Cameron Costello

First Peoples advocate

Cameron Costello

Bachelor of Leisure Management

CEO of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation

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Dr Troy Byrnes_card

Coastal Management expert

Dr Troy Byrnes

Doctor of Philosophy  / Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language

Coastal Management expert and community lead

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Blake Jones

Early career success

Dr Blake Jones

Doctor of Medicine / Bachelor of Medical Science

Aspiring regional and rural physician

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Outstanding International Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2020

Dr Jeff Thompson_card

No stranger to conflict

Dr Jeff Thompson

Doctor of Philosophy

Hostage negotiator, counsellor and mental health ambassador

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Dr Padmavadee Thanacoody_Card

Human Resource expert

Dr P. Rani Thanacoody

Master of Human Resource Management (Honours)

An international career in research and education

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Remarkable Alumni - Zhariff Afandi

Community champion

Zhariff Afandi

Bachelor of Psychological Science

Entrepreneur, author and UNICEF ambassador

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Norbert Lenz_card

International ecologist

Professor Norbert Lenz

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science

Bachelor of Science (Honours) / Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation Biology

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Outstanding Young Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2020

Remarkable Alumni - Dr Elise Stephenson

Australian strategist and researcher

Dr Elise Stephenson

Bachelor of Government and International Relations (Honours)

Bachelor of Asian and International Studies / Bachelor of Communication

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Dr Maxwell Moody

RAAF Dental Officer, Flight Lieutenant

Dr Max Moody

Graduate Diploma Dentistry / Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Science

Dedicated to helping disadvantaged communities and mentoring others

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Dr Louise Ashton_Card2

International ecologist and researcher

Dr Louise Ashton

Doctor of Philosophy

Bachelor of Science (Honours) / Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation Biology

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Matthew Hanger_card

Houdini FX Artist and Generalist

Matthew Hanger

Bachelor of Animation

International feature film animator and industry mentor

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2019 Outstanding Alumni University Winners

Outstanding Alumnus Award

Dr Barry Kirby AO

2019 Outstanding Alumnus award winner

A former carpenter turned remote medico and founder of not-for-profit organisation ‘The Hands of Rescue’ (THOR), Dr Barry Kirby is changing lives in Papua New Guinea..

Remarkable story

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Dr Elizabeth Hamilton

2019 Outstanding Young Alumnus award winner

Armed with a goal to contribute to Global Health, Dr Elizabeth Hamilton is the 2018 Queensland Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

Remarkable story

Outstanding International Alumnus Award

Dr Hum Gurung

2019 Outstanding International Alumnus award winner

A man on an environmental mission, conservationist Dr Hum Gurung has dedicated his professional life to promoting environmental conservation.

Remarkable story

Dr Kerry Bodle

Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award

Dr Kerry Bodle

2019 Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus award winner

A self-proclaimed ‘accidental academic’, Dr Kerry Bodle uses her expertise to promote First People’s participation in business education, research and engagement.

Remarkable story

Outstanding Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2019

Ian Freckelton

Raising the bar

The Hon Justice Ian Freckelton QC

Law and justice

A distinguished 30 year career in law including oversight of some of the country's most complex cases of the time.

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International hotelier rises to the top

Dr Jennifer Cronin

International Business

Hotel openings, cyber-security threats and cultivating young talent is all in a day's work.

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Barry Kirby

Positive maternal influence

Dr Barry Kirby AO

Biomedical Science

An unlikely hero in a landscape of overburdened and unsupported PNG healthcare workers.

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Peter Horne

International research partnerships

Dr Peter Horne

Environmental Science

A career of applying science to agriculture has benefited international communities.

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Outstanding Young Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2019

Creative license

Louise Bezzina

Applied Theatre

A desire to simply 'do something' led to the creation of a highly acclaimed cultural mecca.

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Sabrina Aripen

Gender equality advocate

Sabrina Aripen

Commerce

Changing the perceptions and expectations of parental care in Malaysia.

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Beth Hamilton

Promoting health equality

Dr Elizabeth Hamilton

Medicine

A young doctor’s inspiring journey on the road to global health advancements.

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Johanna Nalau

Social scientist

Dr Johanna Nalau

Science

A facilitator of discourse about climate change nationally and abroad.

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Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2019

Pekeri Ruska

Community focused

Pekeri Ruska

Law / Arts

From the sand dunes of Stradbroke Island to the law courts of Victoria, social change is coming.

