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Alumni Award Winners 2023

Alumni Award Winners 2023

At UNSW, we proudly honour our exceptional alumni, who are making a significant impact worldwide. We are thrilled to announce the 2023 Alumni Award winners, recognising their remarkable contributions in art, culture, innovation, entrepreneurship, professional excellence, research, and social impact.

They inspire positive change and empower communities globally, embodying our commitment to creating a brighter future for all.

Discover the stories of our past winners, who are true change-makers across a broad range of sectors.

Suzie Miller

Art & Culture

“The driving reason for me to write, is to not just affect change, but to actually interrogate the way people think, so that we have a greater flexibility in the way we think about things...”

Meet Suzie Miller — winner of the 2023 Alumni Award for Art & Culture — Suzie is drawn to complex human stories often exploring injustice. Her plays have been produced in over 40 productions around the world and have won multiple prestigious awards.

Suzie Miller is a contemporary international playwright, screenwriter, and librettist, drawn to complex human stories often exploring injustice. Her plays have been produced in over 40 productions around the world and have won multiple prestigious awards.

Her drama PRIMA FACIE won the 2020 AWGIE for Drama; the 2020 David Williamson Award for Outstanding Theatre Writing; the 2020 prestigious Major AWGIE; and the Griffin Award 2018. It has now been translated in more than 20 languages. Most recently PRIMA FACIE enjoyed extraordinary acclaim marking Suzie’s West End debut produced by Empire Street Productions and starring Jodie Comer. The production will transfer to Broadway in 2023. Both the Australian and the West End productions have won and been nominated for multiple prestigious awards.

Suzie is currently under commission with various film and entertainment bodies to produce new plays, original television dramas, television and film adaptations and an original romance/comedy.

Suzie holds a Bachelor of Laws, Master of Arts and Master of Laws from UNSW Sydney.

Frances Atkins

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

“I just love what we do. I love what we’ve built, I can see how we can make it even better. I can see how it scales, and when we work together as a team, the ideas that are coming out. It feels good to have built something from scratch...”

Meet Frances Atkins — winner of the 2023 Alumni Award for Innovation & Entrepreneurship — and Co-founder of givvable.

Frances is the co-founder of, a tech-platform using artificial intelligence, big data, and advanced modelling to automate supplier sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) diligence for companies.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Frances was a vice president in J.P. Morgan’s investment banking team and a financial services lawyer at Ashurst. She holds an MBA (Executive) from AGSM, a Master of Law from the University of Sydney, and completed her undergraduate studies in Commerce and Law at UNSW.

Together with her sister, Naomi Vowels, Frances leads a team of exceptional software engineers, data scientists and analysts, sustainability experts and environmental engineers - to bring to life their vision of helping thousands of companies all over the world spend with impact.

givvable is a recipient of AusIndustry's Accelerating Commercialisation Grant, 1 of 4 finalists to receive funding under the Queensland Government's Low Carbon Initiative and has been recognised for its innovation as winner of KPMG's Supply Chain Future Technology Program, CBA/Microsoft's Xccelerate and Singtel Future Makers, among others.

Lucy McCallum

Professional Achievement

“Equal justice is an extremely important value of mine … doing what you can do to work towards a world where people who don’t have the same opportunities, have access to a good life…”

Meet Lucy McCallum — winner of the 2023 Alumni Award for Professional Achievement — and Chief Justice of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court.

On 8 March 2022, Lucy McCallum was sworn in as the sixth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.

Her Honour attended UNSW Sydney where she graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in philosophy. She worked in Sydney as a solicitor in commercial litigation for 18 months at what was then Mallesons Stephen Jaques, before taking a position as a prosecutor in the ACT in 1988. In 1990, Her Honour spent a year as a trial advocate with the Queensland DPP. She became a barrister in Sydney in 1991 and took silk in 2005.

In 2008, her Honour was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in the Common Law Division. She was the Defamation List judge from 2014 to 2018. In 2016, her Honour was appointed Chair of the NSW Judicial Commission Ngara Yura Committee which aims to increase awareness among judicial officers about contemporary Aboriginal and social cultural issues, and their effect on Aboriginal people in the justice system.

In February 2019, her Honour was elevated to the New South Wales Court of Appeal where she sat on a wide range of matters until her Honour’s appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.

