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Outstanding Curtin alumni celebrated at awards night

Alumni News

Some of Curtin’s brightest minds were recognised at the 2015 Alumni Achievement Awards in early November.

2015 Curtin Alumni Achievement Award winners
From left: Joerex Tsang, Mariyam Shafeeq (on behalf of Dr Mariya Ali), Peter Lee, Beer Opatsuwan, Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry, Dr Sandy Chong, Michael Turkic, Ashleigh Nelson, Professor Andrew Whitehouse, Jega Jegasothy, Joachim Tan.

More than 160 Curtin staff, alumni and their supporters gathered at the Perth Arena to recognise 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.


Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry

Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry gave the welcome address, thanking the nominees for their inspiring efforts to make tomorrow better.

“Alumni are our greatest asset and many go on to drive the economic and social prosperity of our nation and across the globe,” Professor Terry said.

“Our focus is to ensure our graduates leave Curtin with an openness to different perspectives and new ideas; a desire to make a difference; and the skills to lead, to be innovative, and to ‘think big’.”

The winner of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award was Jega Jegasothy, a physiotherapist, volunteer, mentor and researcher. Jega’s distinguished 37-year career has seen her work tirelessly to improve the lives of those with disability.

Congratulations to all the 2015 Curtin Alumni Achievement Award finalists and winners.

Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jega Jegasothy

Jega Jegasothy


2015 finalists and winners

Professional Achievement Award, Curtin Business School

Joachim Tan (Winner)

Professional Achievement Award, Health Sciences

Dr Rochelle MacDonald

Giuseppe Verdile

Professor Andrew Whitehouse (Winner)

Professional Achievement Award, Humanities

Peter Lee (Joint Winner)

Dr Kate Raynes-Goldie

Dr Steffan Silcox

Michael Turkic (Joint Winner)

Professional Achievement Award, Science and Engineering

Theerasak (Beer) Opatsuwan (Winner)

Global Impact Award

Dr Mariya Ali (Winner)

Dr Ross James

The Right Honourable Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi

Young Alumnus Award

Dr Tristan Clemans

Amy Hetherington

Ashleigh Nelson (Winner)

Christine Parfitt

Cameron Thorn

Community Service Award

Dr Sandy Chong (Winner)

Dr Supalak Khemthong

Jamie Wood

Volunteer Leadership Award

Joerex Tsang (Winner)

Lifetime Achievement Award

Gnanaletchumy (Jega) Jegasothy (Winner)

Professor Ted Snell

Award-winner profiles

Joachim Tan was awarded the Professional Achievement Award, Curtin Business School for his influential leadership in the Australian gas industry and extensive volunteer work.

Professor Andrew Whitehouse won the Professional Achievement Award, Health Sciences. The internationally renowned researcher and author directs the Autism and Related Disorders research team at the Telethon Institute for Child Research in WA.

Peter Lee and Michael Turkic jointly won the Professional Achievement Award, Humanities. Peter is a leading Western Australian architect who now works at the international design firm HASSEL. Michael is an accomplished actor, director and educator in film and television and co-founded interCultural Casting and Management.

Beer Opatsuwan received the Professional Achievement Award (Science and Engineering) for making significant contributions to the standardisation of engineering practices and mentoring young engineering professionals.

Dr Mariya Ali received the Global Impact Award. The children’s rights activist has worked in politically and religiously sensitive regions and improved the lives of millions children across the world. Dr Ali currently lives in the UK. Her cousin Mariyam Shafeeq accepted the award on her behalf.

Ashleigh Nelson was awarded the Young Alumnus Award for her roles as an injury management worker, mental health advocate and Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

Dr Sandy Chong received the Community Service Award for her work as a mentor and supporter who empowers young women in South East Asia to achieve their professional aspirations.

Joerex Tsang won the Volunteer Leadership Award for his association with Curtin as a key supporter and driver of alumni activities in Hong Kong.

Jega Jegasothy received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding 37-year career as a physiotherapist, volunteer, mentor and researcher in Australia and overseas. Jega became a Senior Physiotherapist in the Neurosurgical Rehabilitation Unit of Royal Perth Hospital and is a key figure in the Late Effects of Disability Clinic.