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Alumni of the Year Award

2024 Alumni of the Year Awards!

Introducing your 2024 Alumni of the Year Award winners!

Thank you to everyone who made a nomination or cast a vote to celebrate our wonderful alumni community and recognise the career successes, outstanding achievements and contributions to the community of our graduates from Brunel University London or one of our predecessor colleges.

Each year, we celebrate our talented and inspiring alumni community with our Alumni of the Year Awards, recognising outstanding professional achievements, contributions to the community, and an ongoing commitment and contribution to Brunel through volunteering and advocacy. A special congratulations and thank you to our wonderful 2024 nominees, finalists and winners - we have been blown away by the many achievements and successes of our alumni who are, and continue to be, a great inspiration to our Brunel community.

With so many votes for the finalists from our alumni community, we are pleased to announce your 2024 Alumni of the Year Award winners as...

Outstanding Contribution to Brunel Award - Donna-Marie Holder (BA Education, 2019)

Outstanding Contribution to Science & Engineering Award - Dr Julie Davies (BSc Biomedical Sciences, 2010, PhD in Biosciences, 2014)

Outstanding Contribution to Culture & Creativity Award - Damson Idris (BA Drama, Television & Film Studies, 2013)

Outstanding Contribution to Society Award - Dr Nadia Al-Aboody (PhD Electrical Engineering & Electronics Research, 2017)

Outstanding Contribution to Business Award - Moses Aregbesola (BSc Business and Management, 2022)

Lifetime Achievement Award - Dr Simon Gill (BSc Industrial Design, 1991)

Rising Star Award - Dr Sahil Datta (MSc Advanced Electronic & Electrical Engineering, 2016. PhD Electronics and Computer Engineering Research, 2021)

Alumni Advisory Board Award - Chidumaga Unachukwu (MSc Renewable Energy Engineering, 2019)

Your 2024 winners are:


Outstanding Contribution to Brunel Award


Donna-Marie Holder (BA Education, 2019)

Doctoral ResearcherDonna-Marie Holder

Donna-Marie graduated from the BA Education programme in 2019 with a first-class degree. When she left, she studied an MA at UCL but continued to offer her time, expertise and personal experiences to students on Brunel’s BA Education programme and has been committed to supporting new students on the programme ever since. Donna-Marie has volunteered for 4 years to come into lectures to share her own experiences as a student, led sessions focusing on equality and diversity, work ready skills and offered pastoral support to students. Donna-Marie is a warm, compassionate and approachable individual, and as an alumni student, our UG students feel an instant connection with her. Her insight has proved invaluable to students and staff on the programme and she is able to engage students in a meaningful way to help improve the quality of the student experience. Donna-Marie has provided pastoral support to students experiencing significant challenges, which has enabled them to complete their studies to a high standard and has gone above and beyond what has been asked of her. She is a strong advocate for Brunel and the student voice. Without her insight and support, the programme would not be what it is today.

Outstanding Contribution to Science & Engineering Award

Dr Julie Davies (BSc Biomedical Sciences, 2010, PhD in Biosciences, 2014)

Head of Non-Clinical Sciences, GE HealthcareJulie Davies - web

Julie Davies completed her BSc degree in Biosciences at Brunel, and then went on to pursue a PhD in Biosciences entitled: "The novel role of the neuropeptides Orexin and QRFP and their involvement in Alzheimer’s disease". She successfully completed her PhD in 2014 and part of her thesis was published in 2015: "Davies, J....Karteris, E. Orexin receptors exert a neuroprotective effect in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) via heterodimerization with GPR103." in the prestigious journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing).

Between 2014-2019, Julie was a postdoctoral research fellow at Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford. During her stay in Oxford, she became one of the founding members of OxStem Neuro, a drug discovery company was focused on degenerative disorders using regenerative medicine. OxStem raised over £17 million, with data that Julie has generated, while being a strong influencing factor for investors. In 2019, Julie joined GE Healthcare, as a Senior R&D Scientist. There, she undertook project management of cross-functional key feasibility projects in oncology, including across multiple external academic research collaborations. Julie also assessed potential licensing, collaborations, co-development agreements, and strategic alliances in relevant opportunity space. Responsible for the nonclinical due diligence output, integrating internal and external SME for stakeholder review and approval (Go/No Go).

During the pandemic, Julie collaborated with a group to publish a research manuscript entitled: “Davies J, Randeva HS, Chatha K, Hall M, Spandidos DA, Karteris E, Kyrou I. Neuropilin‑1 as a new potential SARS‑CoV‑2 infection mediator implicated in the neurologic features and central nervous system involvement of COVID‑19. Mol Med Rep. 2020 Nov;22(5):4221-4226”. In this study, led by Julie, it provided an explanation for the involvement of SARS-CoV-2 cell entry mediators in key symptoms of COVID-19, namely anosmia (i.e., loss of smell) and neurological symptoms by mapping these receptors in the central nervous system (PMID: 33000221; 15,891views; 164 citations).

In 2022, Julie became Global Head of Nonclinical Development, R&D, for GE Healthcare, Pharmaceutical Diagnostics. Key achievements include being a nonclinical people leader responsible for tactical, on time delivery of all nonclinical activities (including regulatory) to support with contribution to the overall strategy, development and delivery of portfolio milestones across R&D, project management review and life cycle management. Julie is also responsible for shaping the nonclinical team, expanding expertise and developing strategic insights, identifying areas of growth/gaps to support the emerging R&D portfolio.

Outstanding Contribution to Culture & Creativity Award 

Damson Idris (BA Drama, Television & Film Studies, 2013)

Actor and ProducerDamson Idris

Since graduating, Damson Idris has gone on to be one of the most promising actors of his generation. Leading in the hit FX TV show Snowfall alongside starring in Black Mirror, Swarm, The Twilight Zone, Farming, Outside the Wire and many more. 

His current starring role is that of a Formula 1 driver opposite Brad Pitt. Additionally, Damson has begun producing and creating opportunities for talent from all locations.

Outstanding Contribution to Society Award


Dr Nadia Al-Aboody (PhD Electrical Engineering & Electronics Research, 2017)

Head of Computer System DepartmentNadia Al Aboody - web

Nadia started her journey with helping children to learn to code while she was studying at Brunel. She volunteered with Code Club at the Oak Farm library through Brunel volunteers. When she returned to Iraq, she continued her passion to help children learn coding, and she started the first Code Club in Iraq in Maysan, which is a city with a majority of low-income families. She started by training 20 females to become a trainer to help as many children as possible. When COVID hit, she didn't stop her efforts rather, she took the initiative and moved online, helping children in Iraq and outside Iraq. She offered a Scratch training to Iraqi children from refugee families in Jordan with the support of Light Living Organization, she also helped other lecturers and school teachers by offering online training on how to use applications and technologies to support them give their lectures to their students. She started a YouTube channel for that purpose.

After COVID, she continued her work with coding and realised that her city lack of proper training facilities and places where children and youth can learn safely and creatively. She used her family savings and build a place for them, this place has a big training hall, a classroom, a coffee resting area and a maker space. It also has indoor gardens and in floor fish tank. All who attend the sessions and enter the place feel welcomed and that they belong there. She brought energy, learning opportunities and safety for all the children and youth of Maysan. She is working now with the Iraqi Prime Minister Chancellor to bring coding and AI learning clubs to all schools and youth centres in Iraq. You can see her work on Instagram

Outstanding Contribution to Business Award

Moses Aregbesola (BSc Business and Management, 2022)

Director, TBV Productions Moses Aregbesola - web

TBV Productions was founded in my university accommodation room on March 12, 2021. From there I expanded internationally within just one year. In two years, we forged impactful collaborations with global superstars, embarked on successful tours, and built a dedicated following. Specialising in curating exclusive content, TBV bridges the gap between fans and artists by capturing offcamera moments for an intimate look into artists' lives.

In our pursuit of being the definitive hub for musically exclusive experiences, we've also highlighted the talents of UK rap artists such as Simz, Aitch, Headie One, and Arrdee. Venturing into the realm of French-speaking giants, we've collaborated with Fally Ipupa, Aya Nakamura, Gims, and Dadju. The diversity of our collaborations knows no bounds, as we've joined forces with party-rockers like Skrillex, Sarz, Ayra Starr, and Rema, as well as trending social media artists such as Blueface, Chip, Russ Millions, Asake, and many more. The list continues to grow, reflecting our commitment to fostering musical diversity and innovation across the global landscape.

