Flinders brightest shine at International Student Awards

Despite a challenging year for international students, a large contingent at Flinders University has been recognised for their outstanding achievements across educational research, and contributions giving back to the local community and their peers at the 2021 StudyAdelaide International Student awards.

Continuing past success, Flinders University students have won seven of the eight higher education categories.

2021 International Student of the Year, James Karanja.

James Karanja was named as the International Student of the Year at a ceremony at the Adelaide Convention Centre, for his work on behalf of people with a disability.

James, who studied a Masters of Disability Policy and Practice, was also selected as the Academic Postgraduate Coursework category winner for his course project which focused on promoting social inclusion for young Kenyan people with a disability through establishing microenterprises.

“As a strong advocate for disability rights and inclusion in Kenya, being recognised for the awards motivates me to work collaboratively with other stakeholders to empower young people with disabilities in meaningful employment.”

James has since returned to his native Kenya to put his project into practice.

“While Flinders university gave me the tools for work, being recognised for the award gives me the drive to take a leading role in promoting social inclusion and active participation of people with disability in the labour markets.”

“The award constantly reminds me of the disability slogan ” Nothing for us without us”. None of the disability programs that I initiate in Kenya will fail to include the feelings, aspirations and the voice of people with disabilities.”

Flinders University Vice-President and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Sebastian Raneskold, says the award reflects the important contribution international students make in the South Australian community and in their home country.

“The international students continue to make the university community proud.”

“In a challenging Covid-19 environment, they’ve achieved positive educational outcomes, supported the wider community and each other. It’s a testament to their perseverance in the face of obstacles.”

Fellow Flinders international student and palaeoecologist, Meghan McAllister, was amongst the winners for her Post Graduate Research designed to better understand the history of our environment to better protect it for the future.

Flinders University PHD Candidate Meghan McAllister.

Meghan came to Adelaide last year from her native Northern Ireland after winning a PhD scholarship at Flinders, where she has also been lending her time to tutor local students to help them gain a place at university through the Foundation Studies Program.

She has also been volunteering as a Learning Advisor at Flinders University’s Student Learning Support Service to help students who’re stressed of struggling with their assignments.

The first in her family to undertake tertiary study, Meghan is driven by a passion for education and helping to inspire other students, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds who may think university isn’t for them.

She’s also driven by a desire to encourage more women to study and develop a career in the Earth Sciences. This has seen her translating each of her PhD papers into non-specialised language to make them available to a wider audience.

Inspired by her own experience of studying in South Australia, Meghan has started organising virtual presentations and Q&A sessions about study pathways in South Australia for students at her former secondary school and youth centres across Northern Ireland.

Entries for the awards were received from students of 23 educational institutions with 45 different nationalities represented among the entrants.

Flinders University 2021 Award Winners

James Karanja

Award: International Student of the Year (Winner), Academic Postgraduate – Coursework (Winner)

Nationality: Kenyan

Course: Master of Disability Policy and Practice, Flinders University

Meghan McAllister

Award: Academic Postgraduate – Research (Winner)

Nationality: Northern Ireland

Course: PhD Candidate, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University

Surraya Abdul Baseer

Award: Academic Undergraduate (Winner)

Nationality: Pakistani

Course: Bachelor of Clinical Sciences/Doctor of Medicine, Flinders University

Lashika Weerakoon

Award: Academic Postgraduate – Coursework (Highly Commended)

Nationality: Sri Lankan

Course: Master of Biotechnology, Flinders University

Rubayat Sarwar

Award: Peer Support (winner)

Nationality: Bangladeshi

Course: Master of Business (Finance), Flinders University

Shuqi Liang

Award: Peer Support (Highly Commended)

Nationality: Chinese

Course: Bachelor of Nursing (Pre-registration), Flinders University

Thi Minh Hieu Hoang

Award: Student Event of the Year (Winner)

Nationality: Vietnamese

Course: Master of Social Work (Graduate Entry), Flinders University

Janageeth Logeswaran

Award: Special Commendation – (Highly Commended)

Nationality: Sri Lankan

Course: Bachelor of Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) (Honours), Flinders University

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