The University of Newcastle, Australia

Meet our 2019 Alumni Awards Achievers

The University of Newcastle is proud to announce the Achievers for the 2019 Alumni Awards. The calibre of nominations this year was extremely high and we are thrilled to showcase and celebrate our 25 outstanding finalists from across the globe.

The University’s prestigious Alumni Awards celebrate the exceptional leadership and limitless innovation of our alumni who have inspired others and made a positive contribution to their local, national and international communities. The University is built on the successes of our alumni, and we are rightly proud of their legacy.

We will be celebrating the incredible achievements of all of our Achievers at the 2019 Alumni Awards Gala Breakfast on Thursday 5 September 2019 at Callaghan Campus. Join us and show your support for for our boundless world-changers - tickets for the event are now on sale!

Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence

2019 Achiever - Dr Ruth Lopert

Dr Ruth Lopert

Consultant, LWC Health
M Medical Science (Clinical Epidemiology) 2001; B Medicine 1995

Dr Ruth Lopert is a public health physician and independent consultant in global health, pharmaceutical policy and health technology assessment.

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2019 Achiever - Steven McArthur

Steven McArthur

Scientific Director, Genea
B Science 1993

As Scientific Director at Genea, Steven McArthur has made a major impact in the world of fertility and his innovations have contributed to the doubling of successful IVF procedures since the 1990s.

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2019 Achiever - Liesl Tesch AM

Liesl Tesch AM

Member for Gosford, NSW Legislative Assembly
Grad Dip Education 1996; B Science 1991

Liesl Tesh AM is a Member of Parliament, Paralympian and Australian sporting ambassador.

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Newton-John Award

2019 Achiever - Gavin Langley

Gavin Langley

Senior Associate at Gehry Partners
B Architecture 1992; B Architecture Design 1988

Gavin Langley is a seasoned architect who has worked across the world, bringing the elements of design and sustainability to everything he has accomplished in the past 30 years.

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2019 Achiever - Rosemarie Milsom

Rosemarie Milsom

Director, Newcastle Writer's Festival
Grad Dip Education 1995; B Arts 1994

In 2012, Rosemarie Milsom, who was then working as a full-time journalist at the Newcastle Herald and juggling two small children, created and launched the inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival.

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2019 Achiever - Nick Mitzevich

Nick Mitzevich

Director, National Gallery of Australia
Grad Dip Education 1995; Grad Dip Art 1993; B Visual Arts 1992

As Australia's leading arts curator, Nick Mitzevich has made major contributions to Australia’s cultural life.

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Indigenous Alumni Award

2019 Achiever - Dr James Charles

Dr James Charles

Associate Professor, Deakin University
PhD 2017

As a proud Kaurna man from the Adelaide Plains, Dr James Charles is leading the way in the world of podiatry and Indigenous health.

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2019 Achiever - Dr Mark Wenitong

Dr Mark Wenitong

Public Health Medical Advisor, Apunipima Cape York Health Council
B Medicine 1994

As one of the first Indigenous medicine graduates in Australia in 1994, Dr Mark Wenitong completed his medical studies as a mature-age student and proceeded to join World Vision and work in Central Australia where he encountered some of the harshest health challenges.

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2019 Achiever - Luke Pearson

Luke Pearson

Director of IndigenousX
B Teaching 2004 / B Arts 2004

Luke Pearson is a Gamilaroi man, teacher, public speaker, and trainer and Founder of @IndigenousX, which uses the alternative media space and unique characteristics of the Internet to renegotiate the representation of Indigenous voices.

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Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award

2019 Achiever - Dr Serene Yoong

Dr Serene Yoong

ARC DECRA Fellow, University of Newcastle
PhD Behavioural Science 2014; B Nutrition & Dietetics 2009

Dr Serene Yoong is an award winning scientist who has developed an outstanding research track record and established a national and international reputation as an expert implementation scientist in the field of non-communicable disease prevention.

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2019 Achievers - Dr Georgina Ramsay

Dr Georgina Ramsay

Assistant Professor, University of Delaware
PhD Sociology & Anthropology 2016; B Science Hons 2011

Dr Georgina Ramsay’s work and research has had significant global impact and has emerged as a leading critical voice regarding current issues of displacement, humanitarianism, and the global refugee regime.

