About the awards
The Alumni Achievement Awards allows us to celebrate and recognise the many and diverse achievements of our growing and vibrant alumni community – locally, nationally and across the world.
Former students of the University are engaged in many activities that we should recognise some are making a difference in their communities, while others may be creating successful businesses, or have achieved in the arts or by helping charities. Others may be contributing directly to the life and reputation of the University itself. The Alumni Engagement team feel it is important to celebrate these achievements.
The values of the University of East London can last a lifetime – and the evidence was on show at the inaugural Alumni Achievements Awards which celebrated the accomplishments of eight category winners and nominees. The awards recognise the alumni who have distinguished themselves for their excellent and sustained contributions and achievements in their chosen field over their professional lifetime.
This award recognises the alumni who has distinguished themselves for their excellent and sustained contributions and achievements in their chosen field over their professional lifetime.
Winner: Imran Khan QC, Law, 1987
“Our winners’ firm, founded in 2000 is described by the Chambers and Partners Directory as a ‘highly regarded serious crime practice that acts for legal aid and privately funded clients on highly complex cases.’ In 2018, he was appointed a Queens Counsel. Not only has our winner tonight had a distinguished law career but he has also been the patron of UEL’s Legal Advice Centre, since 2013 which is a learning facility for students in our Royal Docks School of Business and Law.”
This award recognises the alumni, aged 30 or under, who have distinguished themselves professionally since graduating from the University of East London and are likely to inspire the next generation of alumni.
Winner: Akesha Reid, BA English Literature with Creative and Professional Writing, 2013
“Our winner has been working in hair and beauty journalism since graduating from UEL and most recently she was the Digital Editor for Hairdressers Journal International, the leading trade title for Hairdressers in the UK and now works freelance across trade and consumer media with by-lines on sites like Refinery29 and Cosmopolitan, as well as consulting with salons and brands on their social media strategies. Straight after completing her degree she took on the role of Editorial assistant at a national magazine, and just two years after working in this role she was given the opportunity to take on the role of Editor, meaning she was an Editor of a National Magazine at just 22.
Winner: Abbie Nicholls, BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre & Performance, 2017
“Our winner opened her first performing arts school in Chelmsford, Essex with Jigsaw Performing Arts in 2018, and will be opening a second franchise soon. She continues to work as a drama practitioner alongside running her own business and also works with a company who offer performing arts education for young people with additional needs. She also takes part in community projects, which deliver performing arts workshops to adults with learning disabilities, choreographing for their annual shows.”
This award recognises the alumni or group of alumni who have made a transformative contribution to the local, national or international community through an enterprising business venture.
Winner: Adriane Bet, Sport, 2013
“After graduating our winner founded 'Muddy Boots Kids Clubs', which runs high quality OFSTED registered holiday camps for children aged two to eight years old. Muddy Boots was founded after our winner realised that children were being given fewer and fewer opportunities to be outdoors, with the knowledge she learnt during her time at the university paired with her extensive history of working as sports coach for different schools she made a change to the world of Kids Camps.
This award recognises the alumni or group of alumni who have engaged with or volunteered for the University and made a significant contribution to the University through activities including.
Winner: Abdal Ahmed, BSc Sports Science, 2004
“This winner has managed sports competitions in the borough and has worked to deliver over 70 competitions for schools in Tower Hamlets, has overseen the ground-breaking interfaith games in the south of England for the Association of Muslim Schools, provided free community coaching to deprived youngsters who struggle to access sports and recreational opportunities. He is a Race Equality Board member for the London FA and is also on the Grassroots Forum for Kick It Out as well as being on the London Football Association disciplinary panel.”
This award is for the alumni or group of alumni who champion diversity and inclusion by leading on or overcoming barriers within their working lives.
Winner: Samantha Uwadiae, MSc in Positive Pyschology and Coaching Psychology, 2018
“Alongside her full-time job and Masters, she led on the implementation of St Mungo's Positive Action Strategy. Due to her work, St Mungo's saw a nine per cent increase of BAME staff at senior levels. In addition, two Trustees from BAME backgrounds were recruited and a year later, a CEO. She facilitated training to over 300 volunteers and presented ground-breaking workshops to the workforce such as The Myth of the Angry Black Woman and Breaking the LGBT+ Stigma in BAME Communities."
This award is for the alumni or group of alumni who have embedded or have been an advocate for the importance of Mental Wealth in their working lives.
