Study UK alumni awards

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Sharing alumni success

The prestigious Study UK Alumni Awards are a celebration of alumni who, in many ways, are making a difference to the world we live in.

We’re so proud of the Essex graduates whose inspiring work has been recognised over the years. Could you be the next award winner?

Hosted by the British Council, the Study UK Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. They feature leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions, and countries.

Alumni who reach the finals benefit from increased PR and press opportunities, from both Essex and the British Council, which raise their profile and share their success with international audiences. Winners of the global awards will be celebrated on an international scale and invited to the UK for a networking and professional development opportunity.

With new award categories, it’s an exciting time to apply and shout about your success.

Science and sustainability

Recognising alumni who have distinguished themselves through their career and achievements in the world of science and sustainability, and who can demonstrate the impact and scale of their achievements in their profession, and beyond.

Areas of work could include: Climate action, clean energy, medicine, sustainable cities and communities, engineering, industry and construction. 

Culture and creativity

Recognising alumni who have carved a career for themselves in arts and culture. We are looking for individuals who can demonstrate their artistic ingenuity, influence and creativity.

Areas of work could include:  Arts, design, media, video, TV, music, bloggers, vloggers, Youtubers and the humanities. 

Social action

Recognising alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others.

Areas of work could include: Reducing inequality, poverty and hunger. Education and upskilling.  Peace and justice. 

Business and innovation

Recognising alumni who are active in initiating and contributing to innovative or creative new ideas, solutions or business opportunities, that have the potential for growth.

Areas of work could include: Entrepreneurship, business, technology.

How to apply

Essex alumni are out in the world doing incredible things and they deserve to be recognised. The Study UK Alumni Awards are open to alumni living outside of the UK. Visit the Study UK Alumni Award page for dates and deadlines, a timeline of this year’s awards and useful application tips.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Graduated within the last 15 years (i.e. 2009 - 2024)
  • enrolled at an officially recognised body or received a recognised award from a UK higher education institution
  • at degree level* or above
  • either at a UK university in the UK, for a minimum of one term or semester, OR awarded a full UK degree level qualification (or higher), awarded by a recognised UK HEI, outside the UK

Read the terms and conditions for full details. 

Essex alumni in the Awards

Over the years, we are proud to have seen many Essex alumni featured in the Awards and have their incredible achievements recognised. 


Beatriz Neviani Coslovsky 

National Finalist (Brazil) - Culture and Creativity Award

Beatriz graduated from Essex in 2019 with a BA in Curatorial Studies, and made the finals of the British Council’s prestigious alumni awards in Brazil for her work researching and archiving one of the country’s leading contemporary artists, Tunga. Beatriz spent three years as the first researcher for Instituto Tunga, a foundation preserving the estate and legacy of the artist following his death in 2016 with the hope of preserving his legacy and opening his works up to a global audience.

After completing the initial cataloguing for the Instituto Tunga, Beatriz moved to A Gentil Carioca, one of Brazil’s most respected commercial galleries. There, she connected with young and emerging artists in the city, representing them and the gallery across the globe as an archivist and salesperson.

Read the full story.

Rana Alghamdi

National Finalist (Saudi Arabia) - Science and Sustainability Award

Dr Rana Alghamdi (PhD Cell and Molecular Biology, 2017) has been recognised in the prestigious awards for completing completed important cancer research while rising through the ranks at one of Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious universities, King Abdulaziz University. 

Her research has focused on colon cancer, and she is an active primary investigator of the Regenerative Medicine Unit at King Fahd Medical Research Centre, where her current focus is on utilising the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tool in colorectal cancer research. Alongside her research, she’s held several positions to empower her wider community and aiming to inspire young women in science.

Sarai Lambert

National Finalist (France) - Business and Innovation Award

After Sarai Lambert graduated from Essex with an undergraduate and Masters degree in Art History, she moved to Paris not knowing she'd take a total shift in career. After mastering the language, Sarai took a second Masters entirely in French and in a completely new subject area - business. After graduating, she was headhunted to join Talend, a top software company, where she successfully spearheaded its expansion into English-speaking markets. Sarai's been recognised in the awards for her success and expertise in business and innovation. 

