2021 Ambassador & Course Coordinator Awards

The PGC Course Co-ordinator Award recognises Course Coordinators who have displayed exemplary administrative efforts beyond their minimum requirement and acknowledges their efforts in taking care of their students.

The PGC Ambassador Award recognises Master's students who have helped create a lively study environment and a supportive social atmosphere among their peers and the broader UNSW community. 

Outstanding Course Coordinators of the Year

​Associate Professor Anita Heywood

School of Population Health, UNSW Medicine & Health

Anita is an infectious disease epidemiologist with a research focus on vaccine-preventable disease epidemiology and immunisation uptake and a teaching focus on epidemiology and immunisation policy and practice. She is Director of Teaching at SPH and has over 10 years’ experience in designing and delivering online and blended postgraduate courses to Master of Public Health, Global Health and Infectious Disease Intelligence students. She is a passionate educator, who encourages her postgraduate students to develop and extend their prior knowledge and skills to support their career aspirations as public health professionals. She is also founding peer advisory member of Franklin Women, a network for women in health and medical research and the UNSW Medicine & Health lead for the Franklin Women mentoring program. 

Dr. Ronald Ting Tai

In his career as an Education Focussed Academic, Ronald has made significant and measurable positive impacts on student learning experience. His passion in teaching and my skill using cutting-edge educational technologies is noticeable by my students and colleagues. He has convened and managed 19 courses and taught 36 courses in the last 3-years. Despite his extraordinary workload, he consistently achieve outstanding student feedback and course satisfaction rating way beyond the School and Faculty averages. He is a School leader in Engineering Education, serving as the School Postgraduate Coursework Coordinator. In his role, he haas made substantial impact in the School and Faculty at both the course and curriculum level aligned in the UNSW 2025 Strategy. He mentors his colleagues in best educational practices and using advanced course digitisation to enhance student learning experience. He haas also led a major Faculty Thesis Reform that was adopted by 4 other Engineering Schools in UNSW.

Course Coordinators of the Year

​Dr Kayleen Manwaring

Kayleen is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Private and Commercial Law. She joined UNSW in 2012 after many years in the legal services sector, and transferred from her first home in UNSW Business to UNSW Law and Justice in 2021. She has taught the law of business associations, intellectual property, and business consulting to postgraduate students in the Master of Professional Accounting, Master of Commerce, Master of Business Law and Juris Doctor programs. She believes that ‘care and connection’ are both essential components of teaching and learning, above and beyond any disciplinary knowledge. Her research focusses on the effect of sociotechnical change on the legal rights and obligations of businesses and consumers. 

​Dr Peter Neal

Peter is an Education Focused (EF) Senior Lecturer and Academic Governance Coordinator with UNSW Chemical Engineering. He has been teaching postgraduate and undergraduate engineering students for more than 10 years and has a key focus on developing his students’ capacity in design, enquiry, and professional skills. Peter was the first EF academic in the School of Chemical Engineering and is a Faculty of Engineering EF Champion and PVCESE EF Fellow. In these roles, his goals are Developing Capacity among students and teachers to engage in effective learning together; Developing Communities to share experience, identify best practice and promote learning; and Developing Curricula that provide engaging learning opportunities and prepare students for the future. 

Prior to his current role, Peter received a BE(Hons) and PhD from UNSW, worked on Dairy Australia and CO2CRC research projects, and was Deputy Head of School (External Relations) in the School of Petroleum Engineering. 

Dr. Prashant Rupchand Dahat

Prashant is an inspiring young postgraduate student in engineering, pursuing his master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Furthermore, the journey from India to Australia itself was a challenge to bring himself as a student of UNSW, but with his enthusiasm and focus succeed to get the full funded scholarship to study at UNSW. He holds top international industrial experience and working at UNSW as a course demonstrator has gained tremendous experience of learning teaching. Moreover, proving his technical and leadership skill, he led teams of various vertical integrated projects of UNSW.

