- The Charles Sturt Distinguished Alumni Awards winners and those who were highly commended were announced on Foundation Day Wednesday 19 July
- The Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of the University’s alumni
- Recipients were acknowledged in six categories: Professional Excellence, Research Excellence, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Creativity, Social Impact, Young Alumni, and Indigenous Alumni
The extensive contributions Charles Sturt University graduates make to our communities and around the globe have been acknowledged on Wednesday 19 July during the University’s Foundation Day celebrations, with the announcement of the recipients of the annual Alumni Awards.
With more than 240,000 Charles Sturt alumni both locally and internationally, the Awards celebrate the achievements and impact of the outstanding recipients and are divided into six categories: Professional Excellence, Research Excellence, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Social Impact, Indigenous Alumni, and Young Alumni.
The University recognises Foundation Day annually and 2023 marks Charles Sturt’s 34th year as a university.
Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon said all who have supported Charles Sturt would be proud of the impact the University continues to make locally, nationally and on a global scale.
“With six major campuses across Australia and as the country’s online university of choice, Charles Sturt continues to play a crucial role in regional communities in particular, delivering extensive economic and productivity benefits,” Professor Leon said.
“On average, Charles Sturt contributes more than $100 million to gross domestic product per year.”
Professor Leon said the Alumni Awards program aims to identify and recognise graduates making a difference in the world, either professionally or as a volunteer.
“Our graduates continue to make their mark across a variety of essential service areas,” Professor Leon said.
“From bringing critical information to the world through our communications courses, to keeping our borders safe with border management degrees, and pioneering cutting-edge data-science technologies in this information age, these are just some of the ways Charles Sturt contributes to the critical workforces of the future.”
Professor Leon said 93 nominations were received for this year’s awards, recognising Charles Sturt alumni making exceptional contributions to their communities and beyond.
The winners of each award are:
Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Professional Excellence Winner: Ms Anna Coren
Ms Coren’s career in communications spans more than twenty years. During this time, she has been an award-winning journalist, international correspondent, news anchor, writer and director, after completing a Charles Sturt Bachelor of Arts (Communication – Journalism) in 1997.
She has been recognised numerous times for her ground-breaking work in journalism, reporting from the front lines of some of the world’s biggest conflict zones, natural disasters, and political crises.
Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Research Excellence Winner: Dr Bin Liang
Dr Bin Liang is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Data Science at the University of Technology Sydney.
Dr Bin Liang graduated from Charles Sturt University with a PhD in Computer Science in 2016 and has contributed to leading research and projects across data analytics and machine learning.
Bin’s exceptional work has earned him numerous accolades and awards and is making a huge impact in solving business problems in Australia and internationally.
Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Social Impact Winner: The Hon. Linda Burney MP
The Hon. Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians and Federal Member for Barton is a proud Wiradjuri woman and the first Aboriginal student to graduate from the Mitchell College of Advanced Education (an antecedent institution of Charles Sturt University) with a Diploma of Teaching (General Primary) in 1979.
The Minister was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Charles Sturt University in 2002.
She is also the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the House of Representatives, serving as the Minister for Indigenous Australians and the Member for Barton.
Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Creativity Winner: Mr Craig Ford
Mr Craig Ford is a cybersecurity journalist, security engineer, ethical hacker and best-selling author who is driving a fresh approach in the information security industry in pursuit of a safer and more equitable society.
He graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Master of Management in Information Technology in 2016 and a Master of Information Systems Security in 2019.
He is the Chief Technology Officer for Baidam Solutions Pty Ltd and is a Member of the Board of Directors at the Australian Information Security Association.
Craig has received multiple professional awards throughout his career and is recognised for his considerable expertise in enhancing cybersecurity education for the next generation of industry professionals.
Charles Sturt University Indigenous Alumni of the Year Winner: Ms Teresa Cochrane
Ms Teresa Cochrane is a proud Dunghutti Gumbaynggirr woman with strong cultural connections to Birpai/Birripi and Bunjalung Country on the East Coast of Australia.
She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (First Class Honours) in 2022 and has been accepted to study a Master of Philosophy in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at the University of Oxford in 2023.
Ms Cochrane has worked at CSIRO and as an Academic Coordinator within the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy.
Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Young Alumni Winner: Ms Aimee Snowden
Ms Aimee Snowden is widely known as ‘The LEGO Farmer’ for her work as the creator of her initiative Little Brick Pastoral. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management in 2016.
Ms Snowden has been recognised for her passionate and innovative approach to agricultural education on a global scale. She has been awarded a RAS Rural Achiever (2016), ABC Heywire ‘Trailblazer’ (2018), National Farmers Federation 2030 Leader (2018), and Nuffield Australia Scholar supported by AgriFutures Australia (2023). She has also been selected to go to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) World Food Forum in Rome later this year.
Alumni who were highly commended are:
- Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Professional Excellence Highly Commended: Head of Secretariat at the Oceania Customs Organisation, Ms Nancy Oraka
- Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Research Excellence Highly Commended: Monash University Senior Director of Education within the School of Psychological Sciences, Professor Judith Gullifer
- Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Social Impact Highly Commended: Leadership and Mental Health Consultant, Author and Public Speaker, Mr Grant Edwards
- Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Creativity Highly Commended: Co-Founder and CEO of Bluerydge, Mr Jim Boekel
- Charles Sturt University Indigenous Alumni of the Year Highly Commended: Manager at Community Links and member of Disability Council of NSW, Ms Carmel Flavell
- Charles Sturt University Alumni of the Year – Young Alumni Highly Commended: Director and Senior Veterinarian at Wagga Wagga Veterinary Hospital, Dr Tristan Robinson; and Southern NSW Territory Manager at Hygain Feeds, Ms Evie Jay
The Charles Sturt Distinguished Alumni Awards were developed to align with the University ethos – ‘Yindyamarra Winhanganha’ – a Wiradjuri phrase meaning ‘the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in’.