Alongside her corporate career, Sarai's volunteered her time to mentor girls in deciding their next steps after high school. 


Muhammad Alzaidi

National winner (Saudi Arabia) - Culture and Creativity Award

Muhammad graduated from Essex with a MA in Linguistics in 2010 and a PhD in Linguistics in 2014. He is currently an an Assistant Professor at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia where he chairs the Saudi Society of Linguistics and teaches MA and PhD students. Having always understood the importance of interacting with people from different countries and cultures, he set up a  YouTube channel, Linguistics Café. He now has over 1,700 followers, and uses the platform to teach and inspires people around the world for free.

Read the full story.

Shynar Aldazhumanova

National finalist (Kazakhstan) - Science and Sustainability Award

Global finalist - Science and Sustainability Award

Shynar Aldazhumanova graduated from Essex with a BSc Financial Economics in 2010, studying here with the help of Kazakhstan Government Scholarship “Bolashak”. Shynar has since become a trailblazer for improving sustainability in Kazakhstan’s financial sector. She has been recognised for her work in establishing and launching the AIFC Green Finance Centre, a regional think-tank in sustainable finance, as well as fostering the development of the green capital market in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Read the full story.

Evghenii Alexandrovici Golosceapov

Global finalist - Social Action Award

Evghenii studied an LLM International Human Rights Law and graduated in 2010. He has been recognised for his work in improving the right to health and equality in Moldova.
In June 2018, the Moldovan Parliament appointed him as one of five members of the Equality Council – the national anti-discrimination legislation enforcement body. Before that, Evghenii contributed to the elaboration of the first Equality Law in Moldova back in 2011-2012 and helped in the capacity building of the Equality Council during 2013-2018.

Read the full story.

Sakib Amin

National finalist (Bangladesh) - Science and Sustainability Award

Sakib Amin graduated from Essex with an MSc International Economics in 2008. He has been recognised for his contribution to research into energy economics. Through his work, Sakib developed a novel dynamic modelling system for the Bangladesh economy which earned him acknowledgment from the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC). BERC used Sakib’s results as the basis to increase the retail price of electricity in Bangladesh, which has had a positive welfare impact on the nation from a macroeconomic perspective.

Read the full story.

Levent Berke Capli

National finalist (Turkey) - Social Action Award

Levent Berke Capli studied BA Economics and Politics at Essex and graduated in 2012. Berke was named chair of the NATO Science and Technology Organisation research group in 2016 aged just 25, making him the youngest ever chair of a NATO research group. He has held a number of jobs ranging from civil society to the defence sector in politics. In 2017, Berke founded one of the largest women’s rights organisations in Turkey, KizBasina (Just a Girl). The not-for-profit organisation has helped millions of women, and run numerous campaigns to raise awareness about gender-based violence and equality.

Read the full story.

Pelin Kahveci

National finalist (Turkey) - Social Action Award

Pelin graduated with an LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Essex in 2015. Since then, she has supported around 3,500 refugees while holding posts with the likes of UNICEF, International Catholic Migration Commission and the European Union Agency for Asylum. Her key responsibilities have included delivering an effective resettlement process for refugees from Middle East and Africa, and focusing on vulnerable groups such as women, children and those within the LGBTQI community. She now works at the Economic Policy and Governance, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Resident Office in Istanbul. 

Read the full story.

Polyxeni Konstantinopoulou

Shortlisted in National awards (Greece) - Social Action Award

Dr Polyxeni Konstantinopoulou, studied an MA in Language Disorders at Essex and graduated in 2009. Along with close friend and fellow Essex graduate Viveta Lymperaki, Dr Konstantinopoulou co-founded the My Way school in Northern Greece – the only institute of its kind in the region to teach foreign languages to children with specific learning needs. The school now has more than 70 pupils enrolled, with its teaching staff growing from two to ten in just a few years.

Read the full story.