​Dr Blessing Akombi-Inyang

Blessing is an emerging early career researcher in global health specializing in maternal, adolescent and child health with a growing interest in migrant health within Australia. Her research provides evidence for community-based interventions to improve health outcomes among vulnerable sub-populations particularly in low- and middle- income countries and low resource-settings. She has successfully translated her research into practice and has led community-based initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa aimed at scaling up the uptake of evidence-based interventions for improving health outcomes. Blessing is involved in international consortia such as the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Collaborator Network, the LBD Double Burden of Malnutrition Collaborators Network and the Global Maternal and Child Health Research Collaboration (GloMACH). She is also a member of the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) research stream and the Child and Adolescent Health Research Theme Group at the School of Population Health (SPH), UNSW Medicine. Blessing is currently a Postgraduate Coordinator (PGC) for the Professional Doctorate (DrPH) program, UNSW Medicine, and the Course convenor for Maternal and Child Health - PHCM9606. 

Dr Shiva Abdoli

Shiva is a lecturer at school of mechanical and manufacturing engineering at UNSW. She joined UNSW in 2014. She has work experience in various countries and prestigious international universities. Prior to joining UNSW, she was employed as a research engineer at KTH University, Sweden. 

Shiva puts students at the centre of education process and uses various strategies to advance learning and educational experience of her students by presenting trending topics and preparing students for their future education or job. She always has received high students’ satisfaction and been nominated twice for best-teacher award-students’ choice in 2018 and 2019. 

​ Dr Gyani Shankar Sharma

Dr Gyani Shankar Sharma is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at UNSW Sydney. He received his PhD from UNSW Sydney and MS from IIT Madras (India). Gyani’s research focusses on wave propagation in complex media, metamaterials, acoustics, noise control, vibration, finite element methods, uncertainty analysis and optimisation. He currently teaches finite element methods and fundamentals of acoustics and noise. His courses encourage critical thinking, peer and personal reflection, and have significant open-ended problem-solving components. Gyani has two years of industrial experience as an engineer at Eaton Corporation (a Fortune 500 company). This enables him to effectively inter-link theory and practice in his courses

Associate Professor Juno Kim

Juno is the director of the Sensory Processes Research Laboratory based in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW Sydney. After receiving his PhD in psychology from the University of Sydney in 2005, Juno mentored a vast array of student-led projects, including recent research using virtual reality to understand how our perception of the world depends on multisensory integration. Believing that curiosity is the foundation of scientific discovery, A/Prof Kim uses illusions in his teaching to encourage students to challenge their observations and strive for truth. He was ranked among the top 5 first-year lecturers across UNSW in KPMG’s Inspiring Teacher Award (2017, 2018). By encouraging postgraduate students to engage with industry, A/Prof Kim’s team has produced world-class research leading to published patents with Canon Inc. His collective research enterprise features in top outlets, including PNAS, Current Biology, IOVS, and on the cover of Nature Neuroscience.   

 

 

Outstanding Ambassadors of the Year

Azba Mashood

Azba is a final year Master of Clinical Optometry student and has previously completed a summer research scholarship during her Bachelor of Vision Science. Over the past few years, Azba has been passionately involved in the wider community, where, in 2020, she was the President of Vision Youth UNSW and an executive of the UNSW Fred Hollows Society. In 2021, she was invited to the Student Leadership Program with Optometry Australia and is currently the President of the UNSW Optometry Society and the Chairperson of the Optometry Student Society Australia, a committee comprising representatives from each optometry school nationally. Passionate about optometry, Azba is on the SOVS Equity, Diversity, and Inclusions Committee and school board, with her most recent appointment being co-chair of the SOVS Student Wellbeing Action Group. Azba has also mentored first year students and volunteers her time to speak to high school leavers at various university events. 