Beyond our extensive portfolio, TBV Productions have forged profound connections within the industry, serving as the gateway to collaborations with renowned record labels such as EMPIRE and YBNL. These associations have opened doors to extraordinary opportunities and allowed us to cover prestigious events like the Burberry SS23 fashion show alongside Fireboy DML. Riding the wave of Afrobeats' global ascent, I've had the privilege of connecting with influential figures such as Smade, co-founder and CEO of Afro Nation, and Don Jazzy, the visionary CEO of Mavin Records.

Our impact extends beyond the realm of music, as evidenced by our collaboration with Disney Plus+ for 'Queenie' and coverage of Gymshark's Regent Street opening. We've proudly aligned with event sponsors such as Jack Daniels, Wray & Nephew, Captain Morgan, Morley’s, and McDonald’s. An exceptional highlight includes the opportunity to film the legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather and The Money Team, showcasing TBV our versatility. Our documentation of boxing events at Kingpyn, Misfits, and DAZN, featuring luminaries like KSI, Logan Paul, Bugzy Malone, and many others.

In 2023 alone, we made a substantial impact across 16 countries, expanding internationally after my graduation in 2022. My decade-long journey as an athlete, over 50 recorded hours to teaching and mentoring entrepreneurs, modelling, alongside academic achievements, earned me the Brunel Plus Gold Award, which I am still proud of till this day. Additionally, in November 2023, I was honoured with the Forty Under 40 UK for Video Production and have been considered as a potential candidate for Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe that is coming up in April.

We have been making an impact on social media as we have amassed over 150,000 TikTok followers in the past year now broadening TBV's influence with also our music from TBV Records streaming in 58 countries.

Through TBV, I strive for a diverse and inclusive space in the music industry, celebrating London's diversity. As an entrepreneur, my evolution equipped me with valuable skills and insights, reflected in ongoing initiatives like charity events and multilingual music releases. I share my growth annually in the 'Vision Documentary.'

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Simon Gill (BSc Industrial Design, 1991)

EVP Global Client Business TransformationDr Simon Gill

Simon Gill has been posthumously nominated in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the British creative sector. Sadly, Simon passed away on November 21st 2023. Simon studied BSc Industrial Design at Brunel University’s Runnymede campus where he thrived, graduating in 1991 with first class honours. Next, he completed a PhD in Multimedia Design. Simon was a pioneer in the digital media world.

Inquisitive about everything, especially if brand new, Simon would immerse himself completely until the new and unknown was transformed into a new skill. Industrious with incredible powers of sustained focus. Comfortable with detail, always looking to simplify. Ready to embrace change. Simon had an infectious enthusiasm to share the latest thing that had caught his attention. Simon left no stone unturned in the pursuit of creative excellence, producing work that would delight the intended audience. A generous teacher and mentor, particularly good at developing talent and building multi-functional teams with a common purpose. I lost count of the times he helped me with words of encouragement or a thought-provoking insight.

Simon achieved great success over the course of his career and worked for some of the world’s best creative agencies. He received many accolades and prestigious awards for work undertaken for the world’s leading brands, while always being the first to point out that it’s a team sport. Simon was also a regular contributor to many Industry events and was proud to serve as President of BIMA (British Interactive Media Association).

Simon Gill is an extraordinary creative leader with broad expertise in technology, innovation, strategy and creative ideation. I’ve had the pleasure to work with Simon at some of the world’s top digital agencies, including Digitas, Isobar and most recently MRM. Simon’s contribution is highly valued, resulting in him being requested by both clients and our agency leaders for countless major business opportunities. As a result, Simon has led and inspired world-class work that have been recognised by industry leaders at the world’s most reputable award shows. Most importantly, Simon’s empathetic and caring personality has had a personal impact on the people around him and for me.

With a degree, a PhD he blazed the path for many at Brunel on what were fledgling degree courses to follow all at the cusp of the internet development and throughout his career - his teams won many accolades and awards for which he humbly received, frustrated at seeing his name at the top of an awards entry, “It was the team that won it,” he would say “not just me.”

Simon was mentally sharp, highly creative, very knowledgeable in all areas of digital media and has excellent management skills. He is the very definition of what an executive creative director should be in digital media, and as the digital industry continues to expand he will become an ever-rarer talent.

Rising Star Award

Dr Sahil Datta (MSc Advanced Electronic & Electrical Engineering, 2016. PhD Electronics and Computer Engineering Research, 2021)

Data Scientist

Sahil Datta - web

Sahil Datta completed his MSc in Electronics and Electrical Engineering to pursue his PhD in Electronic and Computer Engineering at College of Engineering and Physical Science. I collaborated with Sahil in 2020 when we were both conducting our doctoral research.

During his PhD, Sahil developed innovative machine learning algorithms to solve neuroscientific problems, which were published in prestigious journals. His work significantly focused on developing AI based communication system to help people suffering from motor disability using brain-computer interface technology. As a result, after his graduation, he was recognised as a Global Talent by the UK government via TechNation.

Following the completion of his PhD, Sahil applied his AI expertise in healthcare, where he contributed as a cofounder of PsychoTec. His contributions were instrumental in winning top prize in the Brunel Entrepreneur Hub's Venture Competition 2022 and securing a spot in the prestigious Conception X cohort. His dedication to improve healthcare led him to co-found PsychoTec, where he is actively involved in developing AI-assisted solutions for mental health diagnosis and intervention.

Later in 2022, Sahil transitioned to education technology (EdTec), joining the world's leading education publishing company Pearson as a Data Scientist in a division focused on upskilling the workforce using AI and data science. There, he has contributed towards building novel solutions for personalized learning pathways using Bayesian technology, which adapts to individual learners' needs and preferences, ensuring more effective and efficient upskilling experiences.

During his academic journey, Sahil also demonstrated capabilities to use his knowledge outside his domain of expertise by collaborating in interdisciplinary research. I collaborated with Sahil to investigate application of AI in diagnosis of depression and related symptoms, this work was awarded the Provost Interdisciplinary Award at Brunel University. In addition, this research was further supported by the 2022 Francisco J. Varela Research Award by Mind and Life Europe. This achievement led to Sahil working at Brunel University as a research consultant, collaborating with my team of neuroscientists and psychologists to investigate biomarkers of resilience and emotional regulation in the brain.

Alumni Advisory Board Award

Chidumaga Unachukwu (MSc Renewable Energy Engineering, 2019)

Chief Executive OfficerChidumaga Unachukwu - web

Chidumaga Unachukwu, embodies values of inspiration, discipline, and dedication, serving as a guiding light for others to follow. With a first degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Nigeria, Master's degree in Renewable Energy Engineering from Brunel University London and a climate pioneer leader in the Climate Reality Project, headed by former U.S A Vice president, Al-Gore, Since founding EXERGIE, a pioneering Clean Energy business in the year 2021, he has spearheaded initiatives that have propelled the company to the forefront of the industry, from the famous National Stadium Squash Courts Lagos Project (N.S.S.C) to health sector medical diagnostic labs etc. His impact transcends Nigeria, as he expanded EXERGIE's registered presence into Sierra Leone last year 2023.

With a steadfast commitment to sustainability, Chidu as he is fondly called, has achieved success, boasting exponential growth and garnering accolades as the fastest growing Clean Energy enterprise, as acknowledged by esteemed publications such as Business Day. EXERGIE's impressive track record of impact just over the span of just two years, has facilitated the installation of over 2,500KW of solar electricity, thereby generating approximately 3,832.5MWh of clean energy while significantly reducing carbon emissions by offsetting approximately 2000 metric tonnes of CO2 annually. Interestingly, the majority of these installations are deployed in the rural and underserved communities across Sub-Saharan Africa, where access to reliable electricity has long been a pressing issue.

