Griffith University has named five winners at its prestigious Outstanding Alumni Awards 2023 at a ceremony on the Gold Coast, with Professor Bronwyn Harch and Jasmina JoldiÄ‡ PSM jointly taking out the top gong.
Interim Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Bronwyn Harch received the award for her illustrious and wide-ranging career in science which began as a curious helper on the family’s Lockyer Valley farm where she helped her father to crop cabbages, cauliflowers, potatoes and onions.
Farming sparked the interest of the budding statistician in the making, but it wasn’t until a cohort of visiting Griffith University lecturers came to her school to talk about STEM-based courses that she found a pathway to her passions, and a Bachelor of Science degree based at the Nathan campus.
Her degree led to career opportunities at the CSIRO, Griffith, various state and federal government advisory committees and eventually her role as Interim Queensland Chief Scientist.
Master of Public Administration (Policy) graduate from Griffith’s School of Government and International Relations, Jasmina JoldiÄ‡’s career trajectory exemplifies the transformative power of education.
Ms JoldiÄ‡’s family fled the war in Bosnia when she was just a teenager, and moved to Germany before resettling in Brisbane where she finished her final year of High School with little or no command of English.
Fast forward more than two decades and Ms JoldiÄ‡ now holds five tertiary degrees, scaled the heights of the public service to become the Acting Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General in Queensland, and received a Public Service Medal for her leadership in delivering critical functions and outcomes for Queenslanders during COVID.
The Overall Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award was given to Dean Gibson, a Digital Media Production graduate, for his impressive resume as a multi-award winning and proud Guugu Yumithirr film-maker.
Mr Gibson has more than 20 years of experience creating, writing, directing, editing, and producing content which gives a voice to Indigenous people with a story to tell.
His vision is to create films that will be around for future generations to watch, enjoy and most importantly, learn from, through his company Bacon Factory Films.
Dr Sultan AlNeyadi, who spent six months orbiting earth as part of a mission aboard the International Space Station, was named as the Overall Outstanding International Alumnus for 2023.
Dr Sultan studied a Master’s degree in Information and Network Security on the Gold Coast campus, before going on to complete his PhD in data leakage prevention technology.
His studies served him well as one of the flight engineers with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6.
The Overall Outstanding Young Alumnus Award was presented to Raymond Siems, a Bachelor of Engineering graduate who has produced powerful outcomes for workplace diversity and gender equality, reducing material waste, and supporting frontline healthcare workers.
Mr Siems’s aptitude for identifying problems and creating solutions for both business and community has taken him across the world, earning him immense success as a software and social entrepreneur.
Of the many projects he’s been pivotal to, the most personally impactful has been the Healthcare Workers Foundation in which Mr Siems and his team created a secure website which provided critical support for frontline NHS workers in the UK, raised millions in donations and provided more than 550,000 items from PPE to meals and childcare.