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.
Sixteen inspirational Griffith University alumni have been announced as the academic group winners of the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards.
The alumni from around the globe will now progress as finalists for the overall University Outstanding Alumni Awards, to be announced in September.
Arts, Education and Laws Outstanding International alumnus for 2021, Ahmed Athif, was determined that no child should be left behind in the education system in the Maldives.
Beginning his career as a teacher, Ahmed recognised that the current curriculum had limitations to cater for students with learning difficulties or special needs and worked to influence public policy on the issue.
“I couldn’t actually believe it myself, when I won,” he said.
“I was just thinking ‘Yes, my work has been internationally recognized by the University that I graduated from. It gave me strength and hope. This kind of encouragement gives fuel for my journey.”
Alumnus Captain Jan Becker AM co-founded Becker Helicopter Services, which started in a humble tin shed in 1996. She was chosen as Griffith Sciences Outstanding Alumnus for 2021.
“When I found out I’d won the Outstanding Alumni Award I was really elated because Griffith University has such a large pool of talent, especially in the science technology and aviation sector,” Jan said.
“I was really proud. Hopefully that inspires somebody else to kind of get out there and make a difference.”
Another deserving winner, Dr Bih-O (Becky) Lee, is an academic researcher in Taiwan who completed her PhD in 2008 under the supervision of Professor Wendy Chaboyer.
Dr Lee was thrilled to receive the news that she had been named the 2021 Griffith University Outstanding International Alumnus for the Health group.
“I felt fantastic and so happy at that time,” she said.
“I repeat the sentence in my heart ‘I am always honoured to be part of Griffith University and Wendy’s student’.”
Andrew Hebbron won the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Award for Griffith Business School, recognised for dedicating his career to healthcare and public policy, first as a paramedic and now as the Chief Superintendent West Moreton district for Queensland Ambulance Service.
Griffith University congratulates all academic group winners:
Arts, Education and Law winners
- Joe Brumm (Outstanding Alumnus)
- Susan Hamilton Deceased (Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus)
- Ahmed Athif (Outstanding International Alumnus)
- Eammon Ashton-Atkinson (Outstanding Young Alumnus)
Griffith Business School winners
- Andrew Hebbron (Outstanding Alumnus)
- Haylene Grogan (Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus)
- Dr Mubashar Hasan (Outstanding International Alumnus)
- Lee Sin Tiew (Outstanding Young Alumnus)
Griffith Health winners
- Dr Mohit Tolani (Outstanding Alumnus)
- Dr Vanessa Lee – Ah Mat (Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus)
- Dr Bih-O (Becky) Lee (Outstanding International Alumnus)
- Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM (Outstanding Young Alumnus)
Griffith Sciences winners
- Captain Jan Becker AM (Outstanding Alumnus)
- Professor Christopher Matthews (Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus)
- Maria Elena Barragan-Paladines (Outstanding International Alumnus)
- Jordyn de Boer (Outstanding Young Alumnus)
Deputy Director Advancement and Head of Alumni Relations, Joanne Nyland, was awed by the incredible impact Griffith alumni were making to their professional fields and communities around the globe.
“Choosing only one winner from each award category was an incredibly difficult task for the judging panels, as there were so many very worthy nominees,” Ms Nyland said.
“Alumni continue to demonstrate the values of Griffith University, and these awards are a snapshot of their extraordinary achievements in their fields of endeavour and in their community.
“It’s a privilege to be able to recognise them with these awards.”
Nominees were assessed on their alignment with the broad selection criteria including their sustained remarkable success in, and contribution to, their chosen industry/profession and their substantial contribution to the community at local, state, national or international levels.
Also assessed was their demonstration of outstanding character with attributes in alignment with the values of Griffith University.
Learn more about the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards academic group winners.