23 May 2013

A researcher inspiring students to learn about the brain and an alumnus on a mission to help children with cranio-facial deformities are among those acknowledged by The University of Queensland at the Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Awards held on Thursday, 23 May 2013.

The Vice-Chancellor's Equity and Diversity Award recognises UQ staff and students who have made significant contributions in the area of equity and diversity.

Professor Linda Richards from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute was awarded the first place Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Award and $10,000.

Professor Richards demonstrated passion and outstanding leadership in developing the internationally recognised Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) for secondary students.

The Brain Bee, which involved over 5000 students from across Australia in 2013, motivates young people to learn about the brain and inspirers them to pursue careers in neuroscience.

Vice-Chancellor's Equity and Diversity Awards - $10,000 winner Linda Richards "Brain Bee Challenge" from The University of Queensland on Vimeo.
The team from Skills for Communicating and Relating in Pharmacy Training program (SCRIPT) was awarded second place, worth $5000.

Historically, between 36 and 53 per cent of pharmacy students don’t speak English at home, a language assessed in all years of the undergraduate pharmacy program.

Importantly, students and graduates need to have a high quality of discipline-specific and colloquial English to be successful.

SCRIPT recognises the challenges that these students face and developed the program, which teaches effective English communication skills.

Vice-Chancellor's Equity and Diversity Awards - $5000 winner SCRIPT from The University of Queensland on Vimeo.
The Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Alumni honours a UQ alumnus who has demonstrated a commitment to diversity and has made significant contributions to meeting contemporary challenges within society through professional or community endeavours.

The winner of the 2012 Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Alumni was Dr Richard Lewandowski.

Dr Lewandowski created Operation Smile Australia, a non-for-profit organisation that sends Australian and New Zealand-based volunteers to developing nations on cleft lip, palate and craniofacial missions as well as brings children to Brisbane for treatment.

He has also collaborated with The University of Queensland’s School of Medicine to implement a program for students to participate in a mission during their surgery rotation.

Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Alumni winner - Dr Richard Lewandowski, Operation Smile Australia from The University of Queensland on Vimeo.
Dr Sacha DaVelle received a Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Alumni commendation for setting up Cambridge to Africa after visiting her sponsor child in sub-Saharan in 2007 and being overwhelmed by the poverty of the country.

Cambridge to Africa has strong working partnerships with a variety of groups in Uganda, runs teacher training, sign language and English courses, and ships educational books to the country.

Ms Clarissa Adriel also received a Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Alumni commendation.

Ms Adriel founded Occupational Opportunities for Refugees & Asylum Seekers Inc. (OOFRAS), a registered non-profit organisation that is committed to public action on the occupational deprivation of refugees.

The University of Queensland congratulates winners, those receiving commendations and all nominees for their important contributions to equity and diversity in society.

This year’s theme, The Art of Diversity, refers to art in all its forms – painting, sculpture, theatre, music, dance and architecture.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Awards presentation event featured a debate on the topic Art is irrelevant to human progress, with teams of senior staff and students, moderated by School of Human Movement Studies Head and Professor of Health and Physical Education Professor Doune Macdonald.

Media: UQ Communications Officer, Kate Bishop, 3346 7887 or k.bishop3@uq.edu.au