Our alumni are empowered with the knowledge, professional experience and ethical practice needed to excel. They are now a community of 125,000 people making a difference in their communities across the world.

Since 2015, ACU has held the Alumni Awards to proudly celebrate the achievements and contributions our alumni make to the community.

Read about our outstanding 2022 ACU Alumni Award winners below.

If you have any questions regarding the ACU Alumni Awards, please email alumni@acu.edu.au or call +61 2 9739 2736.

Alumni Awards 2022 winners

Elinor Archer
GraduateDiploma in Education, 2015

 Elinor Archer

Elinor Archer is a secondary classroom teacher (Indigenous cultures and languages and the arts) and Indigenous Contact Officer at Dickson College, Canberra. 

A proud Palawa woman, Elinor has connections to the Oyster Bay and Ben Lomond Country in Lutruwita (Tasmania) and was raised on Ngunnawal Country (Canberra). Her strong community ties have helped her to advance many worthwhile initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at Dickson College, including curriculum development, tutorial support schemes, pastoral care, and cultural engagement programs. 

In 2020, Elinor was instrumental in the launch of an Indigenous language and culture course at the college – the first of its kind in the ACT – and she has worked closely with Ngunnawal Elders, community, and students as the school takes a more culturally inclusive approach to education. The course has had a profound impact on those involved, providing a pathway to exploring the world’s oldest continuous living culture. 

In 2017, Elinor was awarded an ACT Public Education Award for Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and was a finalist for NAIDOC Person of the Year and NAIDOC Artist of the Year in 2019.

Melissa Redsell
Graduate Diploma in Midwifery, 2004

 Melissa Redsell

Melissa Redsell is the founder of A Brave Life, a thriving charity that helps vulnerable young mothers to forge a better future for themselves and their children. 

Melissa was a mum-to-be at the age of 16. Determined to go to university, she juggled motherhood and study and went on to work as a registered nurse, later enrolling to study midwifery at ACU. Her experiences inspired her to establish A Brave Life, in the hopes of sharing her story and supporting others in similar situations. 

Her overarching goal is to ensure that young mothers in her community have both the practical and educational support they need for themselves and their babies. Along with her team, which includes her daughter Breanna, Melissa provides practical resources to expectant teen mums, mentoring her clients through a range of challenges and encouraging them to follow their dreams.

Melissa has received many accolades for her community work, including Moreton Bay Regional Council’s 2021 Australia Day Volunteer of the Year Award.

Alexander Miles
Bachelor of Business, Marketing, 2016

 Alex Miles

Alexander Miles is the founder and CEO of Breakthru, an organisation that connects students with education and career opportunities including internships, jobs and scholarships.

Originally from Sydney, Alex moved to New York in 2016, working in the tech industry and volunteering as a sports coach at several high schools. While coaching an all-girls rugby team in Harlem, he noticed the staggering inequality that existed for underrepresented students, particularly young women, and people of colour.

Alex connected two students from Harlem with Brown University, where they now study on full-time scholarships. Realising the potential to connect students with education and career opportunities, he went on to create SportsHi, which has since helped thousands of young people to reach their goals. The company rebranded as Breakthru in early 2022, its scope expanding to open pathways to all students, regardless of their interests. It has since partnered with PayPal, Amazon, Uber, WeWork and Coinbase. Additionally, Breakthru has received investment from renowned groups such as Techstars, Goodwater Capital, 37 Angels and Headstream (supported by Pivotal Ventures, the innovation company created by Melinda Gates).

Alex has dedicated his career to creating equitable access for youth, particularly those who experience barriers because of their race, gender, sexuality or financial background.

Yanan Wei
Bachelor of Nursing, 2016

 Yanan Wei

Yanan Wei is a registered nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. She arrived in Australia as an international student and quickly developed an interest in medical volunteering.

Yanan first volunteered abroad in 2016 on a two-week program in Cambodia with Challenges Abroad Australia. Together with 15 other ACU undergraduates, she delivered health education to primary school students and did a placement in the local clinic.

After graduating, Yanan became an acute care nurse, but her passion for volunteering and her interest in global health prompted her to volunteer with an emergency rescue service in Romania. She has since also worked with Mercy Ships – an organisation that deploys hospital vessels and volunteers to developing nations – and spent two months treating patients off the coast of Africa.

In her short time as a nurse, Yanan has had a huge impact on many people in many parts of the world. She attributes her passion for volunteering to the cross-cultural experiences she had as an international student, and the perspectives she developed in that time.

Shoni Philpot
Bachelor of Nursing, 1998
Graduate Diploma in Paediatric Critical Care, 1995

 Shoni Philpot

Shoni Philpot is a senior director at Cancer Alliance Queensland, an organisation she co-founded in 2004 with a goal of using innovation to support multidisciplinary cancer care. The Alliance’s efforts are focused on clinician-led service improvement, with the long-term objectives of reducing the incidence of cancer and improving the quality of life of those affected by the disease.

In 2019, after her own experience with cancer, Shoni co-founded Australian Families 4 Genomics, an NGO that aims to accelerate cancer research breakthroughs and give young people the prospect of a better life.

Earlier in her career, Shoni worked in various roles at Queensland Children’s Hospital. As a registered nurse and policy officer, she was responsible for several transformation programs incorporating governance, technology and digital innovation. In 2001, while she worked in the hospital’s burns unit, Shoni was rushed to an emergency in PNG where she treated victims of a series of explosions.

She is currently completing a PhD focused on clinician engagement through the lens of positive organisational scholarship.

Olivia Rayner
Bachelor of Speech Pathology, 2020

 Olivia Rayner

Olivia Rayner is the Director of Now We’re Talking Speech Pathology and Psychology, a Melbourne-based service that is focused on supporting and empowering clients and their families to reach their full potential. 

Olivia is active in her community, recently establishing an awareness campaign called ‘A Night for Aphasia’. The campaign aims to shed light on aphasia, an acquired language disorder that affects communication and usually occurs suddenly after a stroke or head injury. As well as raising funds for Aphasia Victoria, The Stroke Foundation and other related organisations, the event increases public awareness of the condition, which Olivia and her team believe is crucial in helping those affected to comfortably reintegrate into society and recognising and diagnosing aphasia earlier post-stroke, to allow for improved recovery outcomes. 

Olivia is also engaged in a range of other community activities, including speech community catchups, mentoring speech pathology students, speech pathology input with local schools and kindergartens, school readiness groups, and the development of online parent education courses and special interest groups for neurodivergent clients. 

As a clinician, Olivia has a passion for helping others by instilling confidence in each individual she works with, focusing on community, connectedness and communication.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs