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Awards night honours outstanding Curtin alumni and John Curtin Medallist

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A Nyoongar artist whose deeply personal artwork draws on her experiences as a survivor of the stolen generation has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at Curtin University’s 2023 Alumni Awards celebration.

Wadandi/Pibulmun, Menang Elder and Custodian Sandra Hill encourages truth telling and education through her paintings. Ms Hill describes her work as a historical visual essay drawn from her own experiences and the injustice of living under the Native Welfare regime in Aboriginal Western Australia.

She joined eight other leading Curtin alumni who were recognised for their outstanding accomplishments and an exceptional standard of excellence in their field.

The Community Service Award was given to respected business leader Dr Shayne Silcox PSM in recognition of his exemplary commitment to improving the lives of the communities he serves. In addition to volunteering locally and overseas Dr Silcox has been a Disability Ambassador for more than a decade.

Independent economist and non-profit executive Conrad Liveris was presented the Young Achievement Award for his work as an employment and workplace expert commentator and commitment to improving access to justice.

The Innovation Award went to Professor Apriana Toding a leading professor in electrical engineering who has been instrumental in using innovative technology to improve access to learning in remote areas of Indonesia.

The 2023 Professional Achievement Award recipients by Faculty were:

Business and Law – Former Ngala Chief Executive Officer Fiona Beermier for her vocal advocacy for marginalised populations and commitment to creating the best outcomes for children through early intervention and family support.

Health Sciences – Western Kids Health Managing Director Nicole Pates who is a highly experienced paediatric physiotherapist who advocates for fun, evidence-based care and works tirelessly to support children and families living with complex and chronic conditions.

Humanities – Professor Matthew Tonts who works across government, industry and community to help protect the environment and provides advice on the environmental impacts of some of the State’s largest developments in his role as Chair of the Environmental Protection Authority.

Science and Engineering – Genesis Minerals Limited Managing Director Raleigh Finlayson who is a mining engineer with technical and operational expertise in open pit and underground mining who has overseen the acquisition, feasibility studies and operations of gold mines.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne congratulated all award winners on their incredible achievements and contributions as innovators and change makers at a local, national and international level.

“It is my absolute pleasure to honour these graduates who exemplify Curtin values of integrity, respect, courage, excellence and impact, for their incredible achievements,” Professor Hayne said.

“The positive impact of their work spans many fields and industries, where they are truly making a difference.”   

Curtin’s highest non-academic award – the John Curtin Medal – was presented to Helping Little Hands co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Joanne Beedie, a mother of five who is using her lived-experience of premature birth to help other parents.

Professor Harlene Hayne congratulated Ms Beedie on her well-deserved recognition

“Curtin is delighted to recognise Joanne for her dedication, passion and time she has invested in establishing and growing the Helping Little Hands charity which has supported thousands of Western Australian families with premature and sick babies,” Professor Hayne said.

“Joanne’s values, vision and commitment to community make her an incredibly worthy winner of the 2023 John Curtin Medal.”

The John Curtin Medal is named after the Right Honourable John Curtin, the Prime Minister of Australia from 1941 to 1945, who is recognised as one of Australia’s greatest statesmen.

It is awarded annually by the University to recognise individuals or organisations displaying the attributes associated with him – vision, leadership and a commitment to community service.

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