Greeshma Shetty

Greeshma is a postgraduate in Engineering Science, specialising in Systems and Control. During her masters, she was the Marketing Co-ordinator at UNSW STEEP. She was also a Team Leader for the Engineering World Health’s social impact project for Surgical Lamp Electrical Assembly. Greeshma has been an active member of the International Satellite Design Program and was a student member at the Global University Climate Forum conducted by Yale University. Under the UNSW Professional Development Program, Greeshma worked on a project for enhancing UNSW’s Library Website. She also conducted Green Audits for various clubs and societies associated with UNSW for the Green Impact project and volunteered at the UNSW Food Hub. Greeshma has participated in feedback sessions held by the university and discussed improvement steps for a better postgraduate student experience.

Rohit Bansod

Rohit is a current master’s student in Environmental Engineering and a Public Relations Officer at Civil and Environmental Postgraduate Coursework Association (CEPCA) at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW. Rohit has actively participated in CEPCA’s events to spread various aspects of Civil & Environmental Engineering to postgraduate coursework students. Rohit has also contributed to multiple events, mentoring programs & conferences at UNSW and other professional bodies. Rohit is a first-generation graduate in his family and draws his inspiration and motivation from the lives and struggles of Dr B R Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule, Mai Savitri and other social figures of India. 

Ambassadors of the Year

Renuka Srinivas

Renuka is a recent Post Graduate from UNSW School of Electrical Engineering specialising in Energy Systems. She is an international student from India and arrived in Australia in 2019. She has been involved in the Post graduate society called STEEP which is the official PG student society of School of EE&T. She was elected as President for the year 2020-2021 and has organised various technical and social events with the help of the School and STEEP executive team. All events were organised virtually to facilitate international student involvement who are attending university online. She is currently working as a Power System Engineer at Global Sustainable Energy Solutions in Sydney. She is an animal lover and loves to dance and cook in her free time. 

Ganesh Prasad Bhandarkar

Ganesh is studying for Masters in Business Analytics and Marketing at UNSW. Previously he has completed B.Tech( Electronics and Communication). Currently, he is NUS(National Union of Students) delegate of UNSW, he represents UNSW at the National Education Conference. He is multilingual and can speak 7 languages and is a strong believer in unity in diversity. Apart from being a full-time student, he is a successful entrepreneur, cryptocurrency trader, and philanthropist. This year he has clocked over a million-dollar personal wealth starting from zero and donated a chunk of his monthly profits to Covid- relief funds. He is a perfect student who not only visions personal growth also community growth as well. He always goes by the writing - “Success is where you find your happiness”. Finally, he is not the only kind to all but spreads harmony and joy with his presence

 

Luqi Huang

Luqi is a highly motivated person who loves to explore different learning opportunities while studying at UNSW. She has served as Vice President of Graduate Student Association (GSA), a postgraduate student society affiliated with the Business School. Additionally, she is the current International Student Officer at Student Representative Council (SRC). Throughout the year, Luqi has been actively involved in a number of noteworthy projects and collaborated with a variety of student bodies. She was instrumental in facilitating the services of free food and accommodation subsidies to low-income international students. Being a humble and generous student leader, Luqi joined with many other student representatives to keep offshore students connected and engaged in the virtual learning environment. Going forward, Luqi will continue to support every student peer with the greatest effort and ensure that their needs are satisfied.  

Ruichen (Rachel) Zhao

My name is Ruichen is the coursework representative in Materials Science and Engineering Postgraduate Society (PGSOC). It is a great honor for her to be nominated for the Arc PGC Ambassador of the Year Award. During this year, PGSOC has organized many activities, such as the weekly “Friday Social ” and the “Welcome Party ” at the beginning of every term. And by participating in the planning of these activities, she has improved my skills in many areas, such as teamwork and communication skills. She also likes to do some poster design in her spare time, and PGSOC also gives her the opportunity to showcase herself, for example, she am responsible for the poster design of some events.

