2022 ANU Alumni Awards - a gifted community of leaders
14 Nov 2022
Every year, the ANU Alumni Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of our most remarkable alumni. This year, our award recipients are not just achieving excellence in their field; they are changing the lives of communities, in their backyards and across the globe - for the better, and for good.
Heidi Yates (BA '05, LLB '05, GradDipLegPrac '06) is our Alumna of the Year for 2022. Her ground-breaking work as Victims of Crimes Commissioner has amplified the voices and upheld the rights of marginalised communities calling for justice, in the ACT and beyond - including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, LGBTQIA+ families, multicultural communities, victims with disabilities, and children and other vulnerable victims.
Heidi sees it as a pleasure and a necessary, courageous act, to drive change. She says "All of us - wherever we are, whatever skills we have - have the potential to drive change".
Mikaela Jade (MAppCybernetics '21), our Indigenous Alumna of the Year, is a Cabrogal Woman and the founder and CEO of InDigital, Australia's first Indigenous Edu-tech company. InDigital is empowering Indigenous people and closing the digital divide, by providing them a meaningful pathway into the digital economy and the creation of future technologies.
"The company that she has created that has brought digital skills and Indigenous storytelling together is profoundly important," says Professor Elanor Huntington, "and one that I can only imagine is going to go incredibly far in the future."
Dr Mari Pangestu (BEc '79, MEc '81, HonLittD '13), our International Alumna of the Year has brought her experience over 25 years in years in academia, international organisations and government, to create impact at the World Bank as Managing Director of Development Policy & Partnerships.
What keeps her excited about her work helping developing countries plan for green, resilient futures is knowing she is making a change in people's lives. "I am in a global position where what we do can make a big difference," she says.
Our Young Alumnus of the Year is Kieran Pender (BA '16, LLB '18, GradDipLegPrac '19). From his momentous research as a student to his current role as a Human Rights Lawyer, he has advocated for the protection of victims of bullying and sexual harassment, whistleblowers and more.
Kieran is grateful for the impact he makes, including through giving back as a mentor and lecturer at the ANU College of Law. "It's a huge honour to wake up every day and work on things that I'm passionate about," he says.
Prime Ragandang (PhD in International, Political and Strategic Studies - Current student), our Student Volunteer of the Year (Postgraduate), is instilling his advocacy of peacekeeping and learning in his home region of Mindanao, Philippines. Through his research in storytelling, games and other creative expressions and the establishment of the BHOLI Youth Centre, Prime is cultivating connection and hope in the future generation.
More than achieving excellence and recognition, Prime believes in using our unique skills and talents for others. "As scholars ... we have this responsibility of helping address the community issues and community challenges that we see in our backyard".
Our 2022 Student Volunteer of the Year (Undergraduate), Clare McBride-Kelly (LLB (Hons), BAS - Current student) and her friends founded The Refugee & Migrant Swimming Project, in memory of their friend, Najeeb. Clare has since spent hundreds of hours fundraising for and providing free, culturally-safe and trauma-informed swimming and water safety lessons to refugees and migrants.
Clare advocates for a community that cares about each other and is aware of the plight of migrants. "It's been amazing ... to see how people's confidence in the water has translated into a sense of community and inclusion," says Clare.
Congratulations to all our 2022 ANU Alumni Award recipients! Your ANU community is proud of you and all you are doing to make a better future for all.