Previous award winners


People's Sporting Champion

Shaiden Smith

This award is for someone who makes a significant contribution to sport and exercise at Federation University, gives back to the community and has promoted and helped sport to develop. They should be a regular in our sport and exercise programs, whether as a participant, coach or official, and encourage their peers to get involved.

Shaiden is currently studying a Bachelor of Health & Physical Education. She represented Fed in the Virtual Gold Coast Marathon this year and has been an active participant in many of our physical activity engagements. Shaiden captained a team in our Campus Comps Netball and was set to be our netball captain at the UniSport Nationals, which displays the leadership qualities she possesses.

With a warm and welcoming demeanor, Shaiden is also inclusive of all members of our sports programs and takes the time to assist and develop other students in sport and exercise.

Congratulations to the People’s Sporting Champion Shaiden Smith.

Sportsperson of the Year

Wesley Roberts

This award is for a currently enrolled student who the Awards Committee considers to be the most outstanding sportsperson attending Federation University for 2021. They have shown great character, leadership, and an interest in their fellow sportspersons.

Wesley is currently studying a Bachelor of Information Technology online. He has shown great commitment and drive towards his chosen sport of swimming and has some amazing achievements very early in his career. Wesley represented FedUni at this year’s UniSport Nationals Swimming Competition, taking home a silver medal for the Falcons! In addition, he was also selected as the Flag Bearer for the Cook Islands in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics, where he represented his country in the pool.

Congratulations to the recipient of the Sportsperson of the Year Award, Wesley Roberts

Student Group of the Year

FedUni Nursing Society (F.U.N.S)

This award recognises a student run group that has been consistently well run, active and inclusive over an extended period. This group displays strong leadership, which has positively impacted both the university and their members.

F.U.N.S have a established a following of over 1,300 members. The group has an aim to provide support, mentorship, and a safe space for nurses to connect and build relationships. They have achieved this goal in 2021 by providing peer support sessions, Facebook live events, and chat posts based on education, assessments, mindfulness, and mental health. A new initiative for this group in 2021 was a newsletter, delivered monthly with educational articles, recipes, assessment due dates, podcast recommendations and movies. It has been a difficult past few years for the health care industry in particular, yet F.U.N.S have continued to be an exceptional Student Group.

Congratulations to the FedUni Nursing Society on being awarded Student Group of the Year

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Student Success

Tammy Lee Chatwin

This award recognises an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander student who has demonstrated excellence in their effort in their university studies and have also made a positive impact in their local or university community.

Tammy commenced a Bachelor of Nursing at Federation University in 2019. During her three years at Fed, she has made many positive contributions to the aboriginal community, Federation University, and the Aboriginal Education Centre. Tammy has achieved outstanding results academically, holding a GPA above 6 in her Nursing degree. It hasn’t always been easy, navigating through many obstacles and challenges to study at Federation University. However, Tammy now finds herself in a position to make change for indigenous people and improve the healthcare system through her studies and future career.

Congratulations Tammy Lee Chatwin on the Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander of the Year Award

International Star - Advocacy

Miriam Sara Perera Dodamwalage

The International Star (Advocacy) Award recognises an international student who has helped make positive change for their peers.

Miriam commenced a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Federation University in 2019, and their leadership qualities quickly came to the fore when they joined the FedUni Mentor Group in 2020. They have been a shining example for fellow students, supporting them with their studies and university life.  

In September 2020, Miriam took up the position of Student Academic Leader which allowed them to further contribute to their peer's success. They also volunteered in the Council of International Students Australia and played a big part in affiliating CISA with FedUni.

Miriam volunteers as the Grievance Officer for the education portfolio, representing FedUni and acting as a voice for 650,000 international students across Australia. For this work, they have been nominated by the CISA president for the upcoming CISA election as the National Treasurer.

