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Alumni Awards honour incredible achievements of Sydney graduates

3 April 2019
How our graduates are creating change from Tamworth to Afghanistan
The winners of the Alumni Awards for 2019 have been announced, with graduates from a wide range of disciplines celebrated for making invaluable contributions to their field, and the University community.

The annual Alumni Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of our alumni community. From those just beginning their careers, to those well-established in their chosen fields, the Alumni Award winners for 2019 exemplify leadership, innovation and compassion.

Our award winners include researchers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and teachers. Rebuilding war-torn landscapes, providing sustainable water to developing nations, and preserving some of our most iconic ocean pools – the recipients continue to make an impact on the world around them.

Rosemary Morrow

Rosemary Morrow (BScAgr '69)

Alumni Award for International Achievement

Rowe Morrow is a pioneer of permaculture and has spent over forty years providing aid and education to people in war-torn counties like Vietnam, Cambodia, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Rowe travels the world providing people with the practical skills to transform their communities via permaculture, which involves building sustainable agricultural practices. She is the author of two books: The Earths User's Guide to Permaculture, (which has been translated into multiple languages) and The Earth Users Guide to Teaching Permaculture. Her latest work, with UN involvement, aims to provide refugee camps the world over with sustainable energy, clean water and other systems to meet the needs of their inhabitants.

Rhett Butler

Associate Professor Rhett David Butler AM (BE(Mech) '79 ME '83)

Alumni Award for Service to Humanity

Associate Professor Rhett Butler developed a unique technological solution to address the urgent global issue of access to safe drinking water. The hand-held gravity membrane filter, which he calls the “Sky Hydrant”, has no pump, consumes no energy or chemicals, and can treat water anywhere to make it safe and potable, producing up to 10,000 litres a day. This technology has allowed Rhett to found SkyJuice, a charity that provides low cost, sustainable safe water solutions for developing countries, as well as emergency and disaster relief. Rhett and SkyJuice volunteers undertake almost all their activities without any active funding or donations, and to date, the foundation has supplied over 6,500 units to over 74 countries.

Nicole Larkin

Nicole Larkin (BDesArch ’11 MArch '14)

Alumni Award for Cultural Contribution

Coastal pools are a unique part of the cultural heritage of New South Wales, and architect Nicole Larkin has used her design expertise to make sure they will remain that way. Nicole developed a method to fuse drone photography with mapping technology to make detailed, digital surveys of these complex topographies in order to maintain and preserve coastal pools. Nicole’s project, The Wild Edge, collects vital information, including aerial photographs and interactive 3D models of the pools. The Wild Edge website makes this information accessible to anyone who wants to preserve ocean pools, and will be invaluable in protecting these important cultural landmarks.

Edwina Sharrock

Edwina Sharrock (BN '03)

Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Edwina Sharrock is the founder of Birth Beat, an online service specialising in childbirth education, first aid and antenatal classes, delivered both online and face-to-face. The digital platform provides women who don’t have adequate access to prenatal and antenatal care, particularly in rural areas, with the healthcare and advice they need in order to prepare for pregnancy and childbirth. Edwina is a registered nurse, a mother-of-two and has been a registered midwife for 13 years. After building the Birth Beat website herself, she now provides services to thousands of women and has secured investment from HCF.

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz (BA(Hons) '89)

Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Mirvac Property Group in 2012. Prior to this, she held senior positions around the globe with LaSalle Investment Management, LendLease Corporation, MGPA and Macquarie Bank. As one of just eleven female CEOs in the top 200 ASX listed companies, Susan has led Mirvac to be recognised as the most sustainable real estate company by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2017, and to a position as one of the top 50 companies on the ASX. She sits on multiple advisory boards and councils, and champions diversity and inclusion both within Mirvac and in the broader business community.

Elizabeth New

Dr Elizabeth New (BSc(Adv)(Hons) '06 MSc '07)

Outstanding Achievements of Young Alumni Award

Dr Elizabeth New is one of Australia's most renowned inorganic chemists, having been nationally and internationally recognised for her research into chemical biology, which is helping to demystify Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer. She won the Premier's Prize for Early Career Researchers, and a prestigious Eureka Prize, Australia’s highest-profile science award. She is also heavily involved in science outreach, giving public lectures and schools talks, and has had her teaching excellence recognised as a recipient of the RACI Chemistry Educator of the Year.

Graduate Medals

Our Graduate Medals recognise the work of our most recent graduates who, despite just starting their careers, have already begun to make a difference.

Graduate medallists collage

Top row: Hannah Maree Rayner, Nathan Schrieber, Tom Robertson. Bottom row: Moritz Merklein, Emelia Jayne Milliner, Sally Kim.

Emelia Jayne Milliner (BCom BE(Hons) '19)
The Convocation Medal for undergraduate leadership

As co-president of the University’s Engineers Without Borders chapter, Emelia helped expand the organisation by changing perceptions of engineering and encouraging women to study what has historically been a male-dominated degree. Emelia also achieved outstanding academic results throughout her degree, and was named NSW Humanitarian Engineer of the Year in 2017.

Hannah Maree Rayner (MD '18)
The Edmund Barton Medal for postgraduate leadership

After building a career as a pharmacist, Hannah completed a Doctor of Medicine in 2018, and now plans to pursue a career in paediatrics in a rural area to address the growing doctor shortage. During her time at Uni, she held leaderships roles in the Australian Medical Students’ Association, the Sydney University Paediatric Society, and both the Med Revue and the Sydney Uni Revue.

Nathan Schrieber (M.I.L '18)
The Sister Alison Bush Medal for contribution to Indigenous community

After investigating the history of his community’s language, Gunggay, Nathan became committed to reintroducing the language back into the daily lives of his community. He studied a Master of Indigenous Languages in order to fully understand the structure of Gunggay, and now teaches the language to primary and secondary students in his hometown of Yarrabah.

Sally Kim (BPharm '10 MPh(Research) '15 PhD '18)
The John C Harsanyi Medal for innovation

Sally was responsible for developing an award-winning aerosol technology to deliver stem cells directly to lungs. She has completed a Bachelor of Pharmacy, a Master of Philosophy (Pharmacy) and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Pharmacy), and her ground-breaking achievements have been recognised by numerous awards, including the European Respiratory Society Fellowship.

Moritz Merklein (PhD '18)
The Rita and John Cornforth Medal for research excellence

Moritz has made significant contributions to the field of optical science. He was awarded the Jak Kelly Prize for excellence in postgraduate research by the Royal Society of NSW in 2017, and had his work published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications. His work has also been featured by news outlets worldwide, including the BBC.

Tom Robertson (BMedSc '16 MPHlth '19)
The Nigel C Barker Medal for sporting achievement

Tom graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science in 2015, and completed a Master of Public Health last year. Whilst achieving outstanding grades in medical science medicine, Tom has been heavily involved in Australian Rugby, representing the NSW Waratahs on 43 occasions, the Australian Wallabies on 23 occasions, and achieving the Chris Whitaker Award for Aspiring Waratahs in his debut year.


The Alumni Awards, an initiative of the Alumni Council, highlight the work being done by University of Sydney graduates. Nominations for the next Alumni Awards open later this year. Find out more about each award, and when to nominate for the 2020 awards.

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