Star alumni shine brightly on world stage

Nine outstanding Flinders University graduates across a wide spectrum of professions form an impressive group of enterprising and innovative thought-leaders to be acknowledged in the University’s annual Alumni Awards.

The 2017 Convocation Medal and Distinguished Alumni Awards acknowledge the significant contribution made by Flinders alumni to the University, the community or within their chosen field, locally and internationally.

Over the past five decades, more than 97,000 Flinders alumni have made their mark and made a difference in a wide range of fields of endeavour in 120 different countries around the world.

2017 Convocation Medal Recipients

The Convocation Medal was established in 1991 to mark the 25th anniversary of Flinders University. The medal recognises substantial and outstanding contributions by graduates to local, national or international communities.

Dr Lam Minh Yen MSc(HS) (Res) ‘02
Doctor, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam

Awarded for her considerable contribution, leadership and advancement of professional practice in the research and treatment of tropical diseases.

Dr Lam Minh Yen is one of the top tropical disease specialists in the world. Through her pioneering work Dr Yen has saved lives, trained a new generation of doctors and led the prevention of dangerous epidemics such as Ebola, MERS-CoV and Zika at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Dr Yen pioneered new approaches that led to a reduction in the mortality rate for tetanus at the hospital from 20-30% in 1998 to 2% in 2012. It is currently 0.83%. Dr Yen has been named an Australian Alumni Ambassador, one of only 12 selected by the Australian Government from across the global network of more than 2.5 million alumni.

Professor Craig T Simmons FTSE PhD(SE) ’97
Awarded for his substantial and outstanding contributions to leadership and the advancement of knowledge, professional practice and community service in groundwater science, education, management and policy.

Professor Craig Simmons, the Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training based at Flinders University, has positioned Australia as a world leader at the forefront of groundwater science. His outstanding record of personal contributions to Australian science, education and policy reform are helping to build a prosperous and sustainable Australia.

Professor Simmons has made breakthrough discoveries about the hidden world of groundwater, using theory, experiment, field work and cutting-edge computational simulations. His work is answering critical questions about our environment, food and water security, coal seam gas and fracking, mining and nuclear and radioactive waste disposal.

Professor Craig Simmons, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE), and Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training located at Flinders University’s Bedford Park campus in Adelaide.

2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

The Distinguished Alumni Awards were introduced in 2006 to coincide with the University’s 40th anniversary. The awards recognise graduates who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to the University, their community or within their chosen field.

Dr Kate Barnett BA ’70, DipEd ’71, MEd ’77
Awarded for her significant contribution to the community, the state and the nation as a social policy researcher in the areas of ageing and multiculturalism.

Dr Kate Barnett has more than 30 years’ experience as a social policy researcher and analyst. Her long-term contribution to the field of gerontology has been of significant value to the community. As Australia’s ageing population presents both challenges and opportunities, Kate’s ongoing research in this field will ensure that best practice is taken into account by governments and community organisations, on both a state and national level.

Jessica Berry GradDipMarArchaeol ’08, MMarArchaeol ’08
Awarded for her significant contribution nationally and internationally to maritime archaeology.

Jessica Berry is Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST), a charitable company launched in February 2011. MAST has partnered and led a number of major British and international maritime archaeological projects. Aside from rescuing the remains of important archaeological sites, many of MAST’s projects have involved serving and retired Service men and women, with a focus on their rehabilitation. This unique focus is a key achievement in the field of maritime archaeology in the UK.

Jessica Berry, who studied maritime archaeology at Flinders University, has founded a charitable group called MAST, the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust.

Kirsty Boden (1989-2017) BNg(PreReg) ’10 Posthumous award
Awarded for the indelible mark she left on those who knew her, in all that she achieved and the way in which she conducted herself throughout her lifetime.

Raised in Loxton, Kirsty Boden studied nursing at Flinders University’s Riverland campus, winning a nursing scholarship to study abroad in 2008 and moving to Sydney to undertake a graduate nursing program. She continued to specialise in post-anaesthetic care nursing after relocating to London in 2013. Kirsty’s dedication to nursing shone through during the terrorist attack on London Bridge last year when she tragically lost her life. The State Government and Flinders University have launched a Kirsty Boden Memorial Nursing Scholarship. The first Flinders scholarship recipients will be announced in March.

Dr Michael Brennan BSc(Hons) ’82 PhD(PhysSc) ’86
Awarded for his significant contribution to the community, the state, the nation and internationally in the areas of simulation and defence.

Dr Mike Brennan, who joined the Australian Defence Force in 1995, and is one of the seminal contributors to the methodologies and outcomes of the Australian Army’s military experimentation capability. He played an influential role in defining the capability needs for the ADF’s amphibious capability, Army aviation and close combat and was selected as Director General Simulation in Defence headquarters. From 2013-15 Dr Brennan held the position of Director General Capability and Material Sciences where he led the coordination of science advice across Australia’s Defence Department and Government in support of major capability development, acquisition and sustainment and the Technical Risk assurance process.

James Currie BA(Hons) ’76
Awarded for his significant contribution over many years to the Australian and international film industries, specifically in the area of sound production.

James Currie has worked on more than 140 feature films in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. His sound production work on films such as The Tracker, 10 Canoes, Charlie’s Country and Another Country has contributed significantly to a greater understanding and appreciation of remote Indigenous communities in Australia. In pursuit of the perfect cinema sound track he has been instrumental in strengthening the relationship between sound and images.

Peter Goers OAM BA(Hons) ’78
Awarded for his significant contribution to the community, the state and the nation in theatre and entertainment, cultural knowledge, broadcasting, information sharing, community engagement, and the promotion of diversity.

Peter Goers is an actor, director, reviewer, former academic and host of the ABC’s Local Radio program, The Evening Show, which broadcasts throughout South Australia and into New South Wales. As a columnist for Adelaide’s Sunday Mail and a radio announcer he has won himself a dedicated audience. Peter has lent his prominent public profile to volunteer as patron of six arts and community organisations, ambassador for numerous charities and for the Port Adelaide Football Club.

ABC Radio Adelaide presenter Peter Goers who graduated from Flinders University in arts.

Louisa Minney BA ’97
Awarded for her significant contribution to the community, the nation and internationally in the area of disaster relief (crisis response).

Louisa Minney has more than 20 years of experience in Australia and overseas in strategic change management and evaluation, with specific expertise in the international and security sectors. As Director of her own business, AidLogic, Louisa provides advisory and consultative services aimed specifically at increasing the benefit and impact of development assistance. Louisa is currently working with the Asian Development Bank, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand to develop initiatives that increase economic participation and employment opportunities, with an emphasis on the economic empowerment of women. She is the National Secretary of the United Nations Association of Australia.

The 2017 Convocation Medal and Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented at a special ceremony at the Alere Function Centre, Flinders University on Friday 4 May. A separate ceremony for the presentation of Kirsty Boden’s Distinguished Alumni award will be held in March to coincide with the announcement of the inaugural Kirsty Boden Memorial Scholarship recipients.

Nominations for the 2018 Flinders University Convocation Medal and Distinguished Alumni Awards open on 1 March 2018. Please email us with your contact details if you would like to be notified of award updates:

For full profiles of the award recipients and previous recipients please visit:



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