Congratulations Miriam Sara Perera Dodamwalage on winning the International Star (Advocacy) Award

International Star - Support and Engagement

Thaniya Priyamaria Phillip Nesakumar

The International Star (Support & Engagement) Award recognises an international student who has made a significant contribution to university life for their peers. This student has dedicated significant time and effort to improving international student experience.

Thaniya is an international student who studies a Bachelor of Business at our Berwick Campus. They have worked through a number of struggles to become a student at FedUni and have also been elected as the Student Representative of School of Business for the upcoming term, in their first year of university!

The deserved winner of the International Star (Support & Engagement) is Thaniya Priyamaria Phillip Nesakumar. Congratulations Thaniya.

Most Promising Student Group


This award recognises a student group who has not only done great things in their short tenure but have laid the foundations to be a successful and sustainable group for years to come.

BARS has focused on providing and supporting a more diverse residential experience at Federation University. From running large-scale events to trips to even study spaces, diversifying what is considered the residence culture.

They have been an excellent support to their peers during orientation and lockdowns and have made a huge contribution to the residential experience in Ballarat, with some highlights being their Res Ball and Grampians trip.

Congratulations to BARS who have been awarded the Most Promising Student Group.

Best Student Event

Student Auction - Greenroom

This award is for an event or activity that was inclusive to all targeted students and provided much needed social interaction during some challenging times. This student ran initiative gave students the opportunity to come together and have fun.

Despite limited capacity and restrictions, Greenroom were able to run their extremely successful Student Auction this year.

Greenroom's Student Auction broke their group's fundraising record, raising over $2,300 in a single night. The night included members auctioning off their talents from personalised art, homemade jewellery, and acting/singing services. All funds raised went into the final years’ students ‘Encore’ celebration – a final year send off. Ultimately, this event achieved the group’s objective to provide members with a student-led experience that is not traditionally offered through standard university funding.

Congratulations to the Greenroom Student Group on the Best Student Event Award!

Most Outstanding Student Contribution

Laura Benney

This award recognises a student who has gone above and beyond in their contribution to the University community and the winner of the Most Outstanding Student Contribution Award is a truly exceptional student and member of the Fed community. They have made extensive contributions to student well-being, encouraging resilience, and academic development at a School and University level and to knowledge generation at a state level.

Laura is an active member of the Student Senate and a student representative on the School of Education Teaching Quality and Student Retention Committee.

Her impact is evident in the projects she has initiated including: 
- initiating, writing, and delivering an annual commencing student’s seminar which guides and informs students about the checkpoints on their pathway to graduating from an initial teaching degree
- authoring the Federation School of Education Commencing Student Booklet

Laura's ability to design and develop engaging learning experiences for secondary students has been recognized by teachers, academics and at a state level. She was awarded the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria’s (HTAV) Award for Excellence in History Teaching by a Pre-Service Teacher (2021). This is the first time a Federation student has gained this award.  She  has also consistently achieved exceptionally high results in academic and teaching experience courses where grades are awarded by teachers who are experts in their field.  

As a volunteer and in paid employment, Laura has an extremely strong record of being an approachable, knowledgeable, industrious, collaborative, and enthusiastic educator. She applies understanding of a broad range of students and has significant capacity to identify learner needs and find ways to successfully advocate for a diverse range of students. These exceptional qualities are evident her volunteering record: FedUni Ambassador (2018-2019), FedUni Open Day Volunteer (2018-2019), Federation Student Mentor (2020), Federation Student Senate Member (2021), and School of Education Student Retention and Teaching Quality Committee Student Representative (2021).

In her role as Swimming Instructor and Aquatic Liaison Officer at the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre (2016-current), Laura has planned, taught, assessed, and supervised aquatic education lessons to infant, school-age and adult learners; encouraged the development of resilience and confidence for a range of students; liaised with parents, giving active feedback on student progress; and, supported and provided feedback to aquatic education staff.  As a private tutor and VCE tutor/classroom assistant at Phoenix P-12 Community College (2019-current) Laura has facilitated individual and small group tutoring sessions in the fields of Literature, Psychology, English and Legal Studies for both intervention and extension purposes; developed personalized learning plans for students; and, provided in-class support to teachers.

