2013 Vice-Chancellor's Equity and Diversity Award Winners 

$10,000 Winner - Professor Linda Richards  

Professor Linda Richards has demonstrated passion and outstanding leadership in developing the internationally recognised Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) for secondary students. The ABBC began as a relatively small program in 2006 and has now expanded across the country with thousands of students from all Australian states and territories participating. In recent years Professor Richards has collaborated with Indigenous organisations including the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation, and GenerationOne to ensure the competition is accessible to Indigenous students and to encourage involvement. More recently the ABBC has been enhanced with the implementation of a work experience program and a Transition Awards programs developed by Professor Richards with students from as far away as Djarragun College and Woree State High School, being hosted by the Australian Brain Institute to work alongside neuroscientists undertaking research and to participate in lectures. This aspect of the program also enables postdoctoral fellows to gain experience in training young scientists, and to inspire future researchers. 


$5000 Winner - SCRIPT Team


Historically between 36-53% of Pharmacy students have spoken a language other than English at home, Competence in communication is essential for pharmacists, and is assessed in all years of the undergraduate Pharmacy program. In recognition of the challenges for these students, a multi-disciplinary team of academics from Pharmacy, language learning and higher education, have collaborated to develop Skills for Communicating and Relating in Pharmacy Training program (SCRIPT), which teaches effective discipline-specific communication skills and colloquial English. The SCRIPT team provide the program free of charge over a twelve-week period. Since its introduction in 2008 evaluation has demonstrated that this has resulted in improved academic performance in oral and written assessment, as well as greater confidence, student engagement and employment outcomes. There have been a number of academic articles published about SCRIPT and it the work of the SCRIPT team has been recognised though a 2011 Award for Programs that Enhance Learning and a 2012 Australia Award for University Teaching for Programs that Enhance Learning.


2013 Vice-Chancellor's Alumni Diversity Award

Winner - Dr Richard Lewandowski

On graduating, Richard travelled to America and joined an organisation called Operation Smile, a not for profit organisation that provides reconstructive surgery to children and young adults born with facial deformities in developing countries. On return to Australia, he created Operation Smile Australia which has now been sending Australia and New Zealand based volunteers on cleft lip and palate missions, craniofacial missions and bringing children to Brisbane for treatment for over 13 years. To date, Operation Smile has treated over 200 000 of these children worldwide. Patients treated are often unable to eat, drink, breath, or speak properly and the operations he and his team complete, which usually takes around 45 minutes, changes that child’s life. Volunteers from around the world come together in a team to undertake a comprehensive two week medical mission, facing extreme challenges; poorly resourced hospitals, uncomfortable conditions and extraordinarily large numbers of patients. Additionally, the team trains local doctors and nurses to enable treatment to continue after their departure with the aim of building fully functioning craniofacial units. 5 yearly visits take place, with the number of Australian volunteers being steadily reduced to ensure local staff are able to operate successfully without external assistance. Richard has also facilitated doctors from Vietnam to come to Brisbane to spend 4-6 weeks developing their knowledge of managing craniofacial deformities. Building on this concept, he has collaborated with the University of Queensland’s School of Medicine to implement a program for students to attend a mission during their surgery rotation. The first students to participate in this program visited Cambodia February 2013.



Dr Sacha Develle

Following a trip in 2007 to sub-Saharan Afric to visit her sponsor child, Dr Develle was overwhelmed with the poverty of the country and was inspired to contribute to education in the area. 

She set up the Cambridge to Africa organisation at Cambridge University. Staffed solely by volunteers and with the mission of working with African communities in the sub-Saharan area, in 2010 the organisation was granted UK charity status.

Developing strong working partnerships with the Ugandan Association for the Deaf, the Child Africa international School in Kabale and the Ugandan artist Enoch Mukiibi the Cambridge to Africa organisation ran teacher training, sign language and English courses, and shipped over 2000 educational books. It also initiated an innovative mobile phone social inclusion project for deaf children.

The program has also commenced a peer-reviewed academic journal for African academics and has brought Ugandan students to Cambridge.

Cambridge to Africa  has continued to grow, contributing to social inclusion and education changes at the local policy level in Uganda, sending volunteer educational consultants to Uganda to work in the field, presenting on the mobile phone social inclusion project to AusAid, Oxford university, Christian Blind Mission and Cambridge University.


Ms Clarissa Adriel

It was during one of her student placements in India that Clarissa first became aware of the occupational deprivation of refugees and was determined to make a difference.

She founded OOFRAS, Occupational Opportunities for Refugees & Asylum Seekers Inc. a registered non-profit organisation, recognised as a charitable institution by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which is committed to public action. Clarissa is also the co-chair of refugee settlement Special Interest Group. 

OOFRAS now has over 600 occupational therapists from across the world who work within the detention system with families, with children with a disability, in various activity programs , with asylum seekers on Manus island

Clarissa is an internationally recognised occupational therapist committed to furthering the health and well-being of refugees and asylum seekers.

She is an inspiring, passionate, engaging and motivating individual, who is knowledgeable, hard-working, and visionary.  She has made significant contribution to improving the lives of refugees and migrants. She is a champion of the rights of all peoples to be safe, to work, to have hope and to have dignity.  


Diversity Week Awards section

Vice- Chancellor's Alumni Diversity Award 2013 Nominees

Dr Sacha DeVelle Following a trip in 2007 to sub-Saharan Afric to visit her sponsor child, Dr Develle was overwhelmed with the poverty of the country and was inspired to contribute to education in the area. She set up the ...

Vice- Chancellor's Equity and Diversity Awards 2013 Nominees

Mr Wayne Wei Yi Chan Wayne is an exceptional role model for other students, speaking out on behalf of women’s rights and assisting as a mentor for students transitioning to university, He has also served as an Internat...
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