Winners and finalists

Our inspirational finalists came to Swinburne to study in person and online from right across the globe and represent all our disciplines. Since graduating, each has blended their Swinburne education with hard work and tenacity to create lives of distinction. Finalists were selected for their extraordinary leadership, entrepreneurial innovation and desire to make the world a better place.

Winners were announced at the award ceremony on Thursday 13 October 2022 in the Swinburne room at the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI).

Award categories

Technology Innovation Impact Award

For a Swinburne alum whose exceptional endeavour has resulted in significant impact demonstrating Swinburne’s vision of people and technology together for a better world

The George and Ethel Swinburne Social Impact Award

For a Swinburne alum who has demonstrated Swinburne’s passion for providing opportunities for all, irrespective of wealth, privilege, age, gender or race, making a real difference to the world we live in

Innovative Planet Impact Award

For a Swinburne alum whose exceptional endeavour has resulted in significant impact through entrepreneurial innovation

Meet our winners

Meet Tristan Sternson

2022 Technology Innovation Impact Award winner

Tristan Sternson

Tristan is CEO of ARQ Group, a digital technology solutions business, providing advisory, experience and design, and engineering and managed services, since September 2019.

In just three short years, the 2001 IT graduate has transformed ARQ Group into one of Australia’s greatest business turnaround stories, with it recently being acquired for $290 million.

2022 George and Ethel Social Impact Award winner

Andrew-James (AJ) Williams-Tchen

Andrew-James (AJ) is of Wiradjuri background and founded the Girraway Ganyi Consultancy, an Aboriginal-owned consultancy offering Indigenous cultural awareness and mental health first aid (MHFA) workshops and mentoring programs to schools, community groups and national and state-run organisations.

Meet Christopher and Gabrielle Tylor

2022 Innovative Planet Impact Award winner

Christopher and Gabrielle Tylor

Christopher and Gabrielle are co-founders and Directors of exci, a commercial early bushfire detection system.

exci uses proprietary artificial intelligence to detect bushfires as fast as one minute after ignition, compared to the usual detection time of 90 minutes.  With exci in action, the start-up could save Australia $8.6 billion over the next 30 years in disaster response by detecting bushfires in rapid time.

Meet our finalists

Technology Innovation Impact Award

Dr Gráinne Oates

Dr Oates is a Swinburne business alum, educator, entrepreneur and CEO who is revolutionising education and training through a multi-award-winning gamified app called Quitch.    
In 2015, while working as a Swinburne accounting lecturer, Dr Oates decided to do something about her biggest challenge: engaging and retaining distracted students struggling with their course content yet always glued to their phones. Dr Oates devised an idea to harness the very thing distracting her students. The solution was Quitch: a gamified, mobile e-learning app that changes the way learners engage with knowledge, which had a huge impact on how her students engaged.

Meet Dr Gráinne Oates
View transcript [PDF 147KB]

Erwin Estigarribia

Erwin is the Chief Operations Officer of InterVenn Biosciences. InterVenn Biosciences is the developer of an artificial intelligence (AI) platform which detects cancer. 

The company uses its AI platform to identify patient-specific cancer biomarkers and then uses those to develop liquid biopsy tests to both detect cancer and determine how well each patient will respond to available treatments.

Erwin’s aspiration about cancer and other life-ending diseases is to detect early and change the conversation from “this drug saved my life” to “this test saved my life”. He believes these diseases should be viewed as manageable conditions and not a painful losing battle.

Meet Erwin Estigambia
View transcript [PDF 98KB]

George and Ethel Swinburne Social Impact Award

Sosina Wogayehu OAM

Sosina Wogayehu is founder and CEO of Ethio Circus Entertainment.

The organisation provides training and employment opportunities for the youth of Ethiopia to protect them from homelessness and substance abuse. 

Meet Sosina Wogayehu
View transcript [PDF 97KB]

Jen Sharpe

Founder of communications agency Think HQ, an award-winning agency intending to harness communications as a force for positive impact. It now boasts 80 staff from 14 different countries, speaking 20 different languages. Two in three of Think HQ’s staff are women.

Meet Jen Sharpe
View transcript [PDF 147KB]

Innovative Planet Impact Award

Ts. Dr Hj. Muhammad Khusairy Bin Bakri

Ts. Dr Hj. Muhammad Khusairy Bin Bakri is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Washington State University. 

Dr Bakri is an advocate for worldwide industries to turn to bamboo-friendly products, due to concerns about increased logging activities impacting forests’ capacity to absorb carbon dioxide emissions. Dr Bakri has had his products commercialised and is considered an expert in his field, having co-authored and edited more than 150 publications.

Meet Dr Bakari
View transcript [PDF 103KB]

Peter Murray

Peter is a Ngurrara Traditional Owner from the Great Sandy Desert, and the CEO of Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation, an organisation driven to improve the lives of Aboriginal locals as well as environmental health in the Kimberly region.

Through his organisation, Peter manages a team of 13 Aboriginal rangers, who carry out conservation and land management work, keeping sites healthy through traditional methods of burning, cultural maintenance, monitoring water quality depth and more. 

Meet Peter Murray
View transcript [PDF 103KB]

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