In Summary

A Nigerian student at Swinburne University of Technology has won the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) 2014 Excellence Award – International Student of the Year (Postgraduate).

Ishaku Lemu Haruna is a sponsored student from Gombe in Nigeria, studying the new Master of Science (Biotech)/Master of Science (Leadership) double degree Swinburne offers with Boston’s Northeastern University.

Mr Haruna came to Australia at the beginning of 2013 on an Australia Award Scholarship, funded by AUSAID.

Upon arriving, he spent several weeks at Swinburne College, which provides training in English, as well as preparing both international and domestic students for their first experiences of Australian university culture.

In addition to participating in this week’s CISA national conference, Mr Haruna was part of a team of Swinburne students at the G20 Youth Summit in Germany in June.   He also delivered a heartfelt and inspiring message to the Wurundjeri elders at the launch of Swinburne's Reconciliation Action Plan in May this year.

According to Swinburne Vice-President (International and Future Students) Jeffrey Smart, Mr Haruna has made his mark on the Swinburne community in a relatively short amount of time.

“To move from one side of the world to the other, to study a master’s program in which he is negotiating two different academic traditions at the same time, to create a life in Melbourne, and to win a major national award is exceptional,” Mr Smart said.

“Ishaku is the type of person who encourages the hearts, warm the smiles, and genuinely cares about each and every person he meets,” Rick Arrowood, NEU Graduate Faculty Member and Visiting Professor at Swinburne, said.

“He is filled with optimism, enthusiasm, and a keen sense of helping others in need. I see what others see—an individual who will forge change when the change benefits the unprotected, the underprivileged, and the under-represented.”

Mr Haruna has been part of the Swinburne Student Amenities Association’s Student Leadership and Volunteer Program. He is also currently the President of the International Student Advisory Group at Swinburne which is open to all international students at Swinburne.

The CISA is the peak international student body. Mr Haruna’s award was announced at the CISA conference in Adelaide.

Watch a video of Mr Haruna’s story.