Congratulations to all recipients!

Students who get involved in uni life above and beyond their time in the classroom make a world of difference to the University of Newcastle community. It’s this engagement in campus life and professional development that paves the way to a successful future.

At the University of Newcastle we take pride in the achievements of our students who make a difference to university life. The Student Engagement Awards is where we celebrate them.

Celebrated in the Brennan Room on Thursday 5 November, this year’s awards recognised students over six categories: Campus Life Award, Indigenous Community Engagement Award, Pathways Student Award, Global Citizen Award, Club of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO noted the importance of building campus life at the University of Newcastle and that “it’s really great to see international students, domestic students all coming together from various perspectives be it from cultural societies or even the societies within faculty and various schools.

On this page you can view the full ceremony or scroll down to read about the categories and winners.

Student Engagement Awards Results

Campus Life Award

The Campus Life Award is given to a student who has shown an outstanding commitment to enhancing the experience of their fellow students. These students are involved and active in the University of Newcastle community, they help others have a great time, they are inclusive and helpful and are active both in and out of their field of study.

They will have displayed qualities such as:

  • Good leadership skills
  • Support for their fellow students
  • Collaboration with different student groups
  • Develop new ideas and initiatives to improve the student experience at University of Newcastle
  • Reaching out to include a range of student groups

Winner: Ryan Maginnity

Ryan is the President of BusCom and student representative on the Newcastle Business School Board, where he represents the interest of over 8000 students in the Faculty. Ryan shows aptitude in governance, leadership, conflict resolution and teamwork skills. He has taken a leading role for BusCom in industry engagement, and as a PASS leader has supported fellow students throughout the pandemic. He actively seeks to include perspectives from a diverse range of students, focussed on improving outcomes for his peers.

Highly Commended: Noor Maulidiyah and Tristan Oswald

Indigenous Community Engagement Award

The Indigenous Community Engagement Award celebrates the work of an Indigenous or non-Indigenous student who has contributed to positive cultural relationships within or outside the University through activities to support and strengthen relationships and knowledge sharing. This award is available for students from the second year of their program of study.

Nominations were judged in terms of:

  • Reach and impact of engagement activities within the University and/or community
  • Demonstrated commitment to Reconciliation
  • Positive impact on other students and/or community stakeholders

Winner: Taylah Gray

Taylah is a proud Wiradjuri Ngunnawal woman in her final year of Law, having come through the Yapug pathway program. Taylah’s passion for justice, respect and change for Indigenous students and community has always been at the forefront of everything that she does. As well as contributing to various forums, performances and activities, Taylah organised and led the 2020 Black Lives Matter event in Newcastle, championing the importance of community voice.

Highly Commended: Tahlia West

Pathways Student Award

The Pathways Student Award celebrates the achievements of a student who progressed to an undergraduate program via an Enabling program. This award is available for students from the second year of their undergraduate program of study.

Nominations will be judged in terms of:

  • Leadership skills
  • Supporting their fellow students
  • Accomplishments in terms of extra-curricular or co-curricular activities
  • Positive contribution to the University community

Winner: Georgia Young

Georgia is a highly engaged student of the Ourimbah Campus and the Enabling Pathways programs, who commenced as an Open Foundation student in 2017.

Highly Commended: Robert Taylor

Global Citizen Award

The University Of Newcastle Global Citizen Award celebrates the work of a University Of Newcastle student who has embraced global experience and diversity in their educational journey and who shares this passion with their peers.

Nominations will be judged in terms of:

  • Demonstrated commitment to engage globally and/or encourage others to do so
  • Quality of global activities and engagement
  • Positive impact on other University Of Newcastle students and/or external stakeholders

Winner: Noor Maulidiyah

Noor is the international students convenor at UNSA and has advocated for international students at an International Students Welfare Roundtable meeting as well as the Council of International Students Australia and National Union of Students. She volunteers for the UON Islamic Society with a particular focus on supporting female Muslim students and contributing to society events and activities.

Highly Commended: Helen Qian and Dara Tafazoli

Club of the Year

The recipient of the Club of the Year Award is a club or society that works hard to engage a broad range of students across University of Newcastle. The club will be well organised, active, inclusive, involved in the University of Newcastle community, and the executive ensures the group helps others have a great time.

The club/society you nominate will be judged in terms of:

  • Sound governance and leadership through a well organised and cooperative executive
  • Accomplishments of the club or society including membership and impact of events and activities
  • Collaboration and engagement within the University of Newcastle community
  • Development of new ideas and initiatives to improve the student experience at University of Newcastle.


Despite this year's limitations, BREAATHE maintained their schedule of annual events including subsided first aid courses for students as well creating new COVID-safe ways to engage members. They rallied over 40 members to participate in the Royal Flying Doctors Service’s Bondi 2 Bush fundraiser involving running, walking or cycling the equivalent distance from Bondi to “the bush” – more than 250 kilometres. BREAATHE managed to raise $6500 in the middle of lockdown to fund vital health resources for our outback population.

Highly Commended: BusCom

Volunteer of the Year

The University of Newcastle Volunteer of the Year will be a student who is enthusiastic and generous with their time, they show initiative, are reliable, friendly and helpful.

The nominations will be judged in terms of:

  • Demonstrated commitment as a University of Newcastle volunteer
  • Quality of volunteering activities and engagement in the University of Newcastle volunteer program
  • Positive impact on other students and/or external stakeholders

Winner: Claire Bertholli

Claire has volunteered as a Peer Mentor since early 2019. She has been active in helping students settle into their studies and university life, providing a sense of community and connection.

Highly Commended: Naomi Arnold

    The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.