Our Head of Alumni Engagement, Marie-Rose Delauzun, details the winners and runners-up of our fourth annual alumni awards.

On 21st September, we held our fourth annual Alumni Awards hosted by our two new Co-Chairs of our Alumni Leadership Board – Kayley Curtis (US Programme 2015) and Muzammil Malamji (Pathways to Law 2015). They shared their own reflections on why they’ve chosen to get involved as volunteers, and the role they think alumni can play in shaping the Trust’s work. The awards were then presented by our 2022 winners who were invited back to share what winning meant to them last year.

Although there was lightening striking outside as we made our way to the awards, it was the atmosphere in the room that was electric! Our Alumni Awards are a recognition of the incredible – and often hidden – achievements of our alumni community and an opportunity to celebrate alumni journeys since taking part in their programme.” – Kayley Curtis, ALB Co-Chair

Every year we continue to be astounded by the impressive work of our alumni who are really pushing the social mobility agenda and supporting their peers. A huge congratulations from the Sutton Trust for their achievements, and grateful to our donors and supporters who support our work.

Here are the winners and runners-up:

Community Champion: Angelica Olawepo (Winner); Georgina Shajan (Runner-up)

Judges’ comments:

We were very impressed by Angelica’s broad range of work experience, and that she has been able to demonstrate her study skills to obtain various scholarships, reflecting her dedication. In terms of the award, she has taken the initiative to run for Young Mayor and participate in the local youth Forum underscoring her dedication to her local community. Her focus on outreach in the wider community, but also overseas fundraising for women in rural Nigeria to start-up businesses was inspiring.”

Social Mobility Activist: Matthew Cordwent (Winner); Megan Lambert (Runner-up)

Judges’ comments:

“Matthew was nominated by Kate Blackmore from the Widening Participation team at the University of Exeter and is recognised for his extensive involvement in Social Mobility initiatives. Among other things, Matthew is a Student Ambassador, a Pathways to Law mentor, and the Co-founder and Administrator of the Widening Participation Law Breakfast Group. He has been involved in numerous Social Mobility initiatives including hosting a series of podcasts to support a schools partnership programme in Exeter and Bristol. He is a true social mobility activist, and we look forward to seeing the role he continues to play in widening participation and access to the legal profession.”

Volunteer of the Year: Katie Flett (Winner); Imaan Kamran Malik (Runner-up)

Judges’ comments:

“Katie has dedicated her time to working with various projects driving young people to a range of opportunities, spending the past 3 years with the Brightside organization. Her work has enabled disadvantaged students to make more informed choices when they have an information deficit regarding university applications, but also going further to provide mock interviews and careers guidance, ensuring that there is a pipeline of opportunity. Katie has truly stood out as willing to give her time to support other students’ futures!”

Outstanding Achievement: Reece Wilson (Winner); Joshua Lilly (Runner-up)

The judging panel found it incredibly difficult to choose winners from this category, so first we have two honourable mentions:

  1. Shady M. Qubaty (US Programme 2014 alum) receives an honourable mention for his extensive academic achievements and his great commitment to be of service to his community; be it his classmates, his colleagues, his compatriots or the world at large.
  2. Gabrielle McMaster (Summer School 2016 alum) receives an honourable mention for her career as an author and her achievements in the publishing world. Gabrielle is one of Northern Ireland’s youngest authors who not only set up her own publishing company, but through her books has spread awareness of mental health issues, helping to ensure the voices of those impacted by these issues are heard by her readers.

For the winner – the judges said:

Reece was nominated by multiple people and was described as “showing ingenuity, leadership, collaborative efforts, and a responsiveness towards others in need.” Reece has co-founded an Ed-tech startup to automate scheduling applications for college students, for which he successfully raised $55,000 in a pre-seed fundraising round from 3 independent angel investors.

He is also developing a non-profit organization in his home community, which aims to mentor disadvantaged UK high school students. His impact in various leadership roles both on and off campus were also highlighted. Reece is recognised for his commitment to “dive into opportunities that can make people’s lives and environment more stable places to live and thrive.” Reece’s significant achievements, as well as his ingenuity and work ethic make him a worthy winner of the outstanding achievement award.”

To even be nominated and to have your leadership, determination and innovation recognised by a peer, colleague or organisation is a great achievement and is a true testament to the strength, passion and commitment to change of our alumni community. It was a fantastic evening and inspiring to hear about each of our winners’ unique journeys. One underlying theme unites them all: their commitment and passion for change. Celebrating the successes of these individuals and being cheered on by an audience of such positive and driven alumni, university partners and donors showed the real power of being part of such a supportive alumni community.” – Kayley Curtis, ALB Co-Chair

We’ll be opening nominations for our 2024 awards early in the new year, so watch this space and our website for how you can nominate!

In the meantime, take a look at our library of alumni stories or our Alumni Leadership Board to be inspired and learn about our alumni community.

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