Chidumaga's dedication to social impact has not gone unnoticed. His receipt of the prestigious Orange Corners Innovation Fund grant from the Kingdom of Netherlands in recognition of his efforts in leveraging renewable energy to power essential facilities, such as hospitals and schools, which play a vital role in enhancing the well-being of communities, particularly women and children. Collaborating with organisations like "Qi Digital London", Chidumaga has further extended his reach, illuminating rural landscapes while concurrently nurturing local talent through skills development and job creation. Chidumaga's unwavering commitment to innovation and societal betterment was epitomised by his receipt of the British Council 2024 Award for "Business & Innovation." This accolade not only acknowledges his commitment to impact, but serves as a testament to his ability to effect positive change on a global scale.

Beyond his professional endeavours, Chidumaga remains rooted in his commitment to community upliftment. Through the EXERGIE Rural Electrification Project Initiative (1-16), he has brought sustainable electricity to previously darkened communities, fostering socio-economic development. Despite these, Chidumaga remains steadfast in his allegiance to his alma mater, actively participating in the Brunel Nigeria Alumni Association and championing its causes.

His longstanding relationship with Brunel University London is a testament to his gratitude for the institution that served as the crucible for his growth.


Previous award winners

2023: Francis Jones, Chun-chit Kan, Aashi Sahu

UK ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR - Francis Jones (PGCE Secondary Education - Chemistry, 2018)

CEO & Founder of STEM@HomeFrancis Jones smaller

Francis Jones has been a shining example of how, through creativity, kindness and determination that anyone can make a positive difference in the lives of multiple people, both within and outside the higher education landscape. Due to a desire to help educate and improve the scientific literacy of students in the UK, Francis completed his PGCE in Secondary Education (Chemistry) in Brunel University in 2018 and quickly rose up the ranks to join school leadership quite early on in his teaching career. However, Francis realised the limits of how many students he could help within one school, and he ended up winning a scholarship to do a master’s degree in STEM Education at King’s College London. It was here that Francis learnt about the power of entrepreneurship and how it could make ideas become a reality. Due to this, he ended up winning the Brunel Entrepreneur Venture Competition both in 2021 and 2022 and this led Francis to supporting Brunel and non-Brunel students in their entrepreneurial endeavours as well as developing powerful EdTech products to help more students in the UK.

Francis’ main success was the development of STEM@Home. This science education gamechanger disrupted where, when and how GCSE science students in the UK would access their required science practicals and within the first 6-months on the market, STEM@Home gained a 0.24% market share. STEM@Home has been a massive benefit to GCSE Science students who are SEND (Special Educational Needs Disorders) since, for the first time ever, it has made science education fully accessible to a previously-overlooked demographic of students who always needed help. This has led to lots of great case studies, indicating that using STEM@Home is helping make science education equal for all students and reducing the attainment gap nationally.

The success and impact of STEM@Home has led to many accolades and awards such as 2nd place in the social enterprise category at the Mayor of London’s Entrepreneurial Competition 2022, semi-finalist in the UCL Global EdTech Awards 2022 and the winner of the people’s choice award at the Queen Mary Social Venture Fund 2023.

Outside of competitions, STEM Learning, the UK’s largest and most trusted science education organisation reached out to work directly with STEM@Home. Francis has also been noticed by the major exam board, Pearson, and has been invited to join the Royal Society of the Arts due to his work and successes in helping make science education equal within the UK which aligned with the RSA’s mission values of a world where everyone can fulfil their potential. Within the higher education entrepreneurial space, Francis was invited by UCL’s Institute of Education to run workshops on developing entrepreneurial skills and EdTech products and was invited by Brunel’s Entrepreneur Hub to run similar workshops for them. Francis also connected with a lot of students after giving up his time to help Brunel’s Entrepreneur Hub run a large in-person event and became an impromptu mentor to many Brunel students who wished to also become an entrepreneur and make a difference.

In conclusion, Francis has demonstrated a clear desire to help make science education fully accessible within the UK and disrupt the status-quo and is currently making an impact with positive results and testimonials. Despite his successes, he does not forget who helped him; Brunel University, and thus actively continues to engage with and support their students.

INTERNATIONAL ALUMNUS OF YEAR - Chun-chit Kan (Carson) (MSc Integrated Product Design, 2011) - China

Design Director at SonoScape Medical CorporationChun-chit Kan - Carson

Chun-chit Kan (Carson) is the Design Director of SonoScape Medical. Thanks to Brunel design education, the second journey of my career is more exciting and I become a medical device design expert. After graduated in 2011, I am deeply influenced by the rational design approach form Made in Brunel. I came to mainland China and chose to focus on medical device design. During these 12 years, I have designed 30+ types of medical products, ranging from human to animal, from hospital/home to military application, from ICU to pharmacy, from medical imaging to surgical. I wish to become a π-shaped designer (design, marketing & medical).

I had worked for Neusoft Medical Systems & Mindray Medical as head of design & design manager respectively. I was in charge of design of two "13th Five-Year Plan of the National Key Research & Development Program of China". I am very proud to participate in developing domestic high-end medical equipment & new medical reform. Since 2020, Coronavirus has caused serious damage to the lives and economy of the world. The medical devices I have designed are distributed in 100+ countries, including CT scanners, digital radiography, ventilators, patient monitors and infusion pumps. Thankfully, I feel honoured to receive 2021 Forbes China The Most Valuable Intelligent Designer Top 10, 2020 National Ten Outstanding Young Chinese Designers, 2022 VTC 40th Anniversary Outstanding Alumni & 2022 Shenyang City High-level Talent. Besides, I have won 30+ product design awards globally, including iF Design, Red Dot, IDEA, Chinese Patent, etc.

My mission is to promote Chinese medical and design globally, I am very proactive in different design communities. In 2020, I was nominated as the core member of Young Designers Circle at World Design Organization. It lasted for 2 years so I had cooperated with lots of popular designers worldwide. We worked in different design initiatives, which help to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. I should mention again, the English I practiced at Brunel providing me skills and confidences to always be the bridge between East and West. In addition, I was invited to be a judge at the 3rd Goldreed Industrial Design Award and 18th Dragon Design Foundation Award, in order to filter and discover the excellent healthcare design projects and design talents. Furthermore, I have been actively participating in different design activities. These include delivering speeches, organizing product exhibitions, connecting design resources in different regions, being interviewed & published on magazines, and so on.

To conclude, without being educated and trained at Brunel I would not have  so many chances to make contributions in different areas. I feel very grateful & would love to give back to my school in the past & future. In the beginning of 2021, I was so happy my story was published as the first article of the Brunel Alumni WeChat account. Since then, I have been connecting with more & more alumni especially in China. From May 2022, I am selected as a member of Alumni Advisory Board. I have more chances to learn about the alumni community and make contributions like meetings, interview, promoting, etc.

I look forward to giving back as much as I can, to share my experiences, design knowledges & many others. I always suggest Chinese industrial design students to study abroad, especially Brunel, as its founder played a key role in Britain's industrial revolution. It is because I do really change my path after graduated.

RECENT ALUMNA OF YEAR - Aashi Sahu (MSc in Management, 2022)

Senior Digital Transformation LeadAashi  Sahu_Headshot smaller

As an international student from Asia, who was new to the UK, Aashi Sahu was able to secure a technical job as an Automation Specialist while still completing my master's degree, even amidst the challenges of the pandemic. My networking skills and a background in both management and technology helped me achieve this goal. During my master’s program, I consistently excelled academically, earning bronze, silver, and gold awards from my university in 2021 and 2022 among a field of over 16,640 eligible students. I also engaged in a variety of extracurricular activities, such as networking, certifications, technical workshops and events, mentoring, coaching and content creation.

As a result, I received two promotions within my company for successfully developing and completing significant automation projects on time, while also offering extended assistance before officially graduating. Despite these successes, I faced several challenges, including severe anxiety and depression, in 2021. But in 2022, I began working on self-development and improvement of my mindset, and mental and emotional well-being. I also decided to contribute to society by doing volunteer work and actively participating in social activities. As a Project Manager for the International Women in Tech community, I assist others who may be going through similar struggles, and offer mentoring and coaching sessions to others, given my experience and understanding of mental health and wellness.

My contributions and leadership in the tech industry have been recognized, and I was nominated for various women in tech leadership awards in the UK and globally, ultimately being named a Techwomen100 2022 winner. I have also been listed as a 2022 Role Model for #SmashingTheStigma of mental health, alongside names such as Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, and Emma Stone on the Leadersboard InsideOut.

