Vice-Chancellor’s Medal winners 2016

November 1st, 2016

The Vice-Chancellor’s Medal celebrates exceptional achievement by staff or students, recognising any current member of staff or current student any of the University’s campuses in China, Malaysia or the UK for exceptional achievement any area or a substantial contribution to the University.

For staff, these achievements can include sporting success, innovation in service delivery and significant research impact of some kind, while for students, examples include contributions to Hall, Students’ Union activities or representation and volunteering in the community.

This year saw a number of noteworthy nominations which undoubtedly made the task of shortlisting a difficult one however, after great deliberation, 28 examples of exceptional achievements stood out in particular.


  • Bethany Adams (student) – Bethany’s work as a director of the Stone Soup Academy, which provides schooling to pupils who for various reasons cannot attend a mainstream school, has had a noticeably positive impact on the local community.
  • Dr Stephen Cox (staff) – Dr Cox was nominated for his outstanding work on the Peer Assisted Study Support (PASS), a flagship scheme which he designed with students as partners within his School.
  • Freya Cumming-Webb (student) – As a result of Freya’s leadership, Students Minds, a Students’ Union campaigns group, has gone from strength to strength and for three years has ignited heathy and supportive conversations around mental health
  • Dr Linda East (staff) – Dr East established a UK charity to support Dream Big Ghana, a small NGO, which works to promote sanitation, education and health; her enthusiasm inspired a number of initiatives in collaboration with the University with have made a real difference to local communities in Ghana.
  • Rachel Feneley (staff) – Much of Rachel’s recent work has seen her engaging with under-represented and disadvantaged groups; her arts development work has helped demonstrate the demand for participatory activities across the visual and performing arts.
  • Andrew Harrison (staff) – Through numerous community outreach events, Andrew has made exceptional efforts to improve the lives of Nottinghamshire residents, in helping them to learn about and appreciate their literary heritage.
  • Owen Jones (student) – Owen’s work as a Student Ambassador has inspired many applicants to choose Nottingham. In addition he also works on a voluntary basis, fundraising for Cancer Research UK where he recently gave a three hour charity recital.
  • Dr Christina Lee (staff) – Dr Lee has been a pioneer in developing interdisciplinary research, notably between the arts and sciences including the development of an international cross-disciplinary network to investigate the efficacy of medieval remedies in relation to antibiotic resistance – one such research project became a huge media story for the university.
  • Le Ma (student) – During Le’s time in China he served as Executive Committee Member of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) from 2014 to 2016 and was their President. Under Le’s guidance, the society has become more open and localised and over 1,000 University of Nottingham students have joined and benefitted from its work.
  • Joel Matthews (student) – Having started as a complete novice in Volleyball at University, Joel has risen through the club to take on the President role. He has represented the University within the sports sector as Higher Education Volleyball Officer and was this year shortlisted for both Higher Education Volleyball Officer and Young Volunteer of the Year.
  • Faith Mbewe (student) – Faith is a prominent volunteer at Nottingham Nightline, where as a co-ordinator she oversees 15 other members of the committee along with more than 180 members. Alongside her committee role, Faith has volunteered over 600 hours speaking to student callers and has been on call for volunteers for over 2500 hours this academic year.
  • Rachel Ramsden (staff) – Rachel has been nominated in recognition for her 30 years of service to the University, having built excellent links with academic colleagues and employers to create an outstanding programme of graduate recruiter engagement activity for the Faculty.
  • Min Rose (staff) – Known for her exceptional fund raising and community engagement activities, Min personally raised almost £10,000 for Life Cycle 5, Dementia, through the design and creation of her album Stray Birds.
  • Akmal Hidayat Bin Sabri (student) – He has been nominated for his outstanding contributions to research within the School where in his second and third years of study, Akmal attracted funding for summer studentships from Wellcome Trust and Royal Society of Chemistry on two separate occasions.
  • Timo Schrader (student) – From 2013-2016, Timo was the Impact and Outreach Coordinator for the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R) and is now the Postgraduate Director. In these roles, his many his many initiatives have included creating partnerships with external organisations as well as a new publicity and engagement approach for departmental events, vastly increasing attendees.
  • Professor Malcolm Swan (staff) – During his time at the University, Professor Swan acquired a global reputation as one of the world’s leading design-researchers in mathematics education, with his research inspiring school curriculums. This year Malcom was awarded the inaugural Emma Castelnuovo Award in recognition of his commitment.
  • Steve Upcraft (staff) – Over the last 12 years, Steve has been the driving force behind the development of SME networking and engagement activity which culminated in the Ingenuity Network. This highly-regarded network now comprises just under 2,000 SME participants and is making a valuable contribution to the University’s knowledge exchange endeavours.
  • Oscar Woolnough (student) – After becoming engaged with wheelchair basketball at the end of the last academic year, Oscar has played a key role in setting up the University’s club, taking the lead in writing the application to become an SU sports club.
  • Ashna Thillainathan and Harriet Le Breton Welton (students) – Ashna and Harriet were selected to become University Netball Officers working with England Netball and it was in these roles, they were expected to deliver weekly social sessions as part of the University of Nottingham Sport’s Engage programme and were nominated jointly as they have both demonstrated innovation, drive and self-development.
  • Sutton Bonington Symphony Orchestra Founding Committee (students) – The Committee consists of Amy Stamp, Tom Wallage, Rachel Whalley and Josh Williams though the group now consists of over 70 members. Since the Orchestra’s first concert, there have since been two annual concerts with participants including local schoolchildren. The development of these musical activities together with the Sutton Bonington Fest has had a noticeable positive impact for staff, students and the local community.

