Alumni achievements celebrated at annual awards

Charles Darwin University

A Darwin-born tech entrepreneur and innovator is one of a handful of individuals recognised for their extraordinary achievements at Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Alumni Awards.

The annual awards showcase the best and brightest of CDU graduates who have become trailblazers and leaders throughout their careers.

The Alumni Award for Industry Excellence went to renowned entrepreneur Dr Mark Englund, who graduated from the then-Northern Territory University with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in 1995.

In the years since graduating, Dr Englund has founded three deep tech startups, including his current endeavour FibreSense – of which Dr Englund is Chief Executive.

The fibre optic technology, used around the world, rolled out its first large-scale deployment of data monitoring software in Palmerston in 2021. Dr Englund, while no longer living in Darwin, continues to share his passion and use his knowledge to promote the field by investing in the digital innovation space in the Territory.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said the University was proud to have helped shape these innovative alumni.

“Our alumni are extraordinary individuals who represent the University’s values, ambitions and our goal to use knowledge to help shape a brighter future,” Professor Bowman said.

“It was an extraordinary night to celebrate our alumni and their achievements. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments, and we honour the success of all our alumni.”

Special Commendation for the Industry Excellence award went to renowned artist and CDU Bachelor and PhD graduate Dr Aly de Groot, and Lawrence Fletcher who studied completed a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management and Certificate III in Plumbing. His business, Fletcher’s Plumbing and Gas Fitting, went on to become Katherine’s second largest employer of apprentices.

Larrakia and Warumungu woman Dr Christine Fejo-King was recognised with the First Nations Alumni Award and the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr Fejo-King graduated from the then-Northern Territory University with a Bachelor of Social Work in 1999, and has worked for decades in policy development for care and protection, youth justice, early intervention support, social and emotional wellbeing and more.

She is the current Elder in Residence at the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities – one of many prestigious roles she’s served in throughout her career.

Special Commendation went to Gugu Badhun woman Professor Yvonne Cadet-James, a Diploma of Applied Science, Bachelor of Nursing, and Graduate Diploma Education (Adult) alum who has conducted significant research in public and Indigenous health.

The Alumni Award for Early Career Achievement went to Matthew Hull, who graduated from CDU in 2019 with a Bachelor of Psychological Science.

Mr Hull, a veteran who was driven by witnessing the mental health impacts of suicide on families, friends and communities, was instrumental in the successful Territory rollout of suicide prevention charity MATES in Construction.

Special Commendation for the Early Career Achievement award was given to David Beckham, a Bachelor of Nursing alum recognised for his contributions to humanitarian and disaster management work and advocacy for the nursing and midwifery profession.

Conservation biologist Dr Jayson Ibanez was acknowledged with the International Alumni Award. Dr Ibanez received his PhD in Natural Resource Management from CDU and is renowned for his pioneering research on the critically endangered Philippine eagle.

Special Commendation for the International Alumni Award went to Ovania Auxiliadora De Fatima Mendonca, who completed a Bachelor of Health Science in 2015 and has undertaken significant work addressing health and socio-economic challenges in Timor-Leste.

The Alumni Award for Community Service was given to Master of Information Technology graduate Yuba Raj Panta. Mr Yuba’s volunteering journey began in 2010, particularly within the NT’s Nepalese community.

Special Commendation for the Community Service award went to Bachelor of Secondary Education graduate Shanae Kuo, who founded the CDU-affiliated student group The GG Social Club and was a member of the 2022 NT Youth Round Table.

There were 32 finalists at this year’s Awards, held at the Darwin Convention Centre.

CDU Alumni Manager David MacBain said it was an exceptional night to recognise the University’s trailblazers.

“Congratulations to all the winners, finalists and nominees on their incredible achievements,” Mr MacBain said.

“Our alumni are outstanding, creative and passionate individuals. These awards are all about recognising their achievements and their commitment to creating change within their fields and communities around the world.”

/Public Release.