My personal mission is to empower others to turn their passions into reality, as I have done in my journey from a small town in India to the global stage. I also encourage others to value their emotions and well-being, creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all. My story is one of resilience, hard work, and determination, and it serves as an inspiration to others who may be facing similar challenges in their lives.

2022: Meesha Turner, Dr Soloman Moses Almadi and Dr Akuha Aondoakaa

UK Alumna of the Year: Meesha Turner (BA Drama & English, 2012)

West End Performer in SIX the Musical

Meesha TurnerMeesha Turner, originally from Birmingham, was at Brunel between 2009-2012 and was awarded a Music Award from the Brunel Arts Centre allowing her to explore her musical talent while continuing to pursue her academic studies. She has spent the last 10 years working towards her dreams, using the tools that Eileen Pinkarchevski and Sally Goodworth from Brunel equipped her with. She has worked in a variety of musical endeavours including playing Diana Ross and Tina Turner in two touring theatre productions: 'The Magic of Motown' and 'Soul Legends'.

She then successfully gained a full scholarship from the prestigious Disney Theatrical Productions to study a Musical Theatre Masters at the Royal Academy of Music. Due to the pandemic, opportunities were for a short time hard to come by. That didn't stop her resilience by doing online workshops for schools, working on her talents, and doing some smaller acting and modelling jobs while not forgetting about her dream. Meesha's Brunel excellence and resilience shone through with her ability to adapt and conquer despite everything going on.

All of her hard work eventually paid off in October 2021 when she was cast in her dream role of Catherine Parr in the West End's prestigious Six the Musical, which she opened in the Vaudeville Theatre on 16 November 2021 and where you can still find her performing six days a week.

In December 2021 she welcomed a group of Brunel Theatre students to the show with Sally Goodworth and spoke to them afterwards, inspiring them and giving them top tips about the performing industry. More recently, Meesha gifted her time in February 2022 for an alumni Q&A workshop with more Brunel Theatre students in the Antonin Artaud Building, providing students with both practical and theoretical knowledge for a successful career in theatre.

Meesha is proof that with talent, hard work and determination, even a pandemic can't stop you from achieving your dreams. As well as her own successes as an actor, she has been the biggest cheerleader for other Brunel alumni who have gone on to theatre success, including Yeukayi Ushe and Stephenson Ardern-Sodje, and continues to put her friends and family first while being extremely modest in her own achievements.

Meesha deserves to shine and is inspiring a whole new generation of Brunel talent. I couldn't recommend her enough and just wish you could see how hard she has worked and how far she has come from 2009 to 2022.

International Alumnus of the Year: Dr Soloman Moses Almadi (PhD Information Systems & Computing Research, 2011)

Engineering Consultant at Saudi Aramco

Soloman Almadi (COMPRESSED)Dr Soloman Moses Almadi is from the USA and currently lives in Saudi Arabia. He is nominated for key contributions to technology innovation, leadership in the automation and instrumentation engineering society, and contribution to the uplifting communities and workforce.

Technology Innovation: Soloman Almadi has over 12 US granted patents in system engineering automation, cybersecurity, and communications. One of his key innovations is the Intelligent Integrated Node. This innovation was awarded the worldwide recognition, receiving the 2020 Excellence in Innovation Award by the International Society of Automation. Moreover, this innovation won the King’s Prize for the Inventors’ category from 492 innovation submissions in 2018. This innovation introduced a disruptive technology in the digital transformation of automation infrastructure by utilising three approved US patents in developing the Edge computing device that will accelerate the IR 4.0 digital transformation. The Edge Computing Intelligent Integrated Node is an innovative design model for an industrial facility that supported multiple functions including data transfer, data analysis, logic control, system storage, edge intelligence, and IIoT capabilities. Soloman Almadi has taken this innovation into a higher milestone by working with a vendor on the development of the Node and he has successfully completed the Alpha model for manufacturing and integration testing, and identified additional enhancement in support of commercialisation.

The IN node paved the way for seamless and accelerated digital transformation by reducing the number of different automation vendors’ hardware components from at least four down to one. The disruptive innovation simplified deployment and system integration requirements and reduced cost. Moreover, the IN Node reduced spare parts, operational support, inter-system wiring, power, floor or cabinet space, and shelter requirements. The IN Node estimated cost reduction is 40% to 60% of the current deployment methods. The IN Node has great market and commercialisation potentials.

Soloman Almadi has been an active member of the International Society of Automation (Non-profit) Saudi Section since 2009. He has served at different capacities promoting membership and awareness of the science of instrumentation and automation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has also contributed to engineering standards development and best practices. Soloman Almadi was awarded international recognition by the ISA in 2019 for Excellence in Leadership for Empowering Women Engineers in Saudi Arabia. Soloman Almadi has served as President of the ISA Saudi Section in 2017 and 2018 and is now the Vice President Elect of ISA District 12 covering Europe, the Middle-East and Africa.

Community service and uplifting the workforce: Soloman Almadi has invested in continuous efforts and is a key contributor in promoting communication and leadership skills through the International Toastmasters Organization (non-profit) learning model. He has sponsored over 50 clubs with over 1000 members (females and males) over the past 18 years. He was recognised for his great effort by being awarded the Excellence in Leadership award in 2017 for making a difference in people lives and empowering them to be a workforce of the future.

Recent Alumnus of the Year: Dr Akuha Aondoakaa (PhD Electrical Engineering & Electronics Research, 2020)

Computer Vision Engineer at Islacare and Co-founder & Chief Operational Officer (COO) at PsychoTec

Akuha Aondoakaa (COMPRESSED)Dr Akuha Aondoakaa is from Nigeria and currently lives in the UK. He has completed a hattrick of Brunel qualifications, including a PhD in Electrical Engineering & Electronics Research, 2020; an MSc in Advanced Multimedia Design & 3D Technologies, 2015; and a BSc in Computer Science (Digital Media & Games), 2012.

Nomination 1
After completing his MSc in Advanced Multimedia and 3D Technology, Akuha started his PhD in Electronic and Computer Engineering. I first met Akhua in 2017, when we were pursuing our PhD research. Now I am the co-founder and CTO at PsychoTec; an AI assisted mental healthcare start-up, co-founded by Akuha to provide digital solutions for diagnosis and intervention of depression.

During his PhD, Akuha developed a novel learning-based image up-sampling technique for Holoscopic 3D images that were published in a high impact journal. This method was implemented to prevent and preserve Qatar Cultural Heritage through Advanced Holoscopic 3D Imaging. For his scientific contribution, Akuha was awarded the Excellence in Science award by the Benue State Governor, Nigeria in 2019.

After obtaining his PhD, Akuha used his skills and knowledge for technology as an autonomous scientist at AIdrivers LTD, where his responsibility entailed the development of existing and innovative solutions and framework for the AI-driven services. In addition, Akuha was also recognised as a Global Talent by the UK Government via Tec nation in 2020.

In 2021, Akuha followed his passion for providing solutions to the healthcare industry and joined Islacare, where he is working as the lead Computer Vision Scientist for the Surgical Site Infection Surveillance (SSI) project, using smartphone technology as part of patient engagement and improving quality of care in cardiothoracic surgery. His passion for making a positive impact on the community led him to co-found PsychoTec LTD, where he is working towards the development of AI-assisted mental health care solutions for diagnosis and intervention of depression. His vision to improve the diagnosis procedure of depression in the NHS recently won the Brunel Entrepreneur Hub’s Venture Competition 2022 and secured a position in the Conception X cohort V.

During his time as a doctoral researcher, Akuha mentored MSc students in the Advanced Multimedia course, specifically the interaction design and games module, showing great leadership qualities. Akuha was recognised as a Global Talent by the UK government via Tec nation (2020), and Awarded Excellence in Science by Benue State Governor, Nigeria (2019).

Nomination 2
Dr Akuha Aondoakaa’s work in the healthcare sector is commendable. In a short time, he has managed to design and implement an end-to-end system for identifying signs of early infection and tracking of the healing progress from patient submitted images via smartphone technology. He developed the system for blur detection and image enhancement API for correcting poor quality images, ultimately improving the effectiveness of image report reviewing.

The main reason for him to enter this sector was to improve the health and wellbeing of the community on a larger scale. This commitment is also evident in his work as co-founder and COO of PsychoTec, where he intends to implement digital solutions for fighting depression and promoting wellbeing, specifically in African countries.

