Swinburne University of Technology is proud to announce the exceptional finalists for the 2022 Alumni Impact Awards.
The awards acknowledge innovative, entrepreneurial and successful alum who have made a profound impact in their professional fields and in the community.
There are three award categories recognising the finalists and their efforts towards social, environmental and technological challenges, combining people and technology to make change for good.
Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pascale Quester says she continues to be amazed by the work of Swinburne alumni around the world.
"It is fantastic to see that this year's finalists have gone out into the world to make a real difference, after studying with us at Swinburne,” says Professor Quester.
“We recognise these finalists not just for their exceptional abilities, but for their determination and tenacity.
“Having three finalists based overseas is a testament to the impact our graduates continue to have on the global community.
“I congratulate the finalists for 2022, and I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavours.”
Learn about the 2022 finalists
The 2022 finalists studied with Swinburne across six different campuses and have completed diplomas through to doctorates.
Finalists are currently living in the United States, Ethiopia and all across Australia.
Two finalists identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
The George and Ethel Swinburne Social Impact Award is for a Swinburne alum who has demonstrated Swinburne’s passion of providing opportunities for all, irrespective of wealth, privilege, age, gender or race, making a real difference to the world we live in.
Finalists for this award are:
Sosina Wogayehu OAM
Founder and CEO of Ethio Circus Entertainment, an organisation providing training and employment opportunities for the youth of Ethiopia to protect them from homelessness and substance abuse.
Sosina graduated with a Bachelor of Circus Arts.
Founder of communications agency Think HQ. An award-winning agency intending to harness communications as a force for positive impact. Her agency now boasts 80 staff from 14 different countries, speaking 20 different languages. Two in three of Think HQ’s staff are women.
Jen graduated with a Graduate Diploma of Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Andrew -James (AJ) Tchen
Andrew-James (AJ) is of Wiradjuri / Wotjobulak 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.
AJ graduated with a Diploma of Community Services (Disability Work).
The Innovative Planet Impact Award is for a Swinburne alum whose exceptional endeavour has resulted in significant impact in local and/or global environmental sustainability.
Finalists for this award are:
Christopher and Gabrielle Tylor
Christopher and Gabrielle are co-founders and Directors of exci, a commercial early bushfire detection system. exci has been deployed globally and has monitored over 125 million acres from Mexico to Canada covering California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and parts of Australia, and uses propriety artificial intelligence to detect bushfires as fast as one minute after ignition, compared to the usual detection time of 90 minutes.
Christopher graduated with a Master of Science (Astronomy) and Gabrielle graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology).
Ts. Dr. Hj. Muhammad Khusairy Bin Bakri
Dr Bakri, who is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Washington State University, 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.
Dr Bakri graduated with: Foundation Degree (Engineering /Science); Bachelor’s Degree (Mechanical Engineering); Master's Degree (Mechanical/Acoustical/Chemical/Petroleum/Material) Engineering and Ph.D (Mechanical/Acoustical/Chemical/Petroleum/Material).
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 thirteen 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.
Peter graduated with a Diploma of Management.
The Technology Innovation Impact Award is for a Swinburne alum whose exceptional endeavour has resulted in significant impact through technology and entrepreneurial innovation, demonstrating Swinburne’s vision of people and technology working together to build a better world.
Finalists for this award are:
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 that was distracting her students to learn. 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.
Dr Oates graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy.
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 in one of Australia’s greatest business turnaround stories, with it recently being acquired for $290 million.
Tristan graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology (IT).
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.
The company has expanded its global footprint including the establishment of its Australian beachhead in Melbourne, co-located at St Vincent's Hospital.
Erwin graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical & Bioprocess).
The awards will take place on Thursday 13 October 2022.