Aigerim Seitenova

National finalist (Kazakhstan) - Social Action Award

Aigerim graduated from Essex in 2022 with an LLM in International Human Rights Law. She is an independent human rights and nuclear disarmament professional. She has worked with over 1,500 young people in Kazakhstan delivering workshops on the topics related to non-discrimination, human rights protection, equality and citizenship and cross culture education.


Faisal Al-Homoud

National winner  - Culture and Creativity

Faisal graduated from Essex in 2003 with a Masters in Applied Linguistics and is now an Associate Professor at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University and Majmaah University in his native Saudi Arabia. Throughout his career he has devised easy and effective strategies to teach English in the classroom, which he has expanded to social media where he has more than 300,000 Instagram followers, alongside a WhatsApp course helping more than 3,000 people learn English.

Read the full story.

Ali Al-Hoorie

National finalist - Social Action

Ali graduated from Essex in 2006 with a Masters in Applied Linguistics and in 2018 with a Masters in Social Science Data Analysis. He currently works at the Jubail English Language and Preparatory Year Institute at the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, where his research interests include motivation theory, research methodology and complexity. He has won several awards for inventing a device that can detect the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease via linguistic analysis using artificial intelligence.

Read the full story.

Sead Alihodzic

Global finalist - Social Action

Sead Alihodzic graduated from Essex with an MA European Integration in 2008. He went on to work with the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and now works as a Senior Advisor on Electoral Processes. He works closely with national practitioners, international electoral assistance providers, academia, and development organisations to make elections work. Some of his most memorable engagements include supporting the landmark 2013 elections in Kenya, and the Myanmar elections in 2015.

Read the full story.

Qais Altoubi

National winner - Business and Innovation

Qais graduated with an MSC Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2017 and went on to establish the largest online learning platform in Oman, Edlal. The online knowledge sharing platform provides courses that focus on the skills needed by the market in the region, presented by experts targeting employees, jobseekers, entrepreneurs and students. He is now Vice President for Small and Medium Enterprises Development at the Authority for SME Development. 

Read the full story

Muhammad Alzaidi

National finalist - Culture and Creativity

Muhammad graduated from Essex with a MA in Linguistics in 2010 and a PhD in Linguistics in 2014. He is currently an an Assistant Professor at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia where he chairs the Saudi Society of Linguistics and teaches MA and PhD students. Having always understood the importance of interacting with people from different countries and cultures, he set up a  YouTube channel, Linguistics Café. He now has over 1,700 followers, and uses the platform to teach and inspires people around the world for free.

Read the full story.

Nagima Ayubayeva

National finalist - Science and Sustainability

Nagima graduated from Essex with a BSc Economics in 2011 . In her role at AIFC Green Finance Centre, she promotes ‘green finance’ to combat the impact of climate change in Kazakhstan.

Read the full story. 

Mandeep Sandhu

National finalist - Business and Innovation

Mandeep graduated from the The Essex MBA at Essex Business School in 2015 and is an aviation entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of a private aviation charter company, AirLuxxis, a luxury travel business offering private aviation charters in India. He pioneered innovative concepts to make revolutionary changes to a very traditional market.

Read the full story. 

Davide Valeriani

Global finalist - Business and Innovation

Davide graduated from Essex in 2017 with a PhD in Computing and Electronics Systems. He currently lives in the USA and specialises in Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs), a technology combining computer science, electrical engineering and neuroscience to build devices that allow humans to control other devices with their mind, without moving any muscles.

His research has enabled him to directly help patients with severe motor disabilities, and he also co-founded a Start-Up, Eyewink Ltd, which aims at developing a wearable device to control the smartphone with eye movements.

Read the full story.


Narmin Akhundova

National winner and Regional finalist - Professional Achievement Award

Narmin Akhundova graduated from the School of Biological Sciences (now School of Life Sciences) in 2015 with an MSc Molecular Medicine. Narmin's ground-breaking research at the Food Safety Agency, Azerbaijan (AFSA) of energy drink compounds and their effect on the human body led to new legislation in Azerbaijan and saw Narmin recognised on a global platform for her crucial work. 

Read the full story.