2021: Dr Thomas Fudge, Dr Esra AlDhaen and Dr Pauldy Otermans

2021 UK Alumnus of the Year: Dr Thomas Fudge

MSc Sustainability, Entrepreneurship & Design, 2016

CEO at WASE Limited

Nomination 1:
I met Thomas Fudge (Tom) for the first time in December 2016 during Brunel's winter graduation ceremony. We graduated with the same master's degree, MSc in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Design (SusED), which we did with a one-year difference. Now I work as a Project Manager for WASE, an environmental engineering company that Tom founded in 2017 during his PhD at Brunel University.

After completing my MSc, I was in touch with my academic supervisor, Dr Abdul Chaudhary. That time he also happened to be Tom's dissertation supervisor. Every time I visited him, he spoke highly of Tom. He would passionately explain how novel Tom's idea was to transform human waste into energy - a perfect solution for energy scarce countries like Kenya. I could sense the level of excitement and achievement that Dr Chaudhary was experiencing at that time.

Thomas Fudge_Profile ImageHe was highly proud of Tom that not only did he do 

Dr Chaudhary also explained to me the reason for setting up the SusED course. He said the idea was to offer an interdisciplinary programme that can address the complex development challenges by producing entrepreneurs and leaders equipped with the right tools and knowledge.well in his circular economy class but made the best out of the SusED

 course - as it combines designing innovative sustainable solutions with an opportunity to make them a reality!

As an intellectually curious person, Tom continued with his MSc dissertation idea and enrolled in a PhD at Brunel University. During his PhD, Tom developed Electro-Methanogenic Reactors (EMR) for decentralised wastewater treatment. Evolved from his PhD, EMR laid the foundation for WASE. EMR is the core technology at WASE that we currently test in real-world scenarios. Our portfolio comprises pilots in the UK and Kenya, where we are validating our technology in various set-ups and on different waste streams.

Both Tom and I are equipped with the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) that we learned during the SusED course, which forms the basis for everything we do at WASE. Our work demonstrates the implementation of ecological and social sustainability principles that we learned at Brunel. Despite doing the same course, I believe we both have different strengths. Tom demonstrates exceptional entrepreneurial mindset and leadership qualities!

Tom has created an incredible team of 15 passionate people comprising of 40% Brunel graduates. I am excited to be part of WASE as it is a platform where I follow my passion and continuously demonstrate my capabilities. Tom envisioned an inclusive and fair world, and I am fortunate to be part of his team and contributing to that vision. Tom has created opportunities for so many youngsters, including myself, to follow their passion and make a significant contribution to the world!

Tom has touched upon so many lives as WASE continues to expand its outreach in the global south. Through his intellect, hard work, dedication, and humble personality, he has influenced youngsters to pursue academic excellence and opt for higher studies in the United Kingdom. As Dr AJ explained to me the reason of establishing the SusED course, I strongly believe that it has been justified and witnessed through the amazing work that Tom has undertaken. I see Tom as an excellent representation of Brunel University not only in the United Kingdom but globally. I would, therefore, nominate Thomas Fudge for the Brunel Alumni of the Year Award.

Nomination 2:
The work Tom has been undertaking with WASE is outstanding. Through the research of EMR technology, he has found WASE to apply sustainable waste management in many different industry sectors. The main purpose he is approaching these sectors is to fund the development of the new technology to improve sanitation in developing countries. The decentralised systems currently under development have the potential to impact lives all over the world and will have the ability to do so without harming the planet. Tom has also provided vast opportunities for Brunel students and supports personal development as a primary goal of working for WASE

2021 International Alumna of the Year: Dr Esra AlDhaen

PhD without residence - Management Studies, 2017

Executive Director Quality Assurance and Accreditation, and Assistant Professor at Ahlia University

Dr Esra AlDhaen is from Bahrain. I graduated from my postgraduate degree in 2007 and started working in a Higher Education Institute - Ahlia University - located in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The University is affiliated with Brunel University London to offer a PhD (without residence) in the field of Management Studies. I was always eager to conduct research and peruse my PhD. After graduation, I become an Assistant Professor in the area of strategic decision making and quality as well as handling quality assurance and accreditation at university level.

Esra AlDhean_Profile Image

My passion for research and loyalty to Brunel enabled me to seek approval for establishing the PhD (W.R) alumni club that was formed in 2017 - the main aim of the club is to maintain a relationship with our graduates and support collaborative research across graduates, PhD researchers and supervisors. The club was formed officially in 2017 in the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain by the attendance of Prof. Jane Hendy, the Dean of the Business School and other faculty members from Brunel including Prof. Wafi Al-Karaghouli, Prof. Stephen Mullins and other PhD Supervisors.

After obtaining my PhD, the qualification supported my career progression. I am an external quality and accreditation reviewer for various countries including Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain which is supporting my progression at my professional level. In addition, I have obtained Principle Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) as a reflection of obtaining and understanding the UK Teaching and Learning Framework. My role enables the university to obtain the highest judgement in all its quality assurance reviews conducted by various external authorities. The research skills obtained throughout my PhD allowed me to excel in my career and publish various papers in the area of strategic decision making and quality.

I maintain and contribute to knowledge, community and policy making. During 2020, I was awarded two research awards by Emerald Publishing and ICAI. I am active in terms of providing seminars to the community and also a coordinator with United Nations to support commitment to sustainable goals. I am a member in different policy making committees at national levels to set and revise standards. I am Brunel-recognised supervisor and am supervising three PhD researchers currently. As an academic I am supporting the applicants to draft a high-quality proposals to join the PhD W.R, and am currently supporting more than three who have joined successfully.

I do believe branding the PhD (W.R) through academic quality is vital and highly important. I am a member of the Joint Partnership Board between Brunel/Ahlia, I oversee regulatory compliance and QA. As an expert in Quality Assurance and Qualification Framework, I was able to map the PhD (W.R) to Bahrain NQF and place it successfully to be the first qualification in Bahrain placed at PhD Level. I have also been the organiser for an annual conference conducted by Brunel University and Ahlia related to "equal and gender equality" in coordination with Prof. Mary Richard. 

2021 Recent Alumna of the Year: Dr Pauldy Otermans

PhD Psychology, 2018

Lecturer at Brunel University London and Principal at Otermans Institute (OI)

Nomination 1:
Dr Pauldy Otermans has been an inspiration to the Brunel community. Since graduating in 2018, she first joined the University as an Ambitious Futures Graduate and then joined the College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences as a Lecturer - currently rising to the rank of Deputy Divisional Lead in Psychology. During this period, she also set up an international organisation, Otermans Institute, that is upskilling underserved and unserved learners across refugee camps in Iraq, with governments in Afghanistan and India, with foundations from Palestine and Lebanon to recently supporting children of war victims in Sri Lanka.

Her work with Otermans Institute, which supported 30,000 learners during the pandemic, was recognised by the UKPauldy Otermans_Profile Image Prime Minister in January 2021, received a grant from Innovate UK in April 2021, and has won many other international awards, including one from the Governor in West Bengal, India. Otermans Institute is also well known for launching an AI-driven Virtual Teacher to support the learning of refugee and internally displaced learners in an UNHCR camp in Iraq.

Finally, she produced a 444-page bestseller that recorded contemporary history from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic; donating all proceeds to NHS charities and frontline services.

Pauldy became a lecturer at Brunel and passed her probation 6 months early. She then rose to the rank of Deputy Divisional Lead in Psychology. She is driving the enhancement of employability in the curriculum and beyond to improve the transferable skill sets graduates have when they leave Brunel to make them employable for jobs in industrial revolution 4.0. After graduating, she founded an international education organisation that upskills students in 10 countries and is funded by a UK government’s funding arm - Innovate UK. She developed the entire curriculum on transferable skills and is presenting the findings of its impact and her other research on enhancing employability at national and international conferences. She is a Trustee of Cambridge Student Union and a School Governor in West London.