University of Nottingham Ningbo China

  • May Yan (staff) – May Yan is currently Director of Library Services, having worked in the department since the campus first opened in 2005. May has made some exceptional contributions to the University, including securing a grant worth over RMB 6million for the Library in the form of a rare collection of Reproduction Ancient Classic Masterpieces by the Ministry of Education. In March 2016, May initiated the Free Kindle loan service program in order to encourage paperless and casual reading amongst staff and students – a first for a university in China.
  • Abdullah Khalid Rajab Almiqasbi (student) – as the first international student to serve as Student Union President, Abdullah worked tirelessly for the betterment of the University and student community. As well as being an incredible help and friend to every Chinese student he made sure all the international students feel at home, having overcome some challenges as an outsider himself.
  • Carla Mathilde Fabbro (student) – since her exchange to UNNC as a BA International Studies student, Carla has made considerable contributions to campus life for international students. Carla is now a postgraduate student studying a masters in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship and has been involved in a substantial amount of activities, including being the Co-Manager of the UNNC Muay Thai Club.
  • Yue Li (student) – Yue Li has made a significant and lasting contribution to the School of Computer Science. This community often struggles with gender-imbalance and stereotypes and Yue Li has challenged this image. As well as her successful participation in representing UNNC in competitions, Yue Li founded the first Computer Science students’ society CPU. This helped lead her to the inclusion in the 2015 Great Festival of Creativity which saw her share a stage with the Duke of Cambridge and introduced future Smart City concepts to him.

University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

  • Dr Nafis Alam (staff) – Dr Alam, Associate Professor of Finance, has been instrumental in raising the profile of UNMC by attracting key positions and is the founding director of the Centre for Islamic Business and Finance Research (CIBFR), and divisional research director for Accounting and Finance stream with the school. He has played an instrumental role in developing a new BSc program in Banking and Finance with Islamic banking major. With his outstanding research profile, Dr Alam was invited by the Mayor of Seoul to talk to congressmen on global financial centre strategies.
  • Dr Pek Chuen Khee (staff) – Nominated for his student-centred initiatives, Pek has been a devoted advisor and has guided teams with their ongoing social enterprise projects. Through his guidance Enactus UNMC was able to secure three Cascade grants to support all of their outreach projects. In addition to his work with Enactus he is also the founder of the Business Case Learning Foundation Programme, where he encourages learning through case studies, exposing students to the various different aspects of problem solving, design thinking, and careers in management consulting.
  • Aqeel Deen (student) – Aqeel came to UNMC as a Civil Engineering student in September 2013 and became the Sri Lankan Ambassador for the Students Association in 2014/2015. He later became Student Association President, during which time he improved communication between senior management and the student community, and created a more vibrant SA website with assistance from his Vice-President.
  • Ahson Haider Reza (student) – Ahson is currently a UNMC Civil Engineering student; the Chair of the Student Council and Conference Divisional Head for the International Student Summit 2016. While on the Student Council, Ahson orchestrated a number of policy changes.
  • UNMC Drama Group (members: Neda Binti Nejim Al-Asedi, Nur Ilyani Binti Hashim, Shamini AP Vasu, Nellie Chan Li, Edmund Khoo, Michelle Beth Chong and Ahmad Danial bin A Ghafar) – The UNMC Drama Group consists of 7 students, all at varying levels of study and from multiple schools.  One of the most notable developments at UNMC over the past 3 years has been the emergence of a vibrant theatre and drama scene. These seven students have played key roles in all three of these events.  They were performers, producers and organisers, assisting in the adaptation and re-writing of these plays as well the promotion and marketing.
  • Augustine Chay Yew Yoong – Augustine is a BA (Hons) student of English Language and Literature. During the last year Augustine has made an extraordinary contribution to student media, notably when he served as Editor-in-Chief of the online newspaper, Ignite, where he created guidance and process documents for all elements of production and writing. Augustine also had a spectacular impact on the tri‑campus creative writing magazine, Particle, of which he was a founder member and lately editor, when he was instrumental in gaining a Cascade grant.
  • Trishna Kishore Harjani – Throughout her 3 years of study she has been involved in the Education Network holding the following posts; Class Representative, School Representative, Faculty Representative for Arts and Social Science and most recently Deputy Education Officer. Trishna has also been involved in setting up the student mentoring scheme for undergraduates which was launched this year under the Nottingham Advantage Award programme.
  • Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham – In 2015 Jasmin was involved with the Water4Power project in the rural village of Kampung Sapit, Sarawak. Water4Power was initiated by Dr Ting Kang Nee with the support of a Cascade grant and as Public Relations Officer, Jasmin harnessed communications, marketing and networking skills, to convey the importance of sustainable energy and education for the underprivileged. Jasmin was competitively selected by the US Embassy of Malaysia to participate in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Institute of Environment 2014 in Hawaii.

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