2020 recipients

The annual Alumni Awards celebrates the achievements of our alumni and honours their contribution to local, national and global communities.

Alumni Achievement Awards

Dr Akram Omeri OAM (PhD (Nursing) ’96)
Winner of the Alumni Achievement Award for Cultural Contribution

Born in Iran, Dr Akram Omeri OAM was the first to establish the discipline of Transcultural Nursing in Australia with the aim of ensuring every person can access culturally meaningful and appropriate nursing, healthcare and social welfare services. Her contributions have resulted in her receiving the Leininger Transcultural Nursing Award and the Nursing Scholar Award from the Transcultural Nursing Society. In 2012, she was awarded an OAM for her services to nursing in Australia.

Dr Alex Abrahams (BDS ’821)
Winner of the Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Dr Alex Abrahams transformed dental practice in Australia by establishing the largest branded dental network, Pacific Smiles Group. A philanthropist and investor, he has provided seed funding and mentorship for Group Homes Australia and Haemokinesis and established the Rosebrook Foundation to fund arts and healthcare research in Australia. Through the Foundation, Dr Abrahams donated $3.6 million to the University of Sydney’s Chair of Lifespan Oral Health. Together with his wife, Sue, he also funds an Indigenous scholarship at the University.

Professor Richard Scolyer (MD ’06)
Winner of the Alumni Award for International Achievement

Professor Scolyer is Vice President of the International Academy of Pathology and the Clinical Professor of Pathology at the University of Sydney Central Clinical School. As one of the world’s most cited scholars in melanoma pathology, in 2020 Professor Scolyer was ranked the world’s seventh leading melanoma expert in any field or discipline as well as the world’s leading melanoma pathologist. He is recognised for developing the world’s largest biospecimen bank of melanoma tissues and blood samples.

Premesh Chandran (MInternatStud ’96)
Winner of the Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

As the co-founder and CEO of Malaysiakini.com, Premesh Chandran led a media revolution in Malaysia while advocating tirelessly for freedom of the press and human rights. In 2015, Premesh exposed the Malaysian government’s unlawful detention of six political activists and since then Malaysiakini has grown to be the most popular independent news site in Malaysia, bringing news to over 8 million people. Premesh also established the Kini Academy as part of the Malaysiakini Group to create and deliver education about media and innovation. 

Dr Andrew Browning AM (MBBS ’95)
Winner of the Alumni Award for Service to Humanity

Dr Andrew Browning AM is an obstetrician and gynaecologist who has worked in Ethiopia and Tanzania for more than 17 years. He has founded three hospitals, with a fourth planned in South Sudan, helping over 80,000 women deliver their babies safely and for free, including more than 12,000 women impacted by obstetric fistula. All this work is underpinned by his tireless fundraising through the Barbara May Foundation which he co-founded. Dr Browning currently consults for the United Nations and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

Dr Hussain Nadim (PhD (Research) ’19)
Winner of the Outstanding Achievements of Young Alumni Award

As the Executive Director of Islamabad Policy Research Institute, Dr Hussain Nadim provides policy advisory to the Government of Pakistan on matters of security and peace. He received an Outstanding Service Award from the Government of Pakistan in 2015 and was recognised as a global leader in the 2016 Forbes Magazine ‘30 Under 30’. During his scholarship-funded PhD in government and international relations at the University of Sydney, he advised the Australian Federal Police and other governing bodies on how to tackle extremism.

Graduate Medals

Annabelle Traves (BMus (Perf) ’19)
Winner of the Convocation Medal for Undergraduate Leadership

Annabelle Traves joined the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at 14 through the  Rising Stars program. She has since excelled as Concertmaster for the University's Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Youth Orchestra and has collaborated with international musicians like Diana Krall and Bruce Springsteen. She initiated the Katrina Dawson Foundation Concert to empower young women and is pursuing a master's degree in solo violin performance in Germany.

Dr Jessica Talbot (BSc (Vet) ’12, BVSc ’13 PhD (Research) ’19)
Winner of the Edmund Barton Medal for Postgraduate Leadership

A recipient of an Australian Government Endeavour Research Fellowship, Dr Jessica Talbot studied fungal diseases and antifungal resistance at the world-renowned Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute in the Netherlands. During her PhD studies, she volunteered at the University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital, establishing pop-up veterinary clinic services for disadvantaged people and their pets through BaptistCare HopeStreet. She also established the Greenway Housing Commission Community-Vet-to-Pet Care Program.

Dr Mo’ayyad Suleiman (PhD(Research) ’19)
Winner of the John C Harsanyi Medal for Innovation

Dr Mo’ayyad Suleiman is the CTO of DetectED-X – an interactive program that improves the diagnostic efficacy of radiologists and other clinicians around the round. DetectED-X was awarded the Australasian Start-up of the Year for Community and Social Good by StartCon in 2019. Most recently, he was a part of the team that adapted this software to help radiologists detect COVID-19 in the lungs (CovED). Dr Suleiman’s research focuses on radiation dose optimisation for screening mammography. Dr Suleiman commends his two most influential lecturers, Professor Patrick Brennan and Professor Mark McEntee.

Dr Michelle Barakat-Johnson (RN MN PhD(Research) ’19)
Winner of the Rita and John Cornforth Medal for research excellence

Dr Michelle Barakat-Johnson is a leading senior health professional in nursing practice, a lecturer and a recognised national leader. Her doctoral research on hospital-acquired pressure injury (HAPI) used implementation science to guide a new approach and inform practice change. This resulted in a 51.4% decrease in HAPI incidence and substantial organisational cost savings as well as the formation of a NSW pressure injury collaborative. She was awarded the prestigious Excellence in Innovation in Research award from the NSW Health Nursing and Midwifery sector in 2019.

Nicholas Phipps (MIntBus ’19)
Winner of the Nigel C Barker Medal for Sporting Achievement

Nicholas Phipps is a professional Rugby Union Player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs. He has played over 200 professional games – including winning a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Nicholas is dedicated to supporting the Sydney University Football Club, and played a key role in securing a second Premiership for the Club. Nicholas is also an ambassador for the Royal Flying Doctors Service and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Nicholas’s most influential person during his time studying is David Mortimer AO.

Dr Bronwyn Bancroft (MSA ’03 MVArts ’07 PhD(Research) ’19)
Winner of the Sister Alison Bush Medal
Assistant Dean (Indigenous Education), Charles Darwin University

Dr Bronwyn Bancroft is a passionate advocate for Indigenous voices across a variety of industries and sectors. She is a Director in Arts Law, a Director in Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), and a member of the Commonwealth Bank Indigenous Advisory Council. As a senior artist and proud Bundjalung Woman, Dr Bancroft’s work is held in the collections of major institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Parliament House Art Collection, State Library of New South Wales, Australian Museum and Artbank.