Alumni Association Awards: 2011 winners

Read more about the winners of the 2011 Alumni Association Awards.

Bettina Urban (PhD Medical & Veterinary Sciences 2008-)

Lead nominator: Tracey Collard, Research Associate in Pathology and Microbiology

In her time in Bristol, Bettina has served as a Departmental Student Representative and as a Postgraduate Research Senate Representative. She has organised numerous social events to bring students together and has also organised events in support of the charity, Medicines sans Frontiers, as well as providing an effective voice for students both within the Students’ Union and the University Senate.

Bettina’s greatest contribution, however, has been her work within and for the wider community. She is committed to bringing students, both undergraduates and postgraduates, together with the local community and during the first year of her PhD, Bettina joined Student Community Action, now known as UBU Volunteering, and since then has regularly volunteered on projects such as the Saturday Club, Network and Nightshelter.

In 2010, she was elected as Chair of UBU Volunteering and became involved in planning various community events and fundraising activities, in particular, the annual kids Christmas party and the community dinner dance. In addition, Bettina has raised awareness of student volunteering in the local media and currently holds the position of Volunteer Development Officer, which involves delivering training to other students under the Train2Train scheme.

Bettina is also the chair of SCA Plus, an independent UK charity which raises money to fund new and existing volunteering projects. Alongside this work, Bettina also volunteers at numerous events and, in 2009, was the student coordinator for Breast Health Awareness, informing the public about the risks and prevention of breast cancer.

Her nominator, Tracey Collard, says: 'Bettina has selflessly given much of her free time to aid fellow students, charities and those members of the community that are so desperately in need.'

Jennifer Dodds (MB ChB 2006-)

Lead nominator Emilie Baekgaard, current student in Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Jennifer has been extensively involved with charity work and with SKIP (Students for Kids International Project) since her first year at Bristol, taking on a variety of different roles within the group. She has also worked on the National SKIP committee as National Coordinator, a job that entails coordinating 11 different University groups encompassing approximately 150 students and overseeing all of their projects.

She has also been extensively involved with the charity Medsin, an umbrella organisation linking up medical charities as well as focusing on awareness and education concerning issues faced in the developing world. She has held the positions of Events Manager and Treasurer within this organisation.

Jennifer has a strong interest in child health both at home and abroad. As well as being involved in overseas child-focused charity work, she undertakes a weekly tutoring scheme organised by the Bristol branch of the charity, Homed. In addition, her care for vulnerable people in society extends to encompass mental health issues and her involvement in the Bristol Psychiatry Society committee served to highlight the issues and stigmas associated with mental health problems.

Her nominator says: 'Jennifer is a student who knows how to seize every opportunity available to her; who puts in an almost superhuman effort and her dedication and hard work has changed the lives of both children and students in the UK and abroad.'

Jonathan Broad (MB ChB 2008-)

Lead nominator: Max Wakefield, Sabbatical Officer, Students' Union

In his first year at Bristol, Jonathan became involved in Student Council and used this to raise issues of concern about student life. He also became involved with the Bristol University Sustainability Team (BUST) and took on the role of Ethics Officer. Jonathan has taken a leading role in organising events such as Ethics and Environment Week and the Sustainable Development Conference. One of BUST’s major successes has been the establishment of Foodcycle, a project in which students work in partnership with supermarkets and shops to collect surplus food and run a community lunch in Easton in Bristol. Last year, Jonathan was responsible for organising food collection by bike and bike-trailer and continues to be heavily involved in the project.

Jonathan has also run an ambitious 'Auction of Promises' that gave student groups and societies the opportunity to present their activities and request people to offer promises of volunteering hours or money to support their activities. This event raised a large sum of money for various different voluntary projects and groups and ensured hundreds of hours of volunteering as well as raising awareness of the range of voluntary activities undertaken by students.

Jonathan has also been involved in the development of student volunteering through the Bristol Hub, a network of ethical, environmental, developmental and community volunteering societies and student groups. The group is going from strength to strength and engages with 26 Union societies and reaches over 5,000 students with its weekly newsletter, and during the last academic year Jonathan was responsible for this communication.

His nominator says: 'The range of activities and campaigns Jonathan has established and developed is quite phenomenal. He is both a team player and a leader.'

Jakrada (Ming) Attarataya (PhD Biochemistry 2009-)

Lead nominator: Dr Catherine Nobes, Reader in Cell Biology, School of Medical Sciences

Ming came to Bristol from Thailand in 2009 and is sponsored through a prestigious award from the Thai Government based on academic achievement. Her doctoral studies are focused on using X-ray crystallography to determine the structures and mechanisms of several key enzymes found within pathogenic organisms. This is a complex field that requires a broad and interdisciplinary approach combining biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and computing.

Her studies are both academically challenging and require extensive collaborative working. Ming’s work requires her to do experiments at the advanced Diamond Light Source facility near Oxford, which  has involved dealing with complex operating and safety requirements.

Ming’s achievements are made all the more remarkable by the fact that she has been profoundly deaf since birth and, consequently, also has a degree of speech impairment. Despite this, she has reached the very highest and most competitive standards in her chosen field. Ming relies extensively on lip-reading to meet the language requirements for studying at Bristol and, to be able to progress her research studies, Ming had to learn English by lip-reading.

It is a tremendous tribute to her determination that she has overcome these challenges and, at the same time, worked closely with her department to devise and implement effective and safe working methods for laboratory studies, and means by which she can readily communicate her findings. Ming’s achievements are truly inspirational.

Her nominator says: 'Ming is eminently worthy of recognition in view of the tremendous role model she offers to others.'