Konstantina Bethani

Regional Winner and Global Finalist - Entrepreneurial Award

Konstantina graduated in 2007 with an MA International Relations. She is the founder and CEO of Tenebra Studios, a video game and interactive software development company which has created educational applications for refugees, released free educational games that enable children to familiarise themselves with technology and has been involved in research on artificial intelligence and machine learning. As well as her entrepreneurial success, Konstantina has been recognised for her work in questioning and challenging the gender gap in technology over the last 15 years.

Read the full story.


Khalifa Al Haroon

National and Regional Winner and Global Finalist - Entrepreneurial Award

Khalifa completed a foundation course in English language in 2003 is founder of, a content-driven platform celebrating the diversity of Qatar’s community. Not stopping there, Khalifa's entrepreneurial spirit and ambition led him to also create RaqamiTV - the world’s biggest Arabic educational tech channel. His talent and spirit have unsurprisingly led him to be named one of the most influential people under 40 in the Middle East.

Read the full story.

Lilia Petrosyan

National and Regional Winner and Global Finalist - Professional Achievement Award

Lilia graduated in 2013 with an LLM International Human Rights Law and is a passionate human rights advocate. A Consultant for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Lilia’s Essex experience prompted her to pursue an international career at the forefront of global challenges. Her inspiring work involves advocating for the protection and support of vulnerable and minority communities at the annual UN Forum on Minority Issues.

Read the full story.

Patcharapavalan Akbar

National Finalist - Social Impact Award

Patcharapavalan graduated in 2016 with an LLM International Human Rights Law and works with non-governmental organisations and United Nations agencies in the field of migration, refugee protection and resettlement in Thailand. She currently works as a casework manager for the Refugee Programme Admission which, each year, helps around 8,000 Asian refugees to successfully resettle in the US. Continuing to support others, Patcharapavalan founded her own initiative, the OneBikeProject, raising private funds to support the highland population by distributing blankets and socks through community leaders.

Read the full story.

Chavalida Piromwongse

National Finalist - Social Impact Award

Chavalida graduated in 2010 with an LLM International Trade Law and is criminal justice and human rights activist, working tirelessly to protect the rights of women and children caught up in the justice system. She designed a training programme to eliminate violence within the criminal justice system. Although initially designed for prosecutors, it has since been extended as essential training for police cadets, legal officers and community leaders across Thailand.

Read the full story.

Sook Wah Ho

National Finalist - Social Impact Award

Sook Wah Ho, who graduated with a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Essex in 2014, is the Head of the English Language Unit at Gamuda Berhad, a leading Malaysian engineering and construction company. Helping working professionals, university students and school children improve their English language skills, she was recognised as a pioneering force in language education.

Read the full story.

Jian Jiang

National and Regional Winner and Global Finalist - Entrepreneurial Award

Jian Jiang graduated with a PhD in Computational Finance in 2011 and is co-founder of ParkBee - an innovative mobility management solution eliminating on-street parking and lowering congestion in the UK and the Netherlands. It is used by tens of thousands of travellers each month, helping commuters to find safe and affordable parking spaces. Jian's ambition for building a more sustainable world led him to leave his role in hedge funds to starting ParkBee.

Read the full story.

Reem Elmeleegy

National Finalist - Social Impact Award

Reem graduated from Essex Human Rights Centre in 2017 with an MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights. From an early age, she was concerned with the difference in rights and opportunities between men and women, this led her to focus on women’s rights, human rights and feminism in her education and career. Reem was recognised for her work in South Sudan where, as a women's protection officer, she inspires and empowers women to take leadership roles and get involved in decision making processes in their communities.

Read the full story.

Sofia Tsilidou

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sofia Tsilidou graduated in 1997 with an MA Gallery Studies and is now Director of Museums at the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports in Athens where she is responsible for European cooperation on museum policy. In 2013 she became a national representative at the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Council of the EU and since 2011 she has been a Member of the NEMO Executive Board. She has been involved in work for the promotion and awareness raising of cultural heritage and museums at national level, worked as a project officer in EU-funded projects and as a registrar for national and international exhibitions.

Read the full story.