During the pandemic, Pauldy launched ‘Lessons for Humanity’ - a free learning series designed to support people to learn essential life skills when they were forced to remain indoors due to the pandemic, which also supported their mental wellbeing by incorporating group learning activities, and benefited 20,000 people. Her book ‘Together: An anthology from the COVID-19 pandemic’ recorded global contemporary history and is donating to the NHS and health charities. She contributes to communities by being a governor at a local school in London, and student-centred charity in Cambridge with over 24,000 beneficiaries.

Championing the spirit of Brunel internationally as her work as an alumna has been covered by 20+ media outlets in 2020. Through Otermans Institute, she has provided over 13 placements to Brunel students during the pandemic, when many other companies removed such opportunities due to the period’s uncertainty. She also provided volunteering opportunities to students across the UK, including six from Brunel. She regularly speaks at Brunel, outside her role as lecturer, and continues to inspire students and staff. Finally, Pauldy is an active mentor to Brunel students as part of the Brunel Mentoring Scheme where she supports students with mock interviews and other events alongside from her mentoring role.

Nomination 2:
I have known Dr Pauldy Otermans since my first year at Brunel, when she was our Students’ Union President. She has been an inspiration to me since then, having launched and run massive campaigns like Brunel Bikes and TEDx Brunel. After graduating, she launched her own institute called Otermans Institute, which is teaching less advantaged students across three continents and she also received an award from the UK Prime Minister for her work this year. She is also a Lecturer at Brunel University London and Deputy Divisional Lead in Psychology. Even as an academic she continues to support former and current students, like greatly assisting me recently with a PhD application outside her field, which I successfully secured with CERN Switzerland.

I also know that Otermans Institute's current project is an AI-driven Virtual Teacher to support the learning of refugee and internally displaced learners in UN camps In Iraq. I know this because I supported the project as I am a Full Stack Developer. This project again shows her innovative spirit, willingness to support the less advantaged in society, and her ability to lead an organisation to deliver complex projects. Finally, she also produced a global anthology on COVID-19 pandemic and that book continues to donate all proceeds to NHS charities and frontline services.

All in all, she remains an inspiration for me and I am sure she is the same for many others in the Brunel community. I also have seen from her LinkedIn that she is also a Mentor for Brunel students and is also a Governor of a local school. If nothing else, her selfless work towards the community, both Brunel and global, requires recognition and I nominate her for this award.


2020: Dev Aditya

LLB Law - class of 2017

  • Managing Director, Otermans Institute
  • Former Vice President of the Union of Brunel Students (2017-18)
  • Awards: Pride of Bengal Award 2019 - House of Lords; Global Leaders Award 2020 - Kolkata, India; National Campaign of the Year 2017 - NUS

Dev Aditya

After completing his studies, Dev was elected as the Vice President (VP) of the Union during which he served in the University Council and Senate. As VP he accomplished and brought innovative ideas to Brunel. Firstly, he led the organisation of Brunel’s first South Asian Culture Week to celebrate cultural diversity of the large number of South Asian students at Brunel. For this, he was recognised and won a national NUS award on inclusivity. Secondly, he brought TEDx to Brunel for the first time. This was a major event in which 6 Brunel staff and students were able to speak on a global platform. The event was very successful, received a lot of positive feedback and directly helped the careers of the speakers. However, potentially his biggest success was co-leading the Brunel Bikes campaign. Here, the team raised over £80,000 in less than 5 weeks by liaising with students, staff, alumni, local partners, businesses and other relevant stakeholders. Due to this achievement, the team secured an additional £100,000 deal with Santander to create and implement the current Brunel Bike scheme that links Uxbridge, Brunel University London and Hillingdon Hospital. In the first few weeks after the launch, it was named as the most used scheme in the country. It has contributed extensively to Brunel and the local community as it provides cheap travel for students, it is environmentally friendly, and it has strengthened Brunel’s relationship with the local community. In recognition for his work, the University has even named a cycle after him.

Dev has also supported and led projects supporting other London based communities. For instance, he helped bring art exhibitions to support fundraising for Syrian refugees to Uxbridge, helped organise and execute community events in Bromley which was attended by over 1500 people and led and supported national campaigns for international students and young workers. He also worked and supported parliamentary events on similar issues.

Following his time at Brunel, Dev worked in legal consulting in London while continuing to work on several community driven activities across various parts of London. This work led to him winning the Pride of Bengal award at the House of Lords in 2019, where he became its youngest recipient; past winners have included Nobel laureates such as Amarthya Sen.

Following his passion for social innovation and community work, Dev has moved on from legal consulting to his own very interesting enterprise. About a year ago, Dev started a social education enterprise called ‘Otermans Institute’ which aims to upskill students of India, Nepal and Bangladesh with the use of tailored soft skills and transferable skills training. At present, he has already trained a few hundred teachers and thousands of students, mainly in India. Recently, Dev and his colleagues signed an MOU with the government of the state of Uttarakhand to train and upskill over 20,000 underprivileged students across that state. Therefore, Dev is currently scaling the operations and lobbying other state governments to implement his soft skills curriculum and teaching programme. His work throughout India was recognised by the Governor in January 2020 and he received the Global Leaders Award for Innovation in Education. For his projects, he always aims to link it back to Brunel and has taken several interns and teammates from the University. He also continues to actively advise and support students. He has always stated the impact of his Brunel days in influencing his work.

Already in a short time span and at a young age, Dev has touched and impacted on the lives of thousands of people in different parts of London and across South Asia. His dedication to the young people in these communities and passion for social change are obvious. Furthermore, his work has involved and positively developed several existing and former Brunel students. I am excited to see his work grow and the impact he has on so many. I admire his vision and strategy, dedication to his work, his speed of achievements and impact on the community for both his current projects and during his time at Brunel.

2019: Professor Yogesh Dwivedi

MSc Information Systems - class of 2002

PhD Information Systems & Computing Research - class of 2006

Job title:

  • Personal Chair and Professor of Digital Marketing and Innovation, Swansea University, UK
  • Co-Director of Research, School of Management, Swansea University, UK
  • Director of Emerging Markets Research Centre (EMaRC), Swansea University, UK
  • University Dean of Academic Leadership (REF Research Environment and Interdisciplinary Research), Swansea University, UK

Yogesh Dwivedi

Written by Dr Anabel Gutirrrez - Professor Dwivedi completed his PhD studies within an outstanding three year period with 14 publications accepted by the time of his viva examination and has gone on to contribute to the development of future generations at different levels. He started his teaching journey 12 years ago, delivering a range of modules from Information Systems to Social Media Marketing in both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Student feedback has always been outstanding and his supervisory style has been exceptional, contributing to the development of 20 doctoral students. The quality of his supervision was recognised in 2017 as a finalist of the annual Times Higher Education Awards “2017 Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year”. Additionally, he has been invited to more than 65 PhD examinations as an internal or external examiner. His constructive and robust style for examination has transcended to different universities where he has mentored and coached new staff and colleagues, making a difference not only to students but to anyone in academia who is looking to improve their research skills. 

His contribution to the sector has comprised of more than 390 publications in refereed journals, conferences and books in addition to the development of extensive collaborations and joint international projects with social impact with other universities and professional bodies. 

As a Brunel alumna myself, I met Professor Dwivedi when I started my PhD at Brunel University London back in 2004. Since then, I have great admiration and the honour of collaborating in different capacities, each time it has being always an excellent experience providing the most incredible opportunities for further collaborations. These are just a few examples that solidify my decision for his nomination. Recognising alumni who contributed to industry, politics, business, sport, and many other areas is as important as to recognise those excellent academics who are part of their formation. Professor Dwivedi professional achievements, extensive knowledge in his field, the human approach for decision-making and natural solidarity to the academic community and society makes him a worthy candidate for the Brunel Alumni of the Year Award.

Written by Dr Dhaval Thakker - Yogesh has made a great impact in academia and the research on digital marketing since his PhD at Brunel. In my opinion, Yogesh’s record is one of the best students to come out from Brunel, in particular, working in academia. He has 300+ referred papers, very high citations 10k+, and h-index = 56. He has successfully supervised 15+ PhD students, was nominated by the Times Higher for outstanding supervisor of the year for 2017, and has been an internal and external examiner for more than 65 doctoral thesis.

Yogesh has also carried out the editorship of prestigious journals and conferences in the field, and held a number of other prestigious engagements. He has shown outstanding leadership in research and admin roles and is certainly a role model for someone working in academia (and also an alumnus of Brunel) like me, and I strongly believe that he is a role model for many graduates looking to make academia and research leadership their career.