Congratulations on the Most Outstanding Student Contribution Award, Laura Benney

Academic Elite Athlete Award

Nicole Frain

The Academic Student Athlete Award recognises combined athletic and academic excellence of the University’s top Elite Athletes. Awarded to an Elite Athlete Program member who achieved high academic standards while competing in their sport at an elite level. This can be either through outstanding performance in their classes, or dedication to their studies while achieving sporting success.

Nicole commenced her studies at Federation University in 2019. During her time at Fed, she has not only achieved exceptional academic results in her Food and Nutritional Science studies but has excelled in her professional sporting career as a cyclist.

2021 started with a third place in the individual time trial, on familiar territory at the Fed RoadNats Nationals competition. After restricted opportunities to participate on home soil, Nicole moved base to Stanford, America, where she trained and maintained study commitments. Nicole went on to join Team TIBCO and gained selection to compete in the Paris Roubaix Femmes, one of the most iconic one day classics on the cycling calendar. Whilst achieving all this success, she was able to balance full time work and achieve an incredible GPA of 7.

Congratulations to our inaugural Academic Elite Student Award winner, Nicole Frain.


People's Sporting Champion

FedAwards 2020 Winner. People's Sporting Champion. Jordyn McCarthy.

The Peoples’ Sporting Champion is someone who makes a significant contribution to sport at Federation University, gives back to the community and has promoted and helped sport to develop. They should be a regular in our sporting programs, whether as a participant, coach or official, and encourage their peers to get involved.

Throughout 2020, Jordy has shown an exceptional amount of dedication and commitment to the sporting programs and events offered by Federation University.

In particular, she showed a great deal of University pride being an active participant in the UniSport Australia Lockdown League and constantly encouraged her fellow students to do the same. She is an avid user of both the FedMoves app and FedUni Strava and engages in any competition the platforms have to offer. Jordy was also the only student to enter each 'event' of the inaugural Fed Iso-Lympics, showing both originality and talent.

Whenever the Federation Community hosts a sporting event, Jordy is always one of the first students to jump on board as a participant, leader or offer a helping hand to encourage other students to participate. She is a natural sportsperson and willing to give her all at the task at hand. Jordy should be commended on her efforts in 2020, for being an active and passionate contributor to a new looking sporting culture and community.

Congratulations Jordyn McCarthy

2020 Sportsperson of the Year

FedAwards 2020 Winner. Sports Person of the Year. Nicole Frain

This award is for a currently enrolled student who has shown great character, leadership and an interest in their fellow sportspersons. The winner must have represented Fed in some capacity but results in external high performance competition will be taken into account.

2020 has proven to be a tough year for organised sport, one sport that has been able to pivot and continue providing high level competition is cycling.
Nicole Frain embraced the challenge of competing in virtual cycling after recovering from a horrific high speed crash just as she took a big step forward competing in her first World Tour event at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Through the middle of the year cycling was almost exclusively a solo pursuit or a virtual competition and Nicole had immediate success for both her National Road Series team and representing Federation University. With a 2nd place in the SRAM Send It Series wrapped up for Fed, Nicole followed that by taking out the win in the NRS virtual series beating the best female cyclists in Australia.

As a member of our Elite Athlete Program and a UniSport Australia Nationals representative we can always count on Nicole to present both herself and the University in the best light. 2020 has also seen Nicole take on a leadership role with her cycling club in Tasmania, helping to get racing up and running since the easing of restrictions and giving back to her local community.

Congratulations to a very deserving winner of the Federation University Sportsperson of the Year for 2020 Nicole Frain.

Federation Club or Society of the Year

FedAwards 2020 winner. Federation Club or Society of the year. Berwick Psych Society

This award recognises a student-run club/society/team which has been consistently well-run, active and inclusive over an extended period of time. This club/society/team possesses strong leadership in their committee which positively impacts their members/University.

