Clearing 2021
Alumni

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. Applications for 2022 are now open, find out if you could 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. 2006 - 2021)
  • 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. 

2021

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.

2020

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 ILoveQatar.net, 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.

2019

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.

2018

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