Judging Panel

Neil Morris

Neil Morris holds a Director Wellbeing position within Academic and Student Life at UNSW Sydney. Neil has had a long career within UNSW Sydney holding several positions including: Vice-President Campus Life and Community Engagement (March 2011 - April 2017) during which period he was also Chair of UNSW Global; Executive Director University Services (Feb 2009 – Feb 2011); and Director Human Resources (Jan 2004-Dec 2009). His current portfolio encompasses a broad range of outside the classroom student engagement roles such as Sport and the engagement with local community; Student Health, Safety and Wellbeing including international student support; Student Cultural, Artistic and Religious Life; Student Accommodation and Residential Colleges; and manages the relationship with the UNSW Student Organisation, Arc.  

A/Prof. Maria Markoulli

Maria Markoulli is an Associate Professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Her research interests relate to the ocular surface in health and disease. She is a dual Ezell fellow from the American Optometric Foundation (2009 and 2010) and was on the Tear Film and Ocular Surface (TFOS) society sub-committee of the contact lens discomfort workshop and on the pathophysiology sub-committee of the TFOS Dry Eye Workshop II. She is deputy editor for Clinical and Experimental Optometry and the postgraduate coordinator for the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW. She is also the Australian TFOS Ambassador and is on the steering committee of the current TFOS workshop on “A Lifestyle Epidemic: Ocular Surface Disease”. 

A/Prof. Neeraj Sharma

Neeraj completed his Ph.D. at the University of Sydney then moved to the Bragg Institute at Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) for a post-doc. He started at the School of Chemistry, UNSW on an Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) Research Fellowship followed by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA). He is currently an Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow. Neeraj has been the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Nyholm Youth Lecturer (2013/2014) and has won the NSW Premiers Prize for Science and Engineering (Early Career Researcher in Physical Sciences, 2019), Australian Synchrotron Research Award (2018), RACI Rennie Memorial Medal for Chemical Science (2018), UNSW Postgraduate Supervisor Award (2017) and a NSW Young Tall Poppy Award (2014). Neeraj’s research interests are based on solid state chemistry, designing new materials and investigating their structure-property relationships. Neeraj’s projects are typically highly collaborative working with colleagues from all over the world with a range of skillsets.  

Shelley Valentine

Shelley Valentine is the Chief Executive Officer of Arc @ UNSW (Arc). Arc is one of Australia’s leading student organisations whose mission is to ‘create the best student experience’. Arc delivers upon that mission through the delivery of a diverse and extensive suite of services including Volunteering, Clubs, Events, Legal & Advocacy, Wellness, Sport and through key representative bodies including the Student Representative Council and Postgraduate Council. Shelley has more than 20 years experience in student programming, student services, and events and has maintained an ongoing focus throughout her career on creating opportunities to amplify the student voice and enabling student-led initiatives 

 

Dr. Jaffly Chen

Dr Jaffly Chen is a UNSW Westpac Scholar and School of Public Health and Community Medicine alumnus (MPH/MHM '20). A medical doctor by background, he is currently on leave from Bain & Company to serve again on the front lines of Australia's COVID response. Previously, Jaffly has also interned at the World Health Organisation and in Federal Parliament and is a One Young World Global Ambassador. Post-UNSW, Jaffly has also spent time in programs at Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, and graduated this year from the Schwarzman Scholar Program at Tsinghua University. He remains active in the UNSW community through the Health10X accelerator program and the Society of Medical Innovation hackathon.

Vintii Aggarwal

Vintii is a Master of Commerce (Entrepreneurship and Innovation & Sustainability and Social Impact) alumni of UNSW. A winner of 3 hackathons at UNSW and a finalist at the Heroes Program, she was also nominated for NSW International student of the year 2020 award by UNSW. Currently she runs her own initiative aimed at helping the student community on Linkedin called, "Hi Vintii". She is a professional abstract artist who aspires to use her art for the betterment of society. 

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