group of 2023 finalists of the alumni awards


Professional Excellence Award

Faye McMillan AM, Professor of Indigenous Health, University of Technology Sydney

A proud Wiradjuri woman, Professor Faye McMillan is an esteemed leader and voice for Aboriginal health and education who has tirelessly championed the health, wellbeing and equity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She is the first Indigenous Australian to receive the prestigious Harkness Fellowship, awarded earlier this year. In 2019, Professor McMillan was awarded NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year, and in 2021, she was made a member of the Order of Australia.

Faye holds a Master of Indigenous Health from UOW.

Prof Faye McMillan UOW Alumni Awards

Young Alumni Award

Dr Natalie Matosin, Senior Research Fellow, University of Wollongong

Dr Natalie Matosin has risen to international prominence for her pioneering research, providing major insights into the brain biology of mental illnesses, influencing industry partners, international researchers and clinicians to drive drug discovery, inform human clinical trials, and identify novel drug targets. Hailed as a promising future leader in science with accolades such as the ‘Forbes 30 under 30 Award’ in 2017 and one of Women’s Agenda’s ‘Top 15 Australian Graduates to Watch’, Dr Matosin’s work is highly cited, reflecting the calibre and impact of her research.

Natalie holds a Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours), and a Doctor of Philosophy from UOW.

Dr Natalie Matosin UOW Alumni Awards

Social Impact Award

Honorary Professor Tanya Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Council Australia

Honorary Professor Buchanan has made considerable contributions to public health through her leadership and commitment to improving health concerns in our community. As CEO of Cancer Council Australia, she is highly influential in Australia’s approach to cancer treatment, prevention and research and oversees national public health campaigns to prevent and control cancer. Honorary Professor Buchanan contributes to a range of national public health panels and committees through board, chair and committee roles across leading national cancer advocacy groups, as well as continuing to be actively involved in research herself. 

Tanya holds a Doctor of Philosophy from UOW.

PhD student during graduation 2022

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award

Paul Smith, Founder and Chairman Total Sports Entertainment, Chairman and Owner Sydney Kings and Flames

Paul Smith is a global leader in sports marketing. He founded the world’s most prominent sports marketing research business, Repucom, changing how consumer research was delivered and used to measure sports sponsorships. Repucom became the global benchmark in sports research, servicing every major brand and league, operating across 18 countries when sold to Neilsen Media Research in 2019. Paul returned to Australia to focus on his Total Sports Entertainment agency and acquire the Sydney Kings men’s and Sydney Flames women’s basketball teams, where he is harnessing his thirst for innovation and excellence to achieve Australian basketball records. 

Paul holds an Associate Diploma in Sports Science from UOW.

Paul Smith UOW Alumni Awards

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award (Group)

Glenn Farrant and Jahmai Lay, CEOs and Founders, Critical Arc

Glenn Farrant and Jahmai Lay (pictured above) are outstanding entrepreneurs who have transformed the security industry with their innovative SafeZone application. Developed during their founding residency at UOW’s iAccelerate Startpad, SafeZone has fundamentally changed how incident detection and response occurs in tertiary education, healthcare, transportation, aerospace and other industries, making campuses and workplaces safer in more than 80 countries around the world. 

Glenn holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science), and Jahmai holds a Bachelor of Computer Science, both from UOW.

Jahmai Lay UOW Alumni Awards

Research & Scholarship Award

Distinguished Professor Omowunmi Sadik, Director, BioSMART Center, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Professor Omowunmi Sadik is a widely respected and influential chemist, researcher and trailblazer in her field. Professor Sadik has been awarded numerous fellowships, including Harvard University’s Distinguished Radcliffe Fellowship, in recognition of her accomplishments in science, innovation and research. She holds five US patents for her groundbreaking biosensor and sustainable nanotechnology inventions and is a co-founder of the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization. 

Omowunmi holds a Doctor of Philosophy from UOW.

A collage of a researcher performing chemsitry in a lab, then at UOW gradaution.

Arts & Culture Award

Dr Virginia Keft, Artist, Curator and First Nations Producer

Dr Virginia Keft is a proud Muruwari woman and an award-winning researcher in her field. She is a queer, multi-disciplinary artist and curator and First Nations producer. Dr Keft has produced and curated artistic and cultural programs that celebrate and recognise the continuity of culture and important contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples have made and continue to make. Her role as an emerging leader has been recognised by her inclusion in the National Gallery of Australia’s 2022 Indigenous Art Leadership Program, confirming her as an artist at the forefront of contemporary art practice. 

