Our alumni are empowered with the knowledge, professional experience and ethical practice needed to excel. They are now a community of 100,000 people making a difference in their communities across the world.

We’re proud to celebrate the achievements of our alumni. So in 2015 we launched our inaugural Alumni Awards, highlighting the contribution our alumni make to the community.


Alumni awards 2018

The recipients of the 2018 Alumni Awards are:

Bachelor of Nursing graduate Christine Shanahan has been named ACU's 2018 Alumni of the Year.

The award was one of five presented to outstanding graduates at a ceremony in Sydney on Thursday 29 November, 2018.

Christine Shanahan has worked the wards of Sydney’s hospitals, but she has also treated sexual violence victims in Sudan, diagnosed diseases from a tin shed in Timor Leste, opened a pharmacy in post-Soviet Turkmenistan, and nursed her way around a series of Australian outback hospitals.

After settling back home in Sydney, she unexpectedly changed direction and began working in palliative care. Even with all of her hard-won experience, Christine soon discovered she had found her calling. 

Ruby Warber

Master of Psychology (Clinical), 2016

Ruby Warber

While she never intentionally set out to pursue a career in academia, Ruby Warber has completed two masters degrees, a PhD is on the horizon, and she has two prestigious, highly competitive academic scholarships to her name. Ruby grew up in rural Western Australia as a descendent of the Noongar people, and moved to Melbourne for university and later to take up a social worker position with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS). Ruby’s aim was to qualify as a clinician to work with her Aboriginal community and close the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. She is currently working as a psychologist with the Koori Kids program at VAHS. Ruby has also spent considerable time giving back to her community through volunteering at ACU’s Jim-baa-yer Indigenous Higher Education Unit, delivering psychoeducational workshops to a women’s prison, and presenting sex education programs at a local high school.

About this award

Recognises an alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and made a difference in strengthening cultural connections respecting traditional rights, values and cultural heritage. This category is open to all ACU graduates and projects that are making a difference.

Nominees for this award must demonstrate evidence of attributes that are aligned with the ACU University Mission and include being ethical in their behavior, with a developed critical habit of mind, an appreciation of the sacred in life and a commitment to serving the common good.

Nominees must comply with all of the following eligibility and selection criteria:

  • Australian and international graduates of ACU and predecessor institutions are eligible for this award.
  • Demonstrated significant contribution to the enrichment and benefit of the community.

Christine Shanahan

Bachelor of Nursing, 1998

Christine Shanahan

Nurse Christine Shanahan has worked the wards of Sydney’s hospitals, but she has also treated sexual violence victims in Sudan, diagnosed diseases from a tin shed in Timor Leste, opened a pharmacy in post-Soviet Turkmenistan, and nursed her way around a series of Australian outback hospitals. After settling back home in Sydney, she unexpectedly changed direction and began working in palliative care. Even with all of her hard-won experience, Christine soon discovered she had found her calling. Crediting this work with helping her gain a unique understanding of life and death, Christine’s own life was enriched and she continues to live with no regrets for all of the highs and lows throughout her incredible career.

About this award

Recognises an outstanding Alumni who has made a significant contribution to the wellbeing of others through community and humanitarian service.

Nominees for this award must demonstrate evidence of attributes that are aligned with the ACU University Mission and include being ethical in their behaviour, with a developed critical habit of mind, an appreciation of the sacred in life and a commitment to serving the common good.

Nominees must comply with all of the following eligibility and selection criteria:

  • Australian and international graduates of ACU and predecessor institutions are eligible for this award.
  • Demonstrated significant contribution to the enrichment and benefit of the community.
  • Demonstrated acts that reflect a selflessness in response to challenges that face the community
  • The Community Engagement Award recognises those who have been instrumental in making a difference to the wellbeing of others through community and humanitarian service either in a domestic or international setting.

Peter Suka Ririma

Bachelor of Counselling, 2015

Peter Suka Ririma

Born and raised in a remote village in Papua New Guinea, Bachelor of Counselling graduate Peter Suka Ririma is a dedicated teacher and school counsellor who is committed to pushing for change in his home country. Winning an Australia Award scholarship, a prestigious prize administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs, was a turning point in Peter’s life and enabled him to make his way to ACU. Peter works at Don Bosco Technical School (DBTS) in Port Moresby, helping Papua New Guinea’s most vulnerable youth, and his counselling degree has proven invaluable to his work. Turning his desire to make a difference into action, one of Peter’s biggest achievements to date is establishing Yate Rawame Community Day, which is an annual series of local events that help educate his community about the issues that matter most to them.

About this award

Recognises and honours the outstanding  achievements of an international member of the ACU alumni community who has  realised distinction in their chosen professional field or within the  international or Australian community.

Nominees for this award must demonstrate  evidence of attributes that are aligned with the ACU University Mission and  include being ethical in their behavior, with a developed  critical habit of mind, an appreciation of the sacred in life and a commitment  to serving the common good.

Nominees must comply with all of the  following eligibility and selection criteria:

  • Australian and international graduates of ACU and predecessor  institutions are eligible for this award.
  • Demonstrated significant contribution to the international or Australian  community and a focus on innovation and leadership.

Caity Little

Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine, 2012

Caity Little

Four years ago, paramedic and nurse Caity Little left her job at Ambulance Victoria to pursue her dream of working with Aboriginal communities in Alice Springs. Life in the Territory did not disappoint, and Caity believes working for St John Ambulance NT in the outback is an experience like nowhere else. For Caity, retrieving patients from remote and often isolated locations to deliver patient care is all in a day's work. She is currently completing her Intensive Care Paramedic training and also works in her local hospital’s emergency department as a registered nurse. As a firm believer in the power of giving back, she’s given her time as a volunteer to the Alice Springs Animal Shelter, the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, and The Wild Medic Project in Nepal.

About this award

Recognises a young Alumni (35 years or younger at the time of nomination) whose early accomplishments since graduation have led to a high level of achievement in their professional field or community engagement.

Nominees for this award must demonstrate evidence of attributes that are aligned with the ACU University Mission and include being ethical in their behaviour, with a developed critical habit of mind, an appreciation of the sacred in life and a commitment to serving the common good.

Nominees must comply with all of the following eligibility and selection criteria:

  • Be aged 35 or under at the time of nomination.
  • Australian and international graduates of ACU and predecessor institutions are eligible for this award.
  • Has demonstrated an ongoing high level of achievement in their profession or community service since graduating.

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