Professor Leon Flicker AO

Research and Teaching Achievement

“The older person with multiple problems is incredibly complicated, and as we learn more about the complexity, we then have to learn more about some of the solutions. And I really hope to be part of some of those solutions...”

Meet Professor Leon Flicker AO — winner of the 2023 Alumni Award for Research and Teaching Achievement — and Professor of Geriatric Medicine, University of Western Australia.

Leon’s research activities have focused on the major health issues of older people, including falls, depression, and cognitive impairment. His work has made an enormous contribution to geriatric medicine and dementia prevention and care. 

Professor Leon Flicker AO was appointed in 1998 as the inaugural Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Western Australia, and a consultant geriatrician at Royal Perth Hospital. He established the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing in 2000 and led the development and organisation of undergraduate and postgraduate education in geriatric medicine in Western Australia.

Leon completed a Bachelor of Medicine at UNSW Sydney in 1980. Following graduation, he trained in Newcastle, Sydney, and Melbourne as part of completing his specialist geriatric medicine training. While working as a senior lecturer in geriatric medicine at the University of Melbourne from 1989 to 1997, he completed doctoral studies in the areas of bone metabolism and osteoporosis.

In 1988, he co-founded the first Memory Clinic in Victoria. In 1997, during sabbatical at Oxford University, he helped develop the processes for the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group. During 1998, his work as a general physician at Alice Springs Hospital developed his interest in the health needs of older Aboriginal people igniting a commitment to contribute to improve Aboriginal health care has continued.

Leon’s research activities have focused on the major health issues of older people, including falls, depression, and cognitive impairment. He has also undertaken many studies about frailty and successful ageing. To date, Leon has published 15 book chapters and ~500 peer-reviewed articles.

He has served on numerous government committees and professional organisations, including the Australian Society for Geriatric Medicine, the Australian Association of Gerontology and the Asia Pacific Geriatric Medicine Network.

In 2017 he was honoured with an Officer of the Order of Australia for his contributions to geriatric medicine and dementia prevention and care.

Professor Si Ming Man

Research and Teaching Achievement

“I remember sitting in a prac class in front of a microscope, and through the lens of this microscope is an entirely different world. That single moment sparked a lifelong curiosity and passion for immunology…”

Meet Professor Si Ming Man — winner of the 2023 Alumni Award for Research and Teaching Achievement — and Professor and CSL Centenary Fellow at the Australian National University.

Si Ming’s work in immunology has been crucial to our collective understanding of discovering new ways to fight drug-resistant bacteria and how to harness the body’s natural defence mechanisms to fight diseases.  

He is a graduate of UNSW Sydney, where he completed a Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) in microbiology in 2007 and a Master of Science in Biochemistry in 2009. He then completed his PhD in immunology at the University of Cambridge, UK. He then moved to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, USA, to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship on inflammation research in infectious disease and cancer. In 2017, he returned to Australia to establish his own research group at the ANU.

He is a CSL Centenary Fellow and has received many awards, including the Australian Academy of Science Gottschalk Medal in 2023, the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year at the 2022 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, the Clarivate List of Highly Cited Researchers in 2020 and 2022, and the Commonwealth Health Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Health and Medical Research in 2019.

Michael Brosowski AM

Social Impact and Service

“As long as you can help somebody, you’re not helpless, and knowing that means we can keep going...”

Meet Michael Brosowski AM — winner of the 2023 Alumni Award for Social Impact & Service — Founder & Strategic Director, Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.

Michael Brosowski AM is the Founder and Strategic Director of Blue Dragon Children's Foundation in Vietnam, which is an organisation working towards the end of human trafficking.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education from UNSW Sydney in 1995, Michael taught English and ESL in south-west Sydney before returning to UNSW to study a Master of Education. Upon completion, he moved to Vietnam and in 2004 registered Blue Dragon, initially to assist Hanoi's street children. Working as the organisation's CEO, he grew Blue Dragon to become the country's leading NGO fighting human trafficking and child exploitation.

Michael is a CNN Hero and Member of the Order of Australia. He is leading the strategy of Blue Dragon's ambitious 10-year plan to eliminate human trafficking in Vietnam.

