Blood Cancer Support Coordinator, Leukemia Foundation
Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Sciences)
Sameerah Arif is a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator at the Leukaemia Foundation and a Medical Radiation Therapist, after having obtained a Bachelor of Biomedical Science from Victoria University. Sameerah has held many leadership roles in community and student programs. She has organised fundraising events and managed charity projects both in Victoria and overseas to support children and provide health care to those in need.
Mr Ayden Shaw
Sport & Recreation Manager, Disability Sport & Recreation
Bachelor of Exercise Science & Human Movement / Bachelor of Psychological Studies
Proud to represent the best of the west, Ayden has always been inspired by the diversity and connectedness of the western suburbs, where there is such a rich tradition and support for sport. Recognising the ability of sport to create and strengthen community and its ability to empower others, it seems only natural that Ayden would strengthen this personal link when studying a dual degree of Bachelor of Sport Science and Human Development along with a Bachelor of Psychological Studies.
Since graduating, Ayden has thrown himself into a variety of sports and community building initiatives, including the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, and Relay for Life as Community Engagement Coordinator. He is currently the Co-Chair of Connectwest, a membership-based network aimed at enabling the connections and collaboration of community groups, leaders and volunteers in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Currently he is the Sport & Recreation Manager for Disability Sport and Recreation and is managing the sport of Wheelchair AFL and establishing the first ever Robert Rose Foundation Victorian Wheelchair Football League. Ayden believes that, “As long as you have dedication and enthusiasm for what you do, you will succeed.”
Dr Ryan Storr
Co-founder, Proud2Play Inc.
Lecturer, Western Sydney University
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr Ryan Storr is a Lecturer and Academic Course Advisor in Sport Development at Western Sydney University. His research focuses on diversity and inclusion in community sport, with a focus on LGBT+ inclusion. He is the co-founder and director of Proud 2 Play, a LGBTI+ sport charity in Australia.
He recently completed his PhD at Victoria University, Melbourne. He was awarded an international PhD scholarship attached to an ARC Linkage project entitled 'Participation vs Performance: Exploring how community sports clubs respond to diversity', and his thesis explored how volunteers in community sports clubs engaged with diversity work.
Prior to moving to Australia, he held a Graduate Tutor Position at Northumbria University in the UK, where he taught the Sport Development program within the School of Life Sciences. His current research projects include: an exploration into LGBT+ supporter groups, and working with LGBT+ young people to engage them in sport and exercise.
2018 – Luba Grigorovitch
Victorian State Secretary – Rail, Tram and Bus Union
Bachelor of Business (Event Management)/Bachelor of Arts (Sports Administration)
At 23, Luba was elected to the Hobsons Bay City Council and became a lightning rod for the push to support more young women getting involved in Local Government. Just five years later, she was the first elected female State Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, the youngest ever State Secretary. In 2012, she successfully negotiated the first Domestic Violence leave clause in Victoria into Metro Trains & V/Line Enterprise Agreements, setting new benchmarks which saw her become the recipient of several awards including the ACTU Jenni George Award in 2014.
In 2018 Luba was invited to represent the ACTU at the UN Commission for the Status of Women event in New York. Active in politics, her leadership credentials continue to build, as does her commitment to helping shape a future of universal inclusion, respect and opportunity. She works with political leaders to address “what needs to be done” and work for it. With Luba, change happens!
2017 – Kot Monoah
Personal Injury Lawyer, Slater and Gordon
Bachelor of Laws
As the Chairman of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria, Kot provides countless hours of advice on a wide range of legal matters. He works tirelessly to lead by example, bringing together his legal knowledge with his understanding of the importance of culture and community connections.
A recipient of the Law Institute of Victoria’s Rising Star Award, Kot has also been recognised with the 2016 Victoria Multicultural Award for Excellence Certificate of Merit, and the 2016 African Media Australia Award for Excellence in Community Leadership.
With his own personal experience living for 12 years in a refugee camp in Kenya, he brings a firsthand knowledge of what it meant to receive support for education and also learnt the importance of perseverance. Now “paying it forward”, he helps provide education to young people in juvenile detention: uses YouTube and Facebook as platforms to educate young people about topical issues and the importance of education, employment and mentoring; and has introduced work placements at Slater and Gordon for year 11 and 12 students. Kot is truly an inspirational young leader.
2016 – Christian Williams
Bachelor of Education
Despite having a severe congenital heart condition, Christian initially pursued his passion for sports and captained Australia’s junior lacrosse team. However in trying to qualify for the London Olympics in archery it became clear his health required him to pursue a different path and he traded the sporting field for a classroom. Success followed this move, being recognised as the Victorian/Tasmanian Teacher of the Year and a Young Australian of the Year finalist.
His innovative classroom activities include running a real café as a social enterprise, and creating an IPhone app to teach kids about healthy eating and exercise. For these approaches he was one of only 2 teachers in Australia to be picked from 8,000 applicants across 148 countries to be a finalist in the “Nobel Prize of Teaching” – the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher prize. Christian also continues to meet with children who have congenital cardiac conditions, inspiring them to dream big and fulfill their ambitions.
