With so much exceptional talent within the Brunel alumni community, the Development and Alumni Relations Office were delighted to host the first hybrid alumni awards event, coming together to celebrate the many successes of our graduates. With 156,000 alumni in 177 countries, 30,000 of which are based internationally, it was a truly global event with guests attending on campus and online from around the world.
The event kicked off with a welcome from Brunel’s new Vice Chancellor and President, Andrew Jones. “The strength of our community is often one of the first things people say when they think of Brunel,” said Andrew. “The global community is leading the university with the impact that our many former students are having on the world.”
Speakers also included the 2021 winner of our Recent Alumna of the Year Award, Dr Pauldy Otermans, who graduated with a Psychology PhD in 2018 and is the Founder of Otermans Institute and a Lecturer in Brunel’s Psychology Department. Reminiscing about her student journey, Pauldy recalled that it was “a terrific experience filled with opportunities and the chance to meet brilliant and engaging students” noting that it would ultimately “shape my future career and get me to where I am today.”
Revealing our Alumni of the Year award winners
Members of the Brunel alumni community voted for this year’s trio of winners of the Alumni of the Year awards, with Meesha Turner, Dr Soloman Moses Almadi, and Dr Akuha Aondoakaa all victorious in a challenging field of 15 finalists to claim the 2022 titles.
The Brunel Alumni of the Year awards is an annual celebration of the university’s global community and looks to recognise not only outstanding professional achievement, but also ongoing contributions to the community and Brunel through volunteering and advocacy.
(L-R: Meesha Turner, Kirsty Smith - Head of Development & Alumni Relations)
Actress Meesha Turner was recognised as Brunel’s UK Alumna of the Year 2022 for her work in performing arts and supporting Brunel’s Theatre students with advice and tips for a career in the industry.
“I reached my dream of becoming a professional actor thanks to the guidance of Eileen Pinkarchevski and Sally Goodworth from the Brunel Arts Centre, and I don't think I would be here without their support,” said Meesha, who graduated from BA Drama & English in 2012.
After graduating, Meesha secured a scholarship from the prestigious Disney Theatrical Productions and is currently starring as Catherine Parr in the smash-hit West End production - SIX the Musical.
Currently based in Saudi Arabia, Dr Soloman Moses Almadi was named as Brunel’s International Alumnus of the Year 2022 for his contributions to technology innovation.
Soloman graduated with a PhD in Information Systems & Computing Research in 2011 and has over 12 US granted patents, including the award-winning 'Intelligent Integrated Node'. He has been recognised for excellence in leadership for empowering women in engineering in Saudi Arabia and gives back to the community through his work with various non-profit organisations
“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation and regards to the Brunel University staff, students, and the Alumni committee for the award,” said Soloman. “I am very proud of being a Brunel alumnus.”
(L-R: Dr Akuha Aondoakaa, Karen Auld - Senior Alumni Officer)
Entrepreneur and mental health champion Dr Akuha Aondoakaa was recognised as Brunel’s Recent Alumnus of the Year 2022 and has completed a hattrick of Brunel qualifications, most recently gaining his PhD in Electrical Engineering & Electronics Research in 2020.
With a passion for the healthcare industry, Akuha is the Lead Computer Vision Scientist at Islacare, designing and implementing systems for identifying signs of early infection via smartphone technology. He is also the co-founder of PsychoTec, a start-up creating AI-based digital tools for the diagnosis and detection of mental illnesses, specifically in African countries.
Naming our Alumni Association of the Year
With Brunel alumni associations in 13 countries, our global alumni have been busy connecting online and in-person over the last 12 months. For their continued commitment, the Singapore Alumni Association was recognised with our first Alumni Association of the Year Award.
Formed in December 2015, the association is made up of a truly diverse group. Chris Pardey leads the association having graduated with a Mathematics degree in 1985 and ensures that members meet regularly, maintaining their connection through numerous COVID-19 lockdowns. Members have offered worldwide placement opportunities to Brunel students over the years and have some exciting projects planned for the year ahead.
Recognising our Supporter of the Year
(L-R: Carole Portman Smith - Urban Scholars, Alexander Trusty - Moody's, Catherina Emery - Urban Scholars)
A huge part of the work of the Development and Alumni Relations Office is giving everyone a platform to succeed, so it was a pleasure to name Moody’s as the winner of our Supporter of the Year Award 2022. Presented to Moody’s representative Alexander Trusty, the award celebrates 20 years of outstanding support and contributions from Moody’s to the Brunel Urban Scholars programme, which provides positive learning experiences for young people from inner London schools.
“The programme has benefited students who are now representing all sorts of professions,” said former programme director, Carole Portman Smith.
Celebrating our entrepreneurial alumni
(L-R: Josh King, Georgia Williams, Carlton Cummins)
Through our fundraising efforts and generous donations from our alumni community and corporate partners, we’re able to help fund entrepreneurial awards to support the business ideas of our students and alumni. Presented by alumnus and former Venture Competition funding recipient Carlton Cummins, the Brunel Entrepreneur Hub proudly presented the winners of this year’s Venture Competition, awarding prizes to alumni Georgia Williams and Josh King, founders of Zeal (pictured above); Francis Jones, founder of LAB@HOME; and alumni Dr Akuha Aondoakaa, Jo Holmberg-Hansson and Sahil Datta, founders of Psychotec, all securing a share of the £10,000 prize to help fund their start-up business.
Thank you to all who helped us celebrate. To read more about our Alumni of the Year award winners, visit our webpages.
Written by Karen Auld and Ferhat Demirkiyik