Alumni Awards 2011

Alumni Relations hosted the formal event in celebration of the Alumni Awards for Distinguished Service 2011 at Doltone House, Pyrmont on 27 July 2011.

Seven awards winners across four categories were honoured at the event which was attended by family and friends alongside the Vice-Chancellor, members of the University Council and Executives.


The Awards for Distinguished Service have been established to recognise and honour the outstanding achievement of Macquarie University alumni to their profession.

2011 Winner: Christine Cawsey

Christine Cawsey graduated in 1975 from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Education and Earth Sciences, and proceeded on her long and distinguished teaching career, including her appointment as Principal of Rooty Hill High School in 1997.

She has co-written and presented a range of innovative courses to teachers. In 1995, as a deputy principal, Christine was involved in the development of Women in Education Leadership in Western Sydney and was awarded a Master of Education (Administration) with Distinction from the University of Western Sydney.

Christine was a member of the Premier's Council for Women for four years, representing women educators and school communities in Western Sydney. She was highly commended in the inaugural Meritorious Service to Public Education Awards in 2003 and represented the NSW Government in a Principals' delegation to San Francisco in 2001. In 2007 she was named as one of the winners of a National Award for Quality Schooling - Principal.

In 2008 Christine's book Learning for Leadership was published and she was listed as one of Sydney's 100 most Influential People by the Sydney Morning Herald. She was the 2009 winner of the ACEL Hedley Beare Award for educational writing and since 2010 has been President of the NSW Secondary Principals' Council and an inaugural board member of the AFL Giants football team.

Alumni - view video 2011 Winner: Emeritus Professor Trevor Parmenter AM

Trevor Parmenter began his professional career with a New South Wales Teachers' Certificate from Armidale Teachers' College in 1952. He then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New England in1972 and was awarded a PhD from Macquarie University in 1985 with his Dissertation entitled An investigation of the strategic behaviour of mildly intellectually handicapped adolescents in acquiring reading skills .

Trevor's research and teaching activities in the area of disability have included employment, community living, quality of life, positive behaviour support, autism and the evaluation of support programs. His research output includes over one hundred articles, more than forty books/book chapters and numerous conference presentations, reports and reviews. He has attracted $12,500,000 in competitive research and consultancy grants from 1975 to 2009.

Trevor has occupied professorial positions at Macquarie and Sydney Universities which have impacted upon education, psychology, allied health and medicine in the field of special education and disability studies. He is Professor Emeritus at the Sydney School of Medicine, the University of Sydney and was appointed Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 for contributions to the field of Developmental Disability.


The Awards for Distinguished Service have been established to recognise and honour the outstanding contribution of Macquarie University alumni to the community.

2011 Winner: The Honourable Senator John Faulkner

John Faulkner graduated in 1977 with a combined Bachelor of Arts/Diploma of Education degree from Macquarie University, where he was an esteemed Member of the Macquarie University Council from 1984 until 1992.

John worked as a specialist teacher of children with severe disabilities and then as a Research Officer for the New South Wales Minister for Sport and Recreation.

On the election of the Rudd Government in November 2007 John was appointed Special Minister of State, Cabinet Secretary and Vice-President of the Executive Council. He also served as a member of the National Security Committee of the Cabinet.

In June 2009 Senator Faulkner was appointed to the position of Minister for Defence, where his responsibilities covered defence strategic policy, our defence forces and defence capability. Whilst holding this portfolio he was awarded the inaugural John Button Parliamentary Integrity Award in recognition of his outstanding conduct. In July 2010 John announced his plans to step down from Cabinet following the upcoming Federal Election and return to the backbench after a significant contribution to Australian political life.

International Achievement:

The Awards for Distinguished Service (International Achievement) have been established to recognise and honour the outstanding contribution of Macquarie University alumni to their profession and/or to the community, in the international sphere.

2011 Winner: Wei Kylie Chen

Kylie Chen graduated from Macquarie University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Applied Finance and Bachelor of Commerce in Actuarial Studies. In 2011 she became a qualified Actuary and an associate member of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia. She has worked for two of the largest general insurance companies in Australia and has progressed to becoming a leader in her current role at Suncorp.

On many occasions Kylie has represented Australia and met with professionals and student leaders around the world to exchange ideas on current economic issues. In 2002 she represented Macquarie University in the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations. During 2004 she was nominated by Macquarie University to represent Australia in the Dragon 100 Young Chinese Leaders Forum. In 2005 Kylie was selected to represent Australia in the sixth China Synergy Programme for Outstanding Youth. In the same year, Kylie received the "Young Business Scholars in China" scholarship from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Kylie has continually applied her dual cultural heritage to building closer links between China and Australia, with a focus on establishing management and leadership skills in a new generation of internationally active young professionals.

Young Alumni:

The Awards for Distinguished Service (Young Alumni) have been established to recognise and honour the outstanding contribution of young Macquarie University alumni, aged 35 or under in their profession and/or to the community.

2011 Winner: Elaine Laforteza

Elaine Laforteza graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Media degree from Macquarie University. She followed this with a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) degree in Critical and Culture Studies awarded in 2005 and is now engaged in a PhD in this field, also at Macquarie University.

Her passion as a scholar and community activist is demonstrated both in Australia and in the Philippines. In 2008 she showcased this commitment by winning the Global Filipino Youth Award for Academia/Education.

Elaine continues to energise the Filipino-Australian and the wider Australian community through her PhD research in Cultural Studies, her work as a writer for the Philippine Community Herald and her volunteer work in the Philippines with the NGO Gawad Kalinga, where she has participated in building homes for poverty-stricken people. She is dynamic, intelligent and works hard to improve conditions at a local, national and international level.

2011 Winner: Sabrin Rahman

Sabrin Rahman gained a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing and Organisational Behaviour) degree from Macquarie University in 2006 and followed this with a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney in 2008. While at Macquarie University, she participated in the Global Leadership Program and represented the University both regionally and internationally.

Apart from her rapid rise in her chosen field of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Sabrin has made significant changes to the lives of others by her contribution of time and expertise to the Grameen Bank, Australian League of Immigration Volunteers, Dubai Foundation for Women and Children and the Al Noor Centre for Children with Special Needs. In 2008 Sabrin was also selected as one of Australia's Brightest Young Minds.

Sabrin has worked for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry raising the profile of sustainability in the business community in Dubai. She has managed Dubai's largest employee volunteering program and her leadership of the Dubai Dialogue conference series has seen it become the foremost forum for responsible business and sustainability in the UAE. She was also the editor of Dubai's longest running Corporate Social Responsibility newsletter, the CSR Al Youm (CSR Today, in Arabic). Recently Sabrin has been appointed to lead Corporate Sustainability for HSBC United Arab Emirates, bringing her expertise to one of the largest private organisations in the Middle East.

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