2015 – Maxwell Gratton
Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts – Sports Administration
Maxwell is a sports administrator with a wide array of business, political and community expertise. After working in a number of roles at Football Federation Victoria, he was appointed CEO of Basketball ACT in 2014. He is currently the CEO of Football Federation Victoria.
Having worked in sports business for more than eight years, Maxwell has successfully managed all aspects of sporting operations, and has experience in not-for-profit and professional sport organisations.
Throughout his career, Maxwell has developed a range of expertise and skills that has prepared him for a role as a CEO. He is a proven team leader with strategic vision and business acumen, and possesses flexible and decisive work-style.
Maxwell has made an exemplary contribution to Victoria University. He is an avid supporter – employing graduates, hosting interns, advocating on behalf of the University. In a previous role, he was instrumental in the creation and funding of two Achievement Scholarships.
Master of Business Administration
Kandeban is currently Channel Head of Sri Lanka's number one Tamil language radio station, Shakthi FM. Over the past 12 years Kandeban has been a pioneer in the world of media, sales and marketing for Indian and Sri Lankan radio and television. Today he is more widely known as the host of the Sri Lankan game show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’
In 2008 Kandeban was youngest Station Head of a leading radio station in India while completing his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Victoria University; a testament to his energy and multitasking skills. He is known to be an inspiring corporate leader with high integrity and the ability to envision and create successful outcomes in complex business situations. He is also a motivational speaker, leadership trainer and the only Sri Lankan media professional on the Grand Jury of the New York Festivals.
In February 2014, Kandeban was recognised by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) as a winner in the category of 'Australian Alumni Excellence Merit Award 2014 for Business Administration' at the Australian Alumni Excellence Awards in Sri Lanka.
Master of Business (Finance), Bachelor of Accounting, Banking and Finance
Samuel currently works as an Accounts Officer for the National Sterling Group, however his journey has been one of hardship. As one of the ‘lost boys’ of South Sudan, Samuel was among thousands of young children forced to flee during civil war. He spent 12 years in refugee camps in Kenya from age 9 to 21, before he received an offer to resettle in Australia in 2004.
In Australia, he worked by day and studied at night. While Samuel completed a double degree in accounting, banking and finance and a Master of Business at VU, he never forgot his community in Rumbek, nor the countless South Sudanese children missing out on their own chance for education after 21 years of war.
Samuel is determined to make his dream a reality. Inspired by the education he received at Victoria University and the support of local and international Rotary, Samuel is raising funds to build a community primary school in his former hometown of Rumbek.
2013 – Stacey Keating
Bachelor of Applied Science (Sport Science)
Well known women’s golfer Stacey Keating has completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Sport Science in Golf) at Victoria University. When Ballarat born Stacey was introduced to golf at age 12, she showed immediate promise, scoring her first hole-in-one and soon reduced her handicap to 8.
Stacey moved to Melbourne at 18 to focus on her game and enrol at Victoria University. She was named VU’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2006 and 2010 for her many outstanding sporting achievements. In 2006, she won her first nationally ranked tournament. Since turning professional in 2010, Stacey has won the French Open and the Spanish Open in 2012, and was one of only five Australians to contest the 2013 US Women’s Open.
Bachelor of Laws
Innovative young lawyer, Nussen Ainsworth, has demonstrated significant early achievement in his legal career through his passion for technology and social media, and how he incorporates them into his profession. Nussen is a popular and regular speaker on the topic, and has presented at the Victorian Bar and the Law Institute of Victoria about the importance and benefits of modern technology, taking into account the profession's concerns about security and client confidentiality. Before he graduated, Nussen helped develop an application that allows barristers to store and retrieve casework on an ipad. This application is now being used by many in the profession. Earlier this year, Nussen was nominated for the 2012 Law Institute of Victoria President's Award in the Rising Star of the Year category.
Certificate IV in Business
Chelsea Hatherall volunteered her time and skills in many community organisations and charities, including Amnesty International, the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, the Cancer Council, the Victorian Flood Appeal and the Laverton Community Kitchen. As Marketing and Communication Coordinator at Footscray Community Arts Centre, Chelsea has a keen interest in offering the diverse communities of Melbourne's West a place for cultural expression. She was named Hobson Bay Council's Young Citizen of the Year, and Maribyrnong City Council's Emerging Community Leader in 2012.
Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations)
Cr Carter was elected mayor in 2010 at the age of 32, the youngest woman to ever hold the position. In her role, she has developed creative partnerships, particularly around issues of good governance and sustainable planning. She is also on the boards of LeadWest, Western Melbourne Tourism, and several other organisations.
Jacinta Torres Gomez
Bachelor of Education
Human rights advocate Jacinta has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the less fortunate, both in Australia and overseas. She is currently in Papua New Guinea working on The Crimson Campaign, a program she co-founded to help young women in developing countries around issues of menstruation.