Written by Dr Inderjeet Singh - Professor Dwivedi is a pioneer in the area of e commerce/management and has published 221 refereed journal articles and 141 conference papers in the field. His research interests are in the area of Information Systems (IS) including the adoption and diffusion of emerging ICTs (e.g. broadband, RFID, e-commerce, e-government, m-commerce, m-payments, m-government); an interest in analysis of usage trends of IS theories and research approaches; and understanding the evolution of IS, e-government and e-commerce research. His work on these topics has been published in a range of leading academic journals including: Communications of the ACM, European Journal of Information Systems, International Journal of Production Research, and Journal of the Operational Research Society.

He has presented his research at key international conferences in Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. He has co-edited more than ten books on technology adoption, e-government and IS theory and had them published by international publishers such as Springer, Routledge, and Emerald. He acted as co-editor of fourteen special issues; organised tracks, mini-tracks and panels in leading conferences; and served as programme co-chair of IFIP WG 8.6 Conference at the prestigious IIM Bangalore, India in 2013. He is secretary of IFIP 8.6 Working Group; a member of the AIM Scholar Pool; life member of IFIP 8 WG 8.5, 8.6; and an annual member of the Association of Information Systems.

Written by Dr Wafi Al-Karaghouli - I know Prof Dwivedi in an academic capacity, as we share many areas of interest, including chairing tracks at conferences such as EMCIS. Also, I have previously published with him a paper (“Dwivedi, Y., Venkitachalam, K., Sharif, A., Al-Karaghouli, W. and Weerakkody, V. 2011) on Research Trends in Knowledge Management: Analysing the Past and Predicting the Future. Special Issue, Journal of Information Systems Management, Vol.28: pp.43–56. (ABS 2*).

He is currently University Dean of Academic Leadership (REF Research Environment and Interdisciplinary Research) at Swansea University and has held many directorships roles at Swansea University. Yogesh finished his PhD studies in 2005 here at Brunel, his thesis entitled “Investigating consumer adoption, usage and impact of broadband: UK households”, a topic which is still current.

He has published widely in top ranking journals of the ABS ranking and is one of the top cited authors in e-Government and social media. He is known in both the Brunel Business School and Computer Science Department for his continuous collaboration with Brunel staff in research, publications & grants.

Written by Dr Yousra Asaad - Professor Dwivedi is a well-respected and very well established academic. He has long standing experience in teaching, research and management, and has been promoted to a Professor in a relatively short period of time. He is extremely well published in the field of digital marketing in prestigious journals and has been a director of research for a number of year’s ay Swansea University Business School, where he has revamped the research culture in the school to a more productive and enriching one. He has a great personality and is very helpful to colleagues and students - I think he is a fantastic candidate for this award.

2018: Solveiga Pakstaite

BA Industrial Design & Technology - 2014

Since graduating from Brunel, Solveiga is the Founder and Director of Mimica, a company developing a biologically accurate smart packaging solution that reduces food waste and improves food safety. She has gone on to make huge waves in the design world. Her product - Mimica Touch - began life as a project at Brunel. The concept was originally devised as part of her final-year project at in order to help the visually impaired, who cannot read dates on traditional food labels. However, she soon discovered that her design could revolutionise food labelling for all and make a huge impact in the food packaging industry. The product is designed to provide a more accurate method of determining whether food is stillSolveiga Pakstaite HILLS edible. The food label contains gelatine which breaks down at the same rate as the food inside the package. Once the food is no longer safe to eat, the user will be able to feel bumps on the label and will know to dispose of it.

Solveiga is also the Founder and Director of her own freelance design studio - Design By Sol Ltd. - which undertakes projects of a wide scope, as well as developing in-house projects in the areas of industrial & product design, packaging design, graphic design & information architecture and user experience design. In addition, Solveiga is also a Visiting Lecturer for UCL, a Board Member of Fast Forward 2030 and a Fellow at Unreasonable - an organisation, investment fund and private global network dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs.

Part of Solveiga’s incredible journey has included working with the Central Research Laboratory, a thriving facility in Hayes, West London, supported by Brunel to assist design start-ups. She is an enthusiastic supporter of Brunel, always keen to give back and inspire the next generation of designers and entrepreneurs. Solveiga has provided videos and profiles, and regularly joins us for events on campus, such as our Global Entrepreneur Week panel, discussing her unique perspective on what it means to be an entrepreneur and sharing tips and guidance for those looking to start / grow their own business. Her passion for supporting Brunel students is driven by the desire to encourage more students to take their own ideas seriously and see that they can really change the world; something she sees as the whole point of design.

Solveiga has achieved numerous accolades, along with a great deal of industry recognition, including being named as MIT Inventor of the Year 2017, Leader of Tomorrow 2016, Mayor of London Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2015, Top New Talent 2015 and Start-up of the Year 2014. Her awards to date have included the Hawley Award 2016, Shell Staff Inspiration Award 2016, Platypus Award for Innovations in Taste 2015, Smart Future Award 2015 and the James Dyson Award UK to name a few. Solveiga was also named as one of the ‘1000 Most Influential Londoners 2014’ and has been a key speaker at TEDxHult London.

We are delighted that Solveiga's inspirational design and entrepreneurial success have been formally recognised and rewarded. 

2017: John Dangerfield

Former student President, John, manages the largest service contracts for Babcock International, delivering critical services to Heathrow Airport. He also leads on the recruitment and assessment of graduates into his business.  John DangerfieldHis career began with the successful completion of the prestigious Siemens S5 graduate scheme and then he worked as a Service Recovery Manager for British Airways and as a Contracts Manager for the NHS, before moving on to Babcock. John has been a mentor in Brunel’s Women in Engineering programme since its inception. He regularly offers his time for widening participation activities at Brunel and beyond sharing his invaluable knowledge and experiences with his mentees and other students. He has also volunteered his time for the university on various other occasions, giving talks and supporting student recruitment activities. After competing for Brunel Racing in the Institute of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE)Formula Student competition, John returned as a judge and has judged 1,200+ teams over 13 years at both UK and USA events. He was then promoted to Head Cost Judge leading a team of 50+ judges. John gives countless hours to the development and growth of the next generation of engineers. John cherished his time at Brunel and all it gave him. He acts without hesitation to give back to the university and is a model Brunel graduate, performing and behaving exceptionally both professionally and personally. Congratulations to John on wining this award. We are delighted that your contributions to Brunel have been formally recognised and rewarded. 

2016: Tim Backshall

Tim studied Industrial Design at Brunel at the courses’ inception (1989), and was part of the first year to graduate from the programme. He went on to have a successful career in design before starting his own business, Integrity, in 1997. The company has two main objectives: outstanding client service and a Tim Backshalldynamic workplace environment. The first aim drives them to provide a complete service to clients to achieve consistency across all aspects of their brand, ensuring that the values of the client organisation are properly represented in all aspects of their business. The second objective is to create a great place to work, where people are valued for their strengths, and where the benefits of teamwork create a strong culture around helping others to do their very best for clients. Integrity provides brand services to well-known companies, including Waitrose, Volkswagen, Virgin and CenterParcs, and also in the public sector for police forces, universities and the NHS.

Tim credits the skills and thinking that Brunel instils in its designers which helped him shape both the company and its unique service offerings, focusing on brand implementation - bringing brand vision to life. This also led Tim to look to Brunel in 2003 when he decided to take on his first placement student, and marked the beginning of a long and fruitful employment relationship with Brunel.

In the years since, Tim and Integrity have employed many placement students, as well as taking on a growing number of graduates. Currently, Integrity has 13 Brunel alumni amongst their staff of 19 people. During their involvement with Brunel, Tim has employed 14 placement students, six of whom returned to Integrity for permanent employment after graduation, and 18 Brunel alumni as graduate employees. This translates into 88 years-worth of employment, with total salaries paid to Brunel graduates and undergraduates of over £2 million! At Integrity, Tim has created an environment that encourages and nurtures development in young graduates. Four out of the five members of the company’s current senior team originally joined as new graduates. Three of them are Brunel graduates and two undertook placements at the company during their time as students.

We are delighted to hear of Tim’s success and cherish his ongoing relationship with Brunel. We are very proud to present the award to him this year.