Virginia holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Honours) and a Doctor of Philosophy from UOW.

UOW Alumni Awards Dr Virginia Keft

Year Award Winner UOW Degree/s
2022 Professional Excellence Prof John Daly Bachelor of Arts, 1987
Master of Education (Honours), 1989
Young Alumni Dr Justin Cain Bachelor of Science (Exercise Science), 2012
Doctor of Medicine, 2017
Young Alumni Sally O'Donnell Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws, 2010
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Dr Alexander Badran Bachelor of Mathematics Advanced Honours, 2009
Social Impact Jessica Smith OAM Bachelor of Science, 2007
Research & Scholarship Prof Justin Yerbury AM Bachelor of Commerce, 1995
Bachelor of Science (Honours) - Advanced, 2004
Doctor of Philosophy, 2008
2021 Professional Excellence Monica Barone Master of Creative Arts, 1991 
Young Alumni Susan Zhang

Master of Information Communication Technology, 2011
Bachelor of Computer Science, 2010

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Ray Tubman

Bachelor of Mathematics, 1988

Social Impact Anuradha Gupta Master of Business Administration, 1993 
Research & Scholarship Anthony Okely

Bachelor of Education (Honours) (Physical & Health Education), 1993
Doctor of Education, 1999

2020 Professional Excellence Van Badham

Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing), 1996

Young Alumni Rick Martin

Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) / Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry), 2014

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Katherine McConnell

Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Commerce (Japanese, Economics & Management), 1999

Social Impact  Carol Kiernan

Bachelor of Arts, 1977
Bachelor of Arts (Honours), 1978

2019 Professional Excellence Paul Harris

Bachelor of Education (Physical & Health Education), 1999

Young Alumni Julia Green Bachelor of Medical and Radiation Physics, 2008
Masters of Science, 2011
Research & Scholarship Professor Aibing Yu

Doctor of Philosophy (Materials Engineering), 1990

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Mike Sneesby

Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering), 1996

Social Impact  Dr Sameer Dixit Master of Science (Biotechnology), 1996
Bachelor of Science (Honours), 1999
2018 Professional Excellence Tanya de Hoog Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering), 1996
Young Alumni Tom Moore Bachelor of Commerce, 2010
Research & Scholarship Professor James Goudkamp Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Laws, 2003
Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, 2005
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Natalie Chapman Graduate Certificate in Management, 1998
Master of Commerce, 2002
Master of Business Administration, 2009
Social Impact  Diane Manns Master of Business Administration (Executive), 2016 
2017 Professional Excellence Matt Bullock Bachelor of Computer Science (Computer Science & Mathematics), 1993 
Young Alumni  Deng Adut Master of Laws (Criminal Prosecutions), 2014
Research & Innovation  Dr John Best Doctor of Philosophy (Mathematics), 1991
Social Impact  Sally Riley Bachelor of Creative Arts (Theatre), 1991
2016    Professional Excellence Dr Ken Silburn Doctor of Education, 2009 
Young Alumni  Larissa Robertson Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), 2004 
Research & Innovation  Prof Peter Quinn Bachelor of Science (Hons), 1977
Social Impact  Kate Swaffer  Master of Science (Dementia Care), 2014 
2015     Professional Excellence  Sunil Chandra Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Engineering), 1995
Young Alumni  Kimberley Abbott  Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical)/Bachelor of Science (Exercise Science), 2012 
Research & Innovation  Prof Alex Frino Bachelor of Commerce (Accountancy), 1989 
Master of Commerce (Hons) (Accountancy), 1991
Social Impact  Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey  PhD Education, 2009
Graduate Certificate in Business Coaching, 2011
2014    Outstanding Alumni  The Honourable Tashi Wangmo Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical), 1998  
Young Alumni  Dr Teena Downton  Bachelor of Medical Science, 2008
Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery, 2012 
Community Service  Grahame Gould  Master of Clinical Psychology, 2000  
2013    Outstanding Alumni  Prof Patricia Davidson  Bachelor of Arts, 1985
Master of Education, 1993  
Young Alumni  Tristan Knowles OAM  Bachelor of Commerce, 2005 
Community Service  Glen Moore  Bachelor of Science, 1968