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2019 Achievers - Dr Emma Beckett

Dr Emma Beckett

Nutritionist Researcher, University of Newcastle
PhD Food Science 2016; M Science Mgt 2011; Grad Dip Clinical Epidemiology 2010; B Biomedical Science Hons 2007

Dr Emma Beckett is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellow at The University of Newcastle. Her research area is in the field of molecular nutrition focusing on gene-nutrient-environment interactions

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International Leadership Award

2019 Achiever - Dr Isiye Ndombi

Dr Isiye Ndombi

Consultant, the Resina Group
MBA 2009

Dr Isiye Ndombi is an internationally recognised health development and social policy expert , a leader with over 25 years of international work in more than 20 countries.

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2019 Achiever - Sherrill Whittington

Sherrill Whittington

International Consultant
Dip Education 1970; B Arts 1969

Sherrill Whittington is an expert with more than 25 years of international experience in women’s leadership and governance, particularly in post-conflict and developing environments.

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National Leadership Award

2019 Achiever - Tandin Wangmo

Tandin Wangmo

CEO / Executive Director, RENEW
M Educational Studies 2010; Grad Cert Educational Studies 2010

Tandin Wangmo is CEO of the Bhutanese non-profit RENEW - Respect, Educate, Nurture, Empower Women - which works with families affected by domestic and gender-based violence (DV/GBV) and is the only Civil Society of its kind in Bhutan.

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2019 Achiever - Noni Purnomo

Noni Purnomo

CEO, Blue Bird Group
B Engineering 1995

Noni Sri Ayati Purnomo is a highly recognised business leader and philanthropist in Indonesia. She is the President and CEO of the family-owned Blue Bird Group Holding, the largest taxi company in Indonesia.

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2019 Achiever - Dr Eileen Doyle

Dr Eileen Doyle

Company Director, Board Member, various
PhD Mathematics 1986; M Mathematics 1980; B Mathematics 1977

With an exceptional career spanning more than three decades, Dr Eileen Doyle has led large corporations in executive roles, several Non-Executive Director roles and as Chairman.

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Regional Leadership Award

2019 Achiever - Dr Kirsten Molloy

Dr Kirsten Molloy

CEO, HVCCC
PhD Chemistry 1998; B Science Hons 1993

As CEO of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator (HVCCC), Kirsten Molloy leads the coordination of a globally-significant supply chain for a $23 billion industry.

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2019 Achiever - Graeme Irwin

Graeme Irwin

Principal, St Philip Christian College
Dip Teaching 1982

Graeme Irwin has been a pioneer, developer and a leader in quality and affordable education in the Hunter region for over thirty years

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Exceptional Community Service Award

2019 Achiever - Philip Sketchley

Philip Sketchley OAM

Music Educator
B Education 1988

Philip Sketchley OAM has been an integral part of the Hunter region’s music community with over 50 years of service as a teacher, pianist, fundraiser, conductor, accompanist, and musical director.

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2019 Achiever - Lee Shearer APM

Lee Shearer APM

Managing Director, Lee Shearer & Associates
UON Open Foundation Student

As an exceptional leader across sectors, Lee Shearer’s work has greatly impacted our region in her various roles, delivering strong tangible outcomes for communities.

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2019 Achiever - Renée Bianchi

Renée Bianchi

Barrister, 13th Floor St James Hall Chambers
B Law 2007 / Dip Legal Practice 2007; B Biomedical Science Hons 2004

Renée Bianchi’s exemplary record of voluntary community service within and outside the legal profession has enhanced the reputation of the University through volunteering, mentorship and leadership for both the law profession and for the greater community.

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Young Alumni Award

2019 Achiever - Brendan Swansborough

Brendan Swansborough

Group Account Director, Enigma
B Business 2008; B Economics 2008

Growing up in rural NSW, Brendan Swansborough has honed his exceptional talents in advertising, surrounded by some of the best advertising talent in the world.

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2019 Achiever - Jessie Porteus

Jessie Porteus

Founding Director, The Learned Crew
B Law 2011 / Dip Legal Practice 2011; B Economics 2009

Jessie Porteus is an active young leader of the legal profession, and is dedicated to the development of our next generation of lawyers through mentoring and thought leadership.

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2019 Achiever - Bhavi Ravindran

Dr Bhavi Ravindran

Junior Medical Officer (Doctor)
B Medicine 2018; B Medical Science Hons 2017

Dr Vivak (Bhavi) Ravindran, is a Junior Doctor focused in the area of public health and infectious diseases. He has completed rotations in Chennai, India and an internship and consultancy with the World Health Organisation in Manila.

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2018 Alumni Award recipients

2018 Alumni Award Recipients