UEL celebrates alumni achievements at inaugural awards ceremony
Inaugural Alumni Achievement Awards recognises University's outstanding graduates
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.
Charlie Werren, alumni engagement manager, said, “We celebrated our rising stars through to lifetime achievers and everything in between. We received over 500 nominations across the eight categories, which is fantastic and truly highlights the breadth of talent we have among our alumni.”
The ceremony was held at University Square Stratford and was bookended by networking with alumni swapping stories of their time at University and their journeys since.
Vanessa Varvas, chief marketing officer, opened the awards event by bringing alumni up to date with the University’s Vision 2028 strategy and new marketing campaigns, including #BeTheNext which calls upon the experiences of previous graduates to inspire the following generation.
The winners of the eight awards are listed, together with excerpts from the citations. They received their awards from Ms Varvas.
Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Martine Wright, a 7/7 survivor, Paralympian and charity ambassador (unable to attend)
“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.”
The East London Glocal Engagement Award
Winner: Abdal Ahmed (pictured)
“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.”
Mental Wealth Advocacy Award
Winner: Darren Wiafe-Morson
“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.”
The Industry 4.0 Award
Winner: Tracy Goodluck-Constance
“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: Laura Iosifescu
“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.”
Alumni Engagement Award
Winner: Alumni Advisory Board (pictured)
(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.”
Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Winner: Charlie Blair
“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.”
The Rising Star of the Year Award
Winner: Reece Parkinson
“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.”