Rix Smith

Young Alumni Award

“The motivation for me to keep going to try and find a solution is because if we don’t find a solution, the problem is just going to keep getting continually worse. We can’t step away from this, it’s not going away. Someone has to keep pushing through to try and fix that problem...”

Meet Rix Smith — winner of the 2023 Young Alumni Award — CEO and Co-Founder, Ministry of Waste.

Rix’s passion for sustainability and business with impact has led him down the entrepreneurship path to help solve the plastic waste crisis in Southeast Asia. Ministry of Waste’s work built critical infrastructure to divert waste away from landfills and the ocean, while simultaneously improving gender equality outcomes in local Indonesian communities.

Rix’s unconventional journey to entrepreneurship started with serving 11 years in the Australian military, where he graduated as Dux both in the Navy Clearance Divers course, and in the Army Special Forces course. His years working across remote parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia saw him witness the destruction of our ecosystems firsthand, and he was driven to do something that would disrupt the status quo and create scalable positive change to save our oceans and environment.

Rix’s passion for sustainability and business with impact has led him down the entrepreneurship path to help solve the plastic waste crisis in Southeast Asia. In 2020, he founded a start-up plastics recycling company in Singapore, and in 2021 co-founded a startup waste management company in Indonesia called Ministry of Waste.

Ministry of Waste’s goal is to build critical infrastructure to divert waste away from landfills and the ocean. This is done by building large-scale Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), specifically designed for the Indonesian waste stream and context, and that can be replicated across the country with a 50-facility road map. The operations include having positive social impact and improving gender equality outcomes in local communities, as well as contributing directly to the global transition to a circular economy.

Rix holds a Master of Project Management from UNSW Canberra.

Senator Jim Molan AO DSC

Chancellor's Award for Exceptional Alumni Achievement

“As a soldier I’ve accompanied five countries down their road to democracy. These experiences have given me an innate respect for democracy and a particular realisation of what it may mean to be an Australian Senator.”

Our 2023 Chancellor's Award for Exceptional Alumni Achievement has been awarded posthumously to the late Senator Jim Molan AO DSC. 

Andrew James (Jim) Molan was a soldier, a pilot, an author, a linguist, a diplomat, a volunteer firefighter, and a senator. Motivated on matriculation to combine military and academic pursuits, he joined the fortunate group of 1968 entrants to the Royal Military College Duntroon who would be the first to benefit from the agreement between the Australian Army and UNSW to offer degrees to those who met the academic requirements

After graduation from Duntroon with a UNSW Bachelor of Arts, Jim completed a second degree, this time studying economics lecture notes by kerosene lantern, after days patrolling the mountains and jungles of Papua New Guinea. Jim described this experience as “nation building at its most basic.” PNG was to become the first of five countries over 40 years he accompanied along the path to democracy, and Melanesian Pidgin became one of two further languages he was to speak fluently.

Jim held varied regimental, staff, and training postings throughout his career, and spent five years of the 1990s in Indonesia: ‘92-95 during a period of intense rebuilding of the volatile Canberra-Jakarta relationship, and ‘97-99, witnessing, in his words, ‘two years of incredible events in the midst of an economy and society in freefall.’ This posting concluded with Jim, at times at gunpoint, negotiating the evacuation of civilians including Archbishop Belo from the violence following the East Timor referendum, and the departure of Indonesian forces after 28 years of occupation.

Post-Army, his professional activities retained a security and strategic focus. He was in demand as a board director in the defence and aviation sectors, participated in international leadership groups, and was a respected consultant to both private enterprise and government clients. His passion however, as he identified our increasing strategic vulnerabilities, remained Australia’s national security.

Jim entered the senate in December 2017, and through committee and other advocacy work campaigned tirelessly for a national security strategy. Commentators debate whether he genuinely aspired to a political career, or whether he saw it as the only avenue to improve awareness amongst Australians of what he perceived to be significant threats to Australia’s security, and failure to prepare to respond.

Jim had a great way of connecting with and empowering people and was eulogised by a classmate and fellow general as one of those rare ‘great blokes’ – industrious, knowledgeable, talented and with a great sense of fun.

Jim died on 16 January 2023. His legacy is his family, and his immeasurable contribution to a safer and more secure Australia.