The Berwick Psych Society has worked very hard this year, during difficult circumstances, to come up with ideas, events and activities to keep morale high and maintain engagement with students. Some of the initiatives that the society has run include interactive quizzes, RUOK Day Speed Friending, competitions and fortnightly virtual drop-in sessions for anyone who needs to socialise and talk.

These events and activities have been greatly appreciated by FedUni students and have been integral in increasing engagement, connectedness and peer support. All of which are top priorities for the Society.

Congratulations Berwick Psych Society

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Student Success

FedAwards 2020 Winner. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Student Success. Shai Spark.

The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Student Success Award recognises an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander student who has demonstrated excellent effort in their University undergraduate studies, and has made a positive impact in their local or University community.

Shai has made significant contributions to the Aboriginal Education Centre, Federation University and the Aboriginal community. Shai is a remarkable person who will leave a lasting impression even after she graduates. She has demonstrated that she is a very capable, hardworking and highly intelligent person, who is working towards completing her Bachelor of Nursing. She is an exemplary  student who maintains a GPA above 6. This achievement was formally recognised in a commendation letter from Professor Wendy Cross, Dean of the School of Nursing and Healthcare Professions.

Shai shows extraordinary passion for her culture and for Aboriginal rights. This passion drives her life goal of becoming a nurse and to affect policy changes which enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status. She hopes to work and change health policies within rural and remote Aboriginal communities, improving access and quality of health care and ultimately working towards bringing health outcomes for Aboriginal Australians on par with non-Aboriginal Australians.

Racism is unfortunately a factor in Shai’s life, and she is overcoming these obstacles through perseverance, persistence and her certainty in who she is, where she comes from and the mob she belongs to. This determination is a driving force behind her exceptionally high achievements.

Shai’s legacy will and still does inspire other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to reach for the stars in their pursuits.

Congratulations Shai Spark.

International Star - Advocacy

FedAwards 2020 Winner. International Star - Advocacy. Geeta Naralasetty

This award recognises an International student who has helped to make positive change for their peers and shows a devotion for promoting and advocating for the International community on campus.

Geeta has worked tirelessly throughout this year advocating for international students at FedUni. He has actively supported students through creating small group forums for students to put forward their issues and concerns and taking these concerns back to the university to create change. Geeta then ensured any changes made by the University or extra supports put in place were communicated back to the students.

Geeta always makes himself available to answer student questions including where students can go at the university for support services and assistance. He always shows great energy and enthusiasm when advocating for international students assisting to maintain motivation and positivity.

Geeta is also the Academic Board Representative on the Student Senate.

Congratulations Geeta Tirumala Sai Naralasetty

International Star - Support and Engagement

FedAwards 2020 Winner. Internation Star - Support & Engagement. Pranaya Lohani

This award recognises an international student who has made a significant contribution to University life for their peers.

Pranaya has contributed to many International Student Support projects and is continually supporting his fellow students.

He is incredibly generous with his time, volunteering to assist with the running of the Berwick Community Pantry. He has contributed through endless hours of set up, helps run the pantry during opening hours by checking in every student and puts together care packages for other residents that cannot make it to the pantry.

Pranaya was also a Berwick Residential Advisor this year and goes above and beyond the call of duty to support other residents. He recognised the need for ongoing residential support through constant interactions and welfare checks while the students adapted to the unexpected challenges of social distancing and online learning. Pranaya makes himself available to all resident's day or night for a chat, for reassurance and guidance and he leads by example by displaying exemplary conduct and adherence to the conduct expectations on campus. This form of leadership has proven effective in achieving positive outcomes and consistency and in enhancing his relationships with the residents.

Other activities include serving and delivery of free lunches, birthday cards and cakes; assembling and distributing student care packs; participating in and promoting all virtual events; ensuring resident sundries are in supply- tea, coffee, masks, sanitiser etc.

Pranaya's actions clearly indicate his passion for his fellow students.

Congratulations Pranaya Lohani