Winner: Rhyana Ebanks-Babb, Clinical and Community Psychology, 2017
“The winner of this award is being recognised for the development of The Power of 7, a self-care guide. The guide was launched for Mental Health Awareness Week which covered kindness as the theme and our winner this evening describes the guide as her way to help others who have been struggling with their mental and emotional wellbeing by offering simple and effective resources.”
This award highlights an alumni or group of alumni who are pioneering in their approach for activities that embrace the next industrial revolution: Industry 4.0.
Winner: Constantin Singureanu, MSc Data Science, 2019
“Since graduating our winner has gone on to found Pufferr, a hub for digital growth and innovation leveraging several trends defining the digital marketing landscape: automation, outsourcing, partnerships and cloud computing. They have won a variety of awards, not only for themselves but also for their clients: Including two 2019 UK Business Awards, Four Drum Agency Awards.”
This award recognises the alumni or group of alumni who have made a valuable contribution to the local community.
Winner: Victory Oyakhilome, MSc Public Health, 2019
“Our winner tonight is the founder and CEO of the Girls in Charge Foundation. Our winner is creating a world where girls can have the chance to speak out. The foundation has made a tremendous impact since it was set up; working with over 10,000 girls through various programmes in five African countries, and also in the United Kingdom.”
Winner: Darnell Shakespeare, BA (Hones) Drama, Applied Theatre & Performance, 2015
“Our winner is a hugely inspiring community performing arts practitioner, director and producer in east London. In 2019, he took on the role of co-head for the young people's team at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and most recently in 2020 he was invited to teach as a guest practitioner for the applied theatre degree at the University of East London.”
Martine Wright, BSc Psychosocial studies and communication studies, 1996
“Whilst playing sport, our winner wears her lucky number 7 with pride, transforming what happened into a positive and a clear and meaningful sign of her rehabilitation, and in memory of those who lost their lives.”
“She is currently busy sharing her journey from despair to determination to succeed through her motivational talks and has spoken to audiences of more than 10,000 at Wembley Arena and The O2 and is living testament to how catastrophic life changes can have positive outcomes.”
Winner: Reece Parkinson, BA Media Communications, 2015
“Our winner honed his presenting skills at youth station Reprezent and through covering various daytime 1Xtra shows, before moving onto to be the host of the 1Xtra Talks show. All by the age of 23. Now at just 25 he has also recently taken on the role of co-host on the BBC’s new football show MOTDx and presented his first show on BBC Radio 1.”
Winner: Charlie Blair, BA Dance: Urban Practice, 2017
“Our winner this evening graduated from the Dance: Urban Practice course in 2017 and earlier this year won the University’s prestigious E-Factor entrepreneur competition, where she received £6,000 to help get her business the Blair Academy up and running. The Blair Academy is for adults and children in the UK facing social isolation and loneliness.”
Winner: Alumni Advisory Board
(Chair Joan Saunders-Reece, Vice-Chair Jacqueline Malcolm and subcommittee leads, Jaasir Ali, Jacqui Bashford and Vadi Loango)
“From regular board meetings to welcoming new students as part of our convocation ceremonies; from taking part in mentoring and networking events and attending our graduation ceremonies, this diverse, knowledgeable and committed group always go above and beyond.”
Winner: Laura Iosifescu, BA Fine Art, 2012
“Our winner has recently created the Society of Gold Minds for artists and entrepreneurs from all races and backgrounds which aims to break down barriers between artist and audience to foster a collaborative community in Barking and beyond. Our winner understands the importance and value of a diversity and aims to use this to make the world a better place through art.”
Winner: Darren Wiafe-Morson, BSc Sports Therapy, 2018
“Having recently secured his second client Sports Interactive, our winner’s sports therapy company is going from strength to strength, and his work is promoting and embedding the importance of Mental Wealth within the workplace.”
Winner: Tracy Goodluck-Constance, BSc Computer Science, 2017, MSc Computer Science, 2018
“Our winner took on the post of Research Assistant working on an Innovate UK funded project. The aim of the project is to develop breakthrough software that will combine AI and speech recognition technology to detect and interpret emotion and linguistics to assess the credibility of insurance claims.”
Winner: Abdal Ahmed (pictured), BSC Sports Development, 2004
“Our winner this evening is dedicated to delivering curriculum support in east London schools; has served as a variety of roles including an educator, sports teacher, coach and mentor; and over the last six years he has managed over 70 sporting competitions for primary and secondary school children in Tower Hamlets.”
Information on upcoming Alumni Achievement Awards
Applications for the 2021 Awards will open in July 2021.
Please check back for further information closer to this date.