2018 – Pragya Kapil
Masters of International Community Development
Pragya helps other students in a variety of ways, including as part of the VU Vollies, a V4U project team leader, transition mentor and leader within VU student clubs and societies. As a mature-age international student, she uses her initiative to help other international students get easy information about events, activities, supports and extracurricular opportunities, so that they can get involved and be a part of VU life. Pragya has been recognised with a Student Leadership Award and nomination for the 2017 Victorian International Student of the Year Award.
Holding strong social justice values, Pragya also volunteers outside VU at the Asylum Resource Centre and also with Rotary. She has been involved in a number of voluntary programs including taking older people to Christmas lunches, refugee families on holidays and teaching women who are new arrivals to Australia how to swim. All the while, she works hard and maintains a High Distinction average in her studies!
2017 – Kyriacos (Keary) Karaolides
Bachelor of Business
One of the first students to be awarded a Victoria University Chancellors Scholarship, Keary has consistently shown outstanding commitment to the VU community.
In his first year at VU, Keary became President of the VU Greek Society and over the past 3 years has driven its growth from 7 members to become a thriving and active society with over 200 members. Putting in practice and ethos that you can make a difference wherever you are; during Greece’s economic crisis, Keary organised to raise over $1,000 for orphanages and boxes of winter clothes for the Greek Salvation Army.
Keary was the first head mentor for the VU Early University pathways program, working with secondary school students from low socioeconomic areas to give them a positive taste of and encouragement for ambition and entry to University. Keary is also President of NUGAS, the largest Greek Youth organisation globally outside of Greece. In this role he leads a variety of networking events and volunteer work in aged care centres. Keary’s respectful and generous attitude are widely regarded by others and show him as a strong role model especially for new students.
Dr Ancy Ramasamy
Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Business (Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management)
Arriving in Australia in 2010, Ancy has pursued excellence in studies and in her community and student leadership activities. A valedictorian at graduation and recipient of the VU International Research Scholarship due to her academic results, she has also been heavily involved in supporting other students.
In this area she has been an English language facilitator, Resident Assistant supporting international students in the Student Village, organiser of social events that brought together students, and also a Senior Rover, supporting new students with their academic endeavours and ability to access VU resources. Her kindness and professionalism have touched and supported many fellow students.
Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) Honours
James has been widely acknowledged for both his academic and student leadership achievements, including the 2015 VU Individual Student Leadership Award for his commitment and demonstration of leadership through multiple roles at VU; and being the recipient of the 2016 Vice Chancellors’ research scholarship.
Whilst achieving High Distinctions and First Class Honours, he also co-founded the College of Health and Biomedicine Society, was elected to the role of General Secretary of the VU Student Union, and served on the VU Council. James also actively promotes VU, presenting to both careers teachers and students. His Honours’ research has been published in top tier journals and received international acclaim for its innovative approaches.
Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Psychology)
After a decade as a hairdresser, Adam realised he wanted to achieve more intellectually and professionally, and decided to pursue tertiary education.
Most universities however, did not welcome him. He was advised that he was aiming too high and if accepted, he would most likely struggle and fail. Victoria University encouraged Adam to sit an entry exam, and he earned a place in the Bachelor of Science (Psychology).
He initially considered dropping out, but a mentoring program helped him build confidence in his academic ability. Through hard work and dedication he received an award as VU’s most outstanding first-year student.
Adam completed his degree with 23 high distinctions and first-class honours. He received a Dean’s High Achievement Scholarship, and in 2014, was awarded the College of Arts Dean’s Scholar Award.
Adam is now a Psychology PhD student holding an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship. He also teaches psychology to dental students at Charles Sturt University – a rare honour for a student at graduate level.
Lou Xiaocui (Catherine Lou)
Doctor of Philosophy
Catherine is a PhD candidate at Victoria Institute of Strategic Economics Studies in the College of Business, and a committed advocate for international students.
In 2013 Catherine was recognised as the state of Victoria’s international postgraduate student of the Year for her many contributions to international students. She has served as president of the International Students Association, and Postgraduate Association, and is a member of the Council of International Students Australia; the Council of Australia Postgraduates Associations; and the Victorian Association of Chinese PhD Students and Scholars.
Catherine has been vocal on many issues that affect the lives of international students, including transport concessions, student accommodation, professional development and engagement.
She was recently appointed a VU lecturer in supply chain logistics within the College of Business.
2014 – Jirayu Mecksakul
Master of Business (Finance) and Master of Business Administration
Jirayu demonstrates integrity and consistently maintains high ethical standards through being an exemplary role model to other students and through his passion to help others. He has been involved in many extracurricular activities since he commenced his double Masters degrees at Victoria University in 2013. Jirayu’s leadership ability and initiative saw him promoted to the President of Accounting, Finance and Investment Student Society (AFISS) in 2014.
As President, Jirayu has overseen an enormous growth in membership and created new engagement opportunities through social media. He also tutors small groups of students in the subject of Business Finance Through this role Jirayu has also established relationships between students and leading financial organisations to secure mentoring opportunities, career information sessions for students and financial sponsorship for AFISS.
Jirayu was a recipient of a Team Award as part of the Victoria University Student Leadership Awards in 2014.
Bachelor of Laws
Brittany has excelled in her academic and professional pursuits since her first year at Victoria Law School (VLS).
Her academic excellence was rewarded in 2012 when she was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society. The honour recognises the top 15 per cent of university students worldwide.
As a legal assistant to a distinguished Melbourne barrister, Brittany has effectively and consistently raised the profile of the VLS among barristers at the Victorian Bar. She also participates in the VLS’s mentoring program and is strongly involved in the Law Students’ Society. Her passion for community service is demonstrated at Community Support Frankston and Peninsula Community Centre.
Bachelor of Exercise Science and Human Movement
In addition to being an outstanding student, Jacinta is the current under 21 world champion and among the world’s top water-skiers.
Since joining the sport of water-skiing at age 10 and setting a goal to become a world champion at age 14, Jacinta has been determined to be the best in all she does. She was named Victoria University’s 2012 Female Athlete of the Year for her sporting achievements, VU’s highest sporting accolade. In June 2013, Jacinta won the 54th US Masters Waterski and Wakeboard Tournament.
Despite the considerable training she puts in to remain at the top of her sport, Jacinta is ably fulfilling the academic requirements for her degree with plans to pursue postgraduate studies
2012 – Garry Kuan
Doctor of Philosophy
PhD Candidate, Mr Garry Kuan, originally from Malaysia, is a high-achieving student in many ways. He is a world-class musician who has performed as first violinist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and is a well-respected sport psychologist. His PhD research – which looks at how music and imagery can improve athletic performance – was recently used by some of Australia's elite weightlifters and air-pistol shooters to prepare for their events at the London Olympics. In early 2012 Garry was named Australia's International Student of the Year for his academic excellence and his contributions to the community. These contributions include the free weekly violin lessons he offers at VU, as well as fundraising activities with his local church for children's music therapy programs at refugee camps in Burma.
2011 – Liam Adams
Bachelor of Exercise and Human Movement
Cross-country running champion and Olympian, Liam Adams of Moonee Ponds, is the University's most decorated current student athlete. For his success in national and international competitions, he was twice named VU's Male Athlete of the Year (2008 and 2010), and in those same years, received the prestigious Australian University Sport (AUS) Male Athlete of the Year. In 2010, the AUS established the Australian University Sport Honour Roll, into which Liam was inducted. The AUS is Australia's peak governing body of university sport, with 41 member universities representing more than one million students. He recently placed first in the Sydney City2Surf competition against 80,000 runners.