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Cultural capability

Dr Kerry Bodle

Business

The first Indigenous Certified Practising Accountant who became an 'accidental' academic.

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Cassandra Nest

Birthing stories

Cassandra Nest

Midwifery

Passed down learnings from the Ngunnawal women has led to cultural safe havens in the birthing suite.

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Outstanding International Alumnus Award - Academic Group Winners 2019

Aaron Bailey

Beating the odds

Aaron Bailey

Human Services

Just one sentence triggered a life changing ripple effect for disabled learners.

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Jacob Karaduman

Democratising finance

Jacob Hansen Karaduman

International Business

Through the generation of 'warm leads' an entire industry has been changed.

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Defense mechanisms

Ricky Patlunag Bunayog

Training and Development

Facilitating and sustaining the peace through education and training.

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Hum Gurung

International conservationist

Dr Hum Gurung

Environmental Science

An environmental mission has spread from a remote village to the world.

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2018 Outstanding Alumni university winners

Katarina Carroll Remarkable Alumni Winner Card

On the frontline

Katarina Carroll APM

Public Administration

Australia’s first female fire chief holds the torch for the next generation of leaders.

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International Businesswoman

Amanda Hodges

International Business Relations

Amanda Hodges has travelled the world as an international strategic business, investment and government affairs executive leader.

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Malaria Researcher

Professor Alan Cowman AC

Science

As Deputy Director and Head of Infection and Immunity at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Professor Alan Cowman gets to live and breathe his lifelong passion while working towards saving lives from malaria.

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Children’s Advocate

Gabrielle Quilliam

Nursing

Gabrielle Quilliam is an international thought leader in paediatric palliative care, and with her husband, co-founded the only children's hospice in Queensland, Hummingbird House.

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2018 Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award

Opportunity Advocate

Donisha Duff

Healthcare and education

Donisha Duff has worked tirelessly to improve pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as an advocate for health and supporter of girls’ and women’s educational and career opportunities.

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Renowned Artist

Delvene Cockatoo-Collins

Aboriginal tourism and arts

Delvene Cockatoo-Collins received international recognition after designing the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games medals.

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Respiratory Scientist

Darren Smith

Clinical Physiology

Darren Smith has been a respiratory scientist for more than 20 years and is a senior respiratory scientist at Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

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Clinton Schultz Remarkable Alumni Winner Card

Cultural innovator

Clinton Schultz

Psychology

A desire to help people and deep connection to culture has led this psychologist and social entrepreneur to do things a little differently.

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2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Pride in Law

Dean Clifford-Jones

Law

Dean Clifford-Jones has achieved remarkable success in the legal profession, as a crown prosecutor and a principal child protection lawyer.

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Fundraising Success

Caitlin Pearson

Business

Caitlin Pearson never intended to work in the charity or not-for-profit sector but her time at Griffith University played a big part in changing her philosophy.

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Dr Jessie Christiansen Remarkable Alumni Winner Card

Planet hunter

Dr Jessie Christiansen

Science

The great unknown of outer space is the ideal playground for a NASA astronomer.

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RAAF Dentist

Ajitha Naidu Sugnanam

Dentistry

Ms Sugnanam has excelled in her chosen profession of dentistry and dedicated herself to humanitarian work nationally and internationally.

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2018 Outstanding International Alumnus Award

European Film Producer

Petr Tichý

Film and Television

Petr Tichý is chief executive officer and chairman of the Barrandov Studios in Prague, one of the biggest and oldest film studios in Europe.

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Hospitality Pro

Thanuj de Alwis Goonewardena

Hotel Management

Thanuj De Alwis Goonewardena has 27 years’ experience in hospitality, planning, design, construction and hotels.

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Professor Qiyong Liu Remarkable Alumni Winner Card

International scientist

Professor Qiyong Liu

Health

Top scientist and public health specialist who has dedicated 30 years to combating health threats in
poor and vulnerable communities.

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Shirley Tay

Shirley (Poh Ching) Tay

Nursing

Shirley (Poh Ching) Tay is the Director of Nursing at Mount Alvernia Hospital in Singapore where she is dedicated to building affordable and safe healthcare.

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Contact Us

For questions relating to the Outstanding Alumni Awards contact the Alumni Relations Team.

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Winner announcement

The 2022 academic group winners have been announced.

Stay connected

Keep in touch with your alumni community.