Alexandra Pentaraki

National Finalist - Professional Achievement Award

Alexandra graduated in 2002 with a MSc Psychology and is a pioneering clinical psychologist from Greece. Alexandra has dedicated her career to helping vulnerable people with mental health issues as well as working as an expert witness in civil and criminal courts. She was recognised for her inspiring work as the founder of Brain Matters Institute, an organization dedicated to the practice, learning and promotion of psychological science.

Read the full story.

Yiping Xia

Regional Winner and Global Finalist - Entrepreneurial Award

Yiping, who graduated with an MSc Telecommunication and Information Systems in 2005, is co-founder of Mobike, one of the first and largest smart bike-sharing services in the world. Yiping’s entrepreneurial talents secured his place in Fortune’s 2017 40 under 40 List, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. In 2019, in recognition of his inspiring journey, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Essex.

Read the full story.

Stephanie Case

National and Regional Winner and Global Finalist - Social Impact Award

Stephanie graduated in 2012 with an LLM International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. A human rights pioneer, Stephanie was recognised for her life-changing work at United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan where she served as Head of Protection of Civilians and Child Protection. Stephanie is now President, Founder and Board Member of Free to Run - a charity using adventure sports to support women and girls in areas of conflict, developing them into leaders to bring communities together.

Read the full story.

Dionysios Sourelis

National Finalist - Social Impact Award

Dionysios studied BSc Psychology at Essex. and founded the Purpose of Existence Centre in 2013. Located in Greece, it offers counselling and psychotherapy for children and their families. He was recognised in the Study UK Alumni Awards for the help and support he has provided to hundreds of families.

Read the full story.


Ruijiao Li

National Winner - Professional Achievement Award and Regional 'Spirit of Youth' Award (China)

Ruijao graduated in 2015 with an MRes Computer Science in Robotics and is Chief Roboticist at AMY Robotics. The first Chinese company of it's kind to ship service robots to businesses worldwide, Ruijiao is revolutionising how technology lives alongside humanity - particularly during the pandemic which saw service robots join the fight against Covid-19 through cleaning and temperature checks.

Read the full story.

Anushree Srivastava

National Finalist - Professional Achievement Award

Anushree graduated from the School of Biological Sciences (now Life Sciences) in 2016 with an MSc Biotechnology and dedicates her career to the exploration of planet Mars. The knowledge and experience she gained at Essex helped her to secure a position as Crew Biologist with The Mars Society on a simulation mission in the Utah desert, a landscape as close to Mars as can be found on Earth. Now studying a PhD in astrobiology, she's looking deeper into the Mars' landscape, taking us closer to future exploration of the planet.

Read the full story.

Ugonnaya Igwilo

National and Regional Winner and Global Finalist - Social Impact Award

Ugonnaya graduated in 2013 with an MA Public Health and was recognised for her work at the Emergency Operations Centre during the Ebola outbreak. She screened thousands of passengers at Lagos International Airport as part of a campaign which successfully reached over 21 million Lagos residents, subsequently helping to curb the outbreak. Since then, she has worked with the state’s Ministry of Health to provide support and expertise in the prevention of the Monkey Pox outbreak and more recently has been heavily involved in Nigeria’s efforts to fight the outbreak of COVID-19.

Read the full story.

Maryam Al-Subaiey

National and Regional Winner and Global Finalist - Professional Achievement Award

Maryam graduated in 2007 with a BA Politics and is a successful writer, producer, director and creative leader in Qatar. She founded start-ups Uchange and Qatar Together to support young creatives with pursuing their passions and achieving the dreams. She later joined Qatar Television as the only woman and the youngest manager where she managed the re-launch and achieved a promotion to Director of Programs. As a successful female role model, Maryam continues to inspire others as a freelance creative consultant.

Read the full story.

Kanatip Soonthornrak

National Finalist - Professional Achievement Award

Kanatip graduated from East 15 Acting School in 2009 with an MA Theatre Directing and is the founder of ANGKRIZ, one of the most renowned English language schools in Thailand. A perpetual lover of English, he also hosts a talk show interviewing big-name celebrities in English, changing millions of people's attitude towards the English language.

Read the full story.

Image credit: Study UK Alumni Awards