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Curtin alumni recognised for creating positive change

Media release

Former West Coast Eagles premiership coach and player, John Worsfold, is among the 14 recipients of the inaugural Curtin University Alumni Awards, which were presented at a special awards ceremony on Friday evening.

Alumni Award recipients
Alumni Award recipients and representatives with Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry

The Awards recognise Curtin graduates for the significant and valuable contributions they make to society. These contributions could be in the local, national or international communities they support, personal achievements or success in their professions.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the Awards embrace Curtin’s mission to change minds, lives and the world through leadership, innovation and excellence.

“Curtin graduates are passionate and enthusiastic about changing lives for the better and it is this passion that lends itself to success,” Professor Terry said.

“The Curtin Alumni Awards demonstrate that our graduates have a chance to be a beacon for positive change.

“Curtin has a strong commitment to developing and strengthening links with the international community and the Awards also demonstrate the calibre of Curtin’s international alumni network, with a number of recipients achieving great success in their chosen fields around the globe.”


Award recipients include an end-of-life care expert and researcher, a popular Malaysian comedian, a young advocate for mental health in minority groups and a young alumnus who has set up a foundation to provide rural Kenyan children with an education.

For more information about the awards, visit

Award Winners and Categories:

Young Alumni Medal

The Young Alumni Medal recognises Curtin graduates, 30 years of age or younger, who at an early stage are excelling in their chosen career and making significant contributions to society and their community.

Pooja Maru
Pooja graduated from Curtin with a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2007, and is currently part way through completing her Master of Business and Administration at Curtin. Pooja became managing partner of Craven’s Pharmacy in 2012 at the age of 27. She has been instrumental in setting up mental health services in the pharmacy, developing a supportive, non-judgmental platform for mental health patients, their case workers and their doctors.

Kyle De Souza
Kyle De Souza graduated from Curtin University’s Western Australian School of Mines in 2008 with a Bachelor of Mining Engineering. Kyle has given his time, skills and earnings selflessly and tirelessly to bring education to African communities. In 2011, he went to Kenya to help at an orphanage in Nairobi, and on returning to Australia five months later, set up the not-for-profit organisation Ewangan Inc ( to give the children of Maasai cattle herders desperately needed access to education in remote areas.

Distinguished International Alumni Award
This award category recognises up to four alumni situated overseas. They will have demonstrated innovation not only on a business level but throughout their international community.

Selection Panel’s International Award recipient

Netty Muharni
Netty Muharni was among the 10 per cent of her community to survive the 2004 Tsunami, but tragically, her family were lost in the disaster. In the post-disaster chaos of uncoordinated relief efforts, she became determined to learn how communities like hers could be better protected from future disasters. At her sister’s suggestion, she applied for and won an Australia Awards scholarship to study a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at Curtin.

Malaysia Chapter recipient

Harith Iskander
Harith Iskander is generally acknowledged as Malaysia’s premier stand-up comedian. He is passionate about comedy and believes that people need laughter in their lives to counter other more serious events. Harith graduated from Curtin with a Bachelor of Arts (English) and has since returned to Curtin, bringing his stand-up routine to Perth in 2014.

Singapore Chapter recipient

Dr Simon Collinson
Since graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology), Dr Collinson has achieved a great deal in Singapore within eight years. He has made significant contributions to clinical psychology training in Singapore, through developing and maintaining a clinical service for over six years and establishing a clinical psychology programme, through which more than 60 new clinical psychologists have graduated.

Hong Kong Chapter recipient

Dr Philco Wong
For more than 35 years, Dr Wong has been dedicated to implementation, delivery and management of large-scale infrastructure projects in Hong Kong, China and overseas. He was awarded a Doctor of Business Administration by Curtin and is currently chairman and member of several institutions and large-scale infrastructure projects in Hong Kong.

Alumni Community Achievement Award
The Alumni Community Achievement Awards recognises Curtin alumni who have personally given time to contribute to society on either a national or international level. Curtin highly values community engagement and helping others in need.

Kristy Tomlinson
Kristy Tomlinson has a Bachelor of Science (Human Communication Studies) from Curtin and is currently completing her Master of Philosophy (International Health) at Curtin. Kristy’s ambition is to use her studies to achieve optimal health and wellbeing outcomes for minority groups, enabling them to be advocates for their own health needs, and to become the best possible versions of themselves.

Lim Swee Hia
Madam Lim completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Management and a Master of Nursing at Curtin. Highly respected in the nursing fraternity after 40 years in the profession, Madam Lim is credited with fostering close professional relationships to significantly advance nursing education, research and workforce development in Singapore.

Distinguished Australian Alumni Award
The Distinguished Australian Alumni Award category is presented to an individual based on their community engagement, innovation, entrepreneurship, international engagement and/or overall career achievements.

John Worsfold
John was selected as an inaugural squad member of the West Coast Eagles in 1986, the same year in which he commenced his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree at Curtin. In addition to his legendary AFL career, John Worsfold has a highly impressive array of contributions to society; this includes being an ambassador to the Shane Warne Foundation and the Australia Day Council. He has also been an active supporter of charities such as Channel 7’s Telethon, the Cancer Council and the SAS Resources Trust.

Dr Davina Porock
Dr Davina Porock holds a Master of Science (Nursing Science) from Curtin, and since graduating, has gone on to become one of the world’s most esteemed international experts in person centred end of life care and a leading researcher in the care of people with dementia.

Marianne de Pierres
Since completing her Bachelor of Arts (English) at Curtin, Marianne de Pierres has had a very successful writing career, publishing several novels and short stories, and her work has been translated into nine languages. Marianne has shaped perceptions of who and what a female Australian writer can be and achieve. She has challenged traditions by writing across genres and defied stereotyping by telling her stories on multiple platforms.

Bill Beament
Bill Beament holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Curtin and attended the Curtin University Western Australia School of Mines in Kalgoorlie. He is currently the Managing Director of ASX-listed goldminer Northern Star Resources. Bill turned Northern Star Resources from a two-cents a share company with a market capitalisation of $1 million with several employees, to nearly $800 million market capitalisation, well over a dollar-a-share company and approximately 600 employees in just three and a half years.

Dr Sue van Leeuwen
Dr Sue van Leeuwen holds a Doctor of Business Administration and a Bachelor degree in Applied Science from Curtin. Sue is an experienced Executive Director, Non-Executive Director and Community Leader. She is a mentor and role model of ethical and values-led leadership and was instrumental in establishing Community Leadership Australia – a national network of leadership organisations with a vision to create more sustainable and resilient communities.

Inspiring Alumnus Award
This is the Selection Panel’s award for a very inspiring individual. This alumnus is an individual who has overcome many hurdles to contribute significantly to their local and global community.

Riyadh Al Hakimi
Riyadh Al Hakimi arrived as a refugee with his family in Australia in 1995, aged 17, after spending five years of his life in a refugee camp on the border of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Despite the personal challenges that he and his family have faced, Riyadh has completed a Bachelor of Arts and Master of International Relations at Curtin.