Announcing our student 2021 Employability Excellence Award winners!

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Congratulations to all our students on these tremendous achievements.

Employability Excellence Awards 2021 achievers announced

Our student achievers have been selected from an outstanding field of 90 nominations, and their stories highlight exceptional achievements in Work Integrated Learning, extracurricular activity, entrepreneurship and paid internships.

Student Employability Achievement Award:

Mikyla Peters

Mikyla has consistently sought out opportunities to develop her employability, through participation in internships, relevant paid work, community engagement and volunteering programs.

Throughout her studies, Mikyla has dedicated time to the community across multiple University of Newcastle roles including Residential Mentor with Student Living, an Embedded Systems Engineer for 3ME Electrified Vehicles and most recently as the University of Newcastle’s Robotics Laboratory (NUbots) Team Manager. In each of these positions, Mikyla sharpened her employability skills in decision-making, creativity and adaptability. All of which have helped her “develop a competitive edge in the job market.” Mikyla’s drive to succeed and broaden her knowledge make her a fitting recipient of this award.

Student Intern / Cadet of the Year

Ryan Maginnity

Combined Business and Commerce student Ryan Maginnity has been named the Student Intern/Cadet of the Year for 2021. This year, Ryan spent time working within the Business & Market Intelligence team at the Port of Newcastle. There, he was involved in numerous aspects of the company, acquiring valuable skills in critical thinking, stakeholder consultation and managing time pressures. Be it market and supply chain analysis or research into new energy initiatives, Ryan approached tasks with genuine curiosity and as an opportunity to learn and continually improve.

Port of Newcastle Business Intelligence Manager Mark Pont says Ryan “made a particular and valuable contribution to the Port of Newcastle analysing and developing scenarios to examine the future in energy electricity.” Ryan considers this cadetship at Port of Newcastle to be the highlight of his university journey, an opportunity to explore his passions and play a part in innovative and transformational projects. Recently, Ryan landed an internship with JP Morgan in their infrastructure, energy and renewables division and is set for an exciting move to Sydney. We wish him all the best!

Student Entrepreneur of the Year

Ashley Harrison

Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Laws (Honours) student Ashley Harrison is being recognised as the University of Newcastle Student Entrepreneur of the Year. During the pandemic, she focused on helping young women who faced online abuse and extortion. Through her company Verified Associates Ashley searches the web for copyrighted content and ensures that stolen images are taken down. Often, she won’t charge women, simply wanting to help those in need. Over the past year, Ashley has gained recognition for her selfless work from several news outlets along with a feature on Channel Nine’s, 60 Minutes.

Ashley has protected the identities of hundreds of women online and continues to do so, all while studying full-time and maintaining employment. Within her company, she exclusively contracts women to provide valuable opportunities in a male-dominated field. Ashley’s entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to enhancing online safety and women’s career opportunities make her a deserving recipient of an Employability Excellence Award in 2021

Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year

Michelle Wellard

Michelle Wellard has been awarded the Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year in recognition of her efforts during a hospital placement as part of her Bachelor of Midwifery. During her time at the Belmont Midwifery Group Practice, Michelle focused on one-to-one woman-centred continuity of care experiences (CCE’s). CCE involves providing care for women throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period, ultimately improving outcomes for both mother and baby.

Going above and beyond, Michelle structured her learning around four CCE women, with varied support needs, including vulnerable patients. By doing so, she was able to take advantage of extensive opportunities to engage in mentorship with experienced midwives, enhancing her confidence, skills and understanding of each woman’s hopes and concerns. Her confident, patient-centred approach and dedication to increasing her employability and CCE midwifery skills is why Michelle is a worthy recipient of this Employability Excellence Award.

Krystal Goodman, Kaitlyn Cooper and Sammii Downs

Krystal Goodman, Kaitlyn Cooper and Sammii Downs have collectively achieved themselves the Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year for 2021.

Over the summer break, they dove headfirst into six weeks of intense design work at Studio Zed (a popup design studio) working with real clients towards real outcomes. Working across two major projects – the This is Not Art Festival and branding for the University of Newcastle’s very own restaurant, Local Connections. The trio gained crucial experience on what it’s like to be a designer in the field. From furthering their design skills, to picking up valuable interpersonal skills that are critical for successful professionals in their field, this team executed the work with style, composure and a high degree of professionalism. All three are now making great strides towards full-time roles, working alongside amazing brands and designers.

Nicholas Harris

Nicholas Harris has been awarded the Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year for his development of an emotional regulation and social skills program for Year 1 and 2 primary school students. Involving therapeutic interventions, training and development for both students and parents along with group therapy for children, Nicholas has seen amazing improvements in the wellbeing of all those involved. Infused with a passion for working with children, Nicholas believes “kids can benefit most from good role models”.

Through the program, he’s been able to form valuable connections with stakeholders, engaging with teachers, admin, staff and parents. A number of his written reports have enabled students to register for NDIS funding, which assists schools to hire learning support officers. Nicholas will soon be applying to become a registered psychologist, where he will continue to learn and expand his professional skills to the benefit of future clients and the wider community.

To see more about our student achievers as well as our highly commended students, head to the Employability Excellence Awards website.


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