2015: Greg Duggan and Damien Kennedy

We received more nominations than ever before for the 2015 Alumnus of the Year. We saw an impressive range of alumni achievements and many examples of alumni continuing to support Brunel students through various types of volunteering. From the shortlist, you voted for your favourites, and after a close contest, we are2015 Alumni Of The Year pleased to announce that this year’s joint winners are Greg Duggan (Sport Sciences 2008) and Damien Kennedy (Sport Sciences 2008).

Greg and Damien met at Brunel where they studied Sport Sciences together. After graduation, Greg went on to teach at The Charter School in Southwark, while Damien joined Barking Abbey Basketball Academy as Head Coach.

Then in 2012, thanks to their shared interest in good nutrition, they had an idea for a great tasting but healthy ice cream. They founded WheyHey - the world’s first high-protein ice cream, which is low in fat and uses natural sweetener xylitol, which has no insulin response and is recommended by dentists.

The response to their product was incredible. When their first large order of 1,000 pots came in from Holland & Barrett, the pair struggled to deliver such a substantial volume. The batch sold out in just three days and the customers wanted more. Wheyhey was a huge hit but they had to work tirelessly and pool all their resources to try and meet the demand. Eventually they managed to scale up their production and grow the business.

The company, which is now forecast to turn over £2.5m this year and employs nine full-time staff, was able to grow thanks, in part, to social media. But, in recognition of their innovation and pioneering approach, they also won the Virgin Media Pioneer Award. This programme gives exciting new companies a range of resources and opportunities to help develop their businesses.

The ice cream has a growing number of celebrity fans including supermodel David Gandy and One Direction’s Harry Styles. Greg and Damien have also recently developed Coco Pro; a new protein-rich coconut water that is designed to provide the ultimate recovery drink.

Despite the incredible success of their business, Greg and Damien recently found time to return to Brunel to speak to students in the Entrepreneur’s Society to share their experiences and advice.

We are delighted to hear of their success and very proud to present the award to Greg and Damien this year.

2014: Dr. Hannah Critchlow

Hannah Critchlow graduated from Brunel in 2003 with a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, with First Class Honours.

During her studies here, Hannah was an exemplary student and was awarded three university prizes for ‘Best Biologist’.

Hannah went on to complete a PhD in Neuropsychiatry at the University of Cambridge, where she was also awarded a Magdalene College, Cambridge University Hannah CritchlowFellowship.

Inspired through her work as a nursing assistant at St Andrews Psychiatric Hospital, she went on to work as Strategic Manager for Cambridge Neuroscience. On secondment she helped steer and coordinate the re-launch of the British Neuroscience Association between 2010 and 2011. She credits her eye-opening experiences working on the ward with leading her to pursue a career in neuroscience and her desire to educate the public.

In 2013 she was named as one of Cambridge University's "inspirational and successful women in science".

Hannah now works as a presenter on the weekly BBC radio programme The Naked Scientists. Hannah along with her fellow presenters are "a media-savvy" group of physicians and researchers from the University of Cambridge who promote science to the general public in a fun and accessible manner,stripping it down to its bare essentials.The programme is aimed at those aged 14 and upwards and Hannah has explored topics as wide-ranging as Smallpox, sleep deprivation, Alzheimer's and morality.

Earlier this year in recognition of her work, she was named as one of the UK's 100 leading scientists by the Science Council. She was featured in the 'Communicator Scientist' category for her "energy and enthusiasm for communicating complex science issues in an accessible way".

Hannah continues to share her love of science through a busy public speaking schedule which has included appearances at schools, literary festivals and science festivals among others. Her ability to engage audiences is exceptional.

Hannah has just started working with Headcase, a new mental health awareness project, empowering people through open discussion and knowledge about the brain.

2013: Jordan Chitty

Jordan (BSc Industrial Design, 2007) studied Industrial Design at Brunel. During his placement year he worked for leading design consultancy iDC before he returned to Brunel for his final year to lead the team that coordinated the Made in Brunel show. By 2007 he had graduated with a first class honours degree and started his own business, Naked Creativity.

Naked Creativity is a central London design consultancy with a five-strong team ofJordan Chitty creative and technicalJordan Chitty individuals all passionate about web, graphic and branding design. Over the last six years, the company has gone from strength to strength with clients including Virgin Wines, London South Bank University and Olympic Delivery Authority.

Jordan has maintained strong links with Brunel. Since the launch of Naked Creativity, he has taken on students from Brunel for year-long work placements, providing invaluable practical experience of working within the industry. This is a crucial part of the student experience and in offering these placements Jordan has helped launch the careers of a number of his fellow alumni. He has also gone on to employ two Brunel graduates on a permanent basis. Last year he helped develop the Made in Brunel website.

Jordan is a great role-model for Brunel students. Not only has he made a great success of his own business, but he has also shown outstanding commitment to the university both during and after his studies. He continues to make a genuine and significant difference to the lives of our students.

2012: Ross Ramgobin

Ross (BA English with Drama, 2007) took leading roles in many of the Arts Centre’s musical productions and continued his Ross Ramgobin_Alumoftheyear v1vocal studies and involvement in university concerts following graduation.

In 2009, he was accepted on to the Royal Academy of Music’s MA in Vocal Studies and began performing with the prestigious RAM Song Circle in 2011.

He is now a member of the RAM’s prestigious Royal Academy Opera Course. His recent operatic roles include Claudio in Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. He has also performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the International Handel Festival in Goettingen, Germany.

The award recognised Ross’s exceptional achievements, his on-going support to the Brunel community, and for being a fantastic role-model for current Brunel students.

2011: Nathaniel Peat

Nathaniel (BEng Mechanical Engineering, 2001) is an entrepreneur highly committed to helping people realise their dreams. One of his most compelling traits is his dedication to helping young people rise above crime and make a positive difference in their own lives as well as in the lives of others in their community. 

In 2006, he founded the company The Safety Box to help youths tackle the growing problems of anti-social behaviour, bullying, low self-esteem, crime and violence in society. In 2007 he was the first double award winner of the Enterprising Young Brits competition. 2008 saw him feature on the BBC’s The Last Millionaire TV series. By 2009, he was a speaker at Jamaica’s first Youth Diaspora Conference. Then come 2010 he represented Great Britain as a youth delegate for the G20 Toronto Young Entrepreneur’s Summit and in 2011 he featured in the JP Morgan Black Power List.

During all this time, Nathaniel has remained connected with and supportive of Brunel University, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps. He is a tremendous role-model for Brunel students and frequently speaks at events and engages with Brunel students to inspire them.

2010: Peter Ward

Peter (Economics and Business Finance, 2001) is an entrepreneur and founder of the travel website Where Are You Now, Peter and VC edited and PSaka He was awarded for his business success and his huge commitment to helping others - particularly students at Brunel - in achieving their goals.

As a Brunel student Peter was already an entrepreneur, having experimented with setting up companies before he graduated. WAYN is now one of the world’s largest travel and lifestyle social networking community, with a presence in 220 countries. Membership has grown from 45,000 users in March 2005 to over 21.8 million today.

Since graduating Peter has been extremely supportive of Brunel and its students. He regularly comes to the University to assist with judging projects and to give inspirational talks to our current students. Peter has also been a strong supporter of the Brunel Entrepreneurs’ Society advising many aspiring entrepreneurs. .

2009: Heather Fell

In 2009, Brunel made its inaugural award to Heather Fell (BSc Physiotherapy, 2004), one of Britain’s leading Modern Pentathletes in recognition of her outstanding sporting achievements, particularly her silvHeather Feller medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Heather is one of Britain’s most successful pentathletes, achieving notable success, including taking the 2003 World Junior Championship, whilst studying for her BSc in Physiotherapy at Brunel.

Coming through career-threatening injuries in 2006, Heather showed not only determination, but also a serious aptitude for multi-tasking as she was training for five events while holding down three jobs in order to meet the costs of being an international athlete.

This dedication clearly paid off as Heather won medals in the World Cup, the European and World Championships, qualified for the Olympics which culminated in a fantastic Silver medal at the Beijing Games, taking her to the top of the World rankings.

Throughout all this, Heather has remained tremendously supportive of Brunel and is a great ambassador for the University. .