2016 Award winners

Student Volunteer of the Year

Jessy Pelham (left) with a mentee at Graduations Why volunteer

Jessy Pelham

Since July 2015, Jessy (pictured left) has been volunteering with the Talking with Aussies program, which matches locals with international students to assist them with their English while learning about Australian culture. Jessy’s commitment to his volunteering is exemplary; Jessy has even taken his student to his home town in the Riverland to provide an Aussie country experience.

His enthusiasm, along with fresh ideas for the program, has seen him involved in the recruitment of new volunteers, which has resulted in a higher number of domestic students volunteering. As a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate, Jessy is very passionate about helping international students, which led him to join the International Student Centre (ISC) Peer Mentor program in February 2016.

Volunteer of the Year

Geoff Nowak, Volunteer of the Year 2016

Geoff Nowak

Geoff has performed the role of Volunteer Museum Manager for the Roseworthy Agricultural Museum since 2007. He dedicates every Wednesday throughout the year and one Sunday a month to supervise the opening of the museum to the public, and he often attends the museum at other times to maintain the collections, re-display and work on the digital records.

Geoff has enriched the volunteer program by bringing an exceptional approach to the collections and opened up more of the University’s treasures to the public and prospective students. His knowledge, dedication and contribution have allowed the University to manage, maintain and re-invigorate the Roseworthy Agricultural Museum, which has seen an increase in visitors and interest. His personal contribution and pride in the museum are game-changers for its success.

2016 Student Volunteer Award nominees

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  • Laura Wilkinson, Adelaide Compass Program

    Laura has been volunteering as a MultiLit and Event Volunteer with the Adelaide Compass program since March 2014 while completing her PhD in Plant Genetics. Working with low socio-economic schools, Laura engages primary students once a week in a range of learning activities and literacy programs. She works one-to-one with students who are struggling to learn to read, and provides intensive reading support to improve students' literacy, confidence and resilience. 

    By assisting students to reach the same reading level as their peers, there is no doubt that Laura has changed the lives of the children she has worked with. Laura’s passion for science and learning shine through in her conversations with students, inspiring them to embrace learning in a similar way, and making her a wonderful role model.

  • Kahlia Allen, Health and Medical Sciences Senior Peer Mentor

    Kahlia has been with the program since it commenced in February 2015. She has guided and mentored new students through their first 5 weeks of University by providing information on support services, and helping students understand the expectations and requirements of life as a university student to help them establish a sense of belonging. 

    The program is now in its second year and Kahlia has been involved in recruiting and interviewing new volunteers; she is always open to sharing her experiences, especially with prospective students. Kahlia’s professional and kind manner helps to improve students' confidence and ability to proceed with their study.

  • Yao (Sharon) Xue, Confucius Institute Volunteer

    Yao has many volunteering roles within the Confucius Institute including event assistant, photographer, Chinese tutor and cultural workshop volunteer. Since June 2015, Yao has assisted at many events to raise awareness of the Confucius Institute. Her photography skills and ability to promote the institute's work on social media, including YouTube videos, has resulted in increased interest in Chinese culture within the community.

  • Anmol Saini, Health and Medical Sciences Senior Peer Mentor

    Anmol has been involved in the Health and Medical Sciences Senior Peer Mentor program since it commenced in 2015. He provides guidance and support to new students each week while being a leader and role model to new peer mentors. He also assists Disability Services as a participation assistant, helping students with laboratory work. 

    As an international student, he has a focus on ensuring other international students establish a sense of belonging within the University and the city. Anmol goes above and beyond his duties by providing assistance with enrolment sessions and speaking with future students about his University experiences.

2016 Volunteer Award nominees

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  • Merilyn (Merry) Wickes, Hughes Bequest Program

    Merry’s contribution to the program and the Hughes Bequest Committee over the past eight years has been outstanding. Her knowledge of the University and ability to engage with alumni to promote the program has seen a significant increase of awareness which has resulted in providing scholarships to disadvantaged students. She has attended nearly 72 Friends and Benefactors events since 2008. As a passionate supporter of the University, Merry has also been involved in programs such as Talking with Aussies, Friends of the Barr Smith Library and Experience Adelaide.

  • Dr John Reed, Dental Outreach Program

    John was the first volunteer dentist to start in 2011 when the Dental Outreach Program commenced. He continues to support our dental students through his advice and wisdom that only experience can supply. His expertise has enabled these students to provide dental care for the homeless and vulnerable who are often lacking access to timely dental care. John’s reliability provides a sense of stability to the program and a familiar reassuring face for our patients. John also volunteers for Lifeline on a weekly basis and drives a community bus for Unley City Council.

  • Clare Murphy, University Collections

    Clare has been volunteering with the University Collections every Tuesday consistently for seven years. She has also been a regular History & Heritage Tour Guide since July 2012. She develops and manages an internal office ‘library’ of resources and correlates records, which she has achieved and grown with minimal supervision. Clare has contributed to improving access to office and tour resources for use by staff, volunteers and interns. As a retired teacher and librarian, Clare’s knowledge and professional opinion is often sought and much appreciated.

  • Peter McMillan, Talking With Aussies

    Peter has been a committed and enthusiastic volunteer for Talking with Aussies since it commenced 21 years ago. He has worked with numerous international students over this period, meeting with them on a regular basis. Peter encourages the students he meets to engage with the University and local community. He has also been most diligent in attending the weekly group conversation session where students interact in small groups. 

    To maintain that level of commitment over all those years, with unwavering good-nature, enthusiasm and patience is indeed a remarkable achievement.

  • Kevin Holohan, Adelaide University Sports (AU Soccer Club)

    Kevin joined the AU Soccer Club in 2001. Within a year he signed up as a volunteer after seeing the importance of orientation week contact on new student intake. Kevin restarted the involvement of AU Soccer in the University Games after it had lapsed in the early 90s. He joined the AU Sports Board in 2003 and was instrumental in the redevelopment of the Graduates Oval. Since 2007 Kevin has also been involved in women’s soccer from seniors to juniors.

  • Brian Ward, University Collections

    Brian has been a consistent and dedicated volunteer every Tuesday since the group’s inception in August 2008. Not only has Brian been dedicated to University Collections resource tasks and projects, but he has also been a History & Heritage Tour Guide since June 2012. Because of his exceptional knowledge of history Brian is often assigned to host VIP tours for professional international delegates. His reliability and availability for tour guiding has been a pillar of strength for our program. As an alumnus, Brian's enthusiasm for the University and its history has been contagious with visitors, staff and students.

  • Joylene (Joy) Middleton, Waite Historic Precinct, Urrbrae House

    Joy’s volunteering for the University has spanned 11 years and five of the current six volunteer groups at Urrbrae House. As a tour guide, Joy leads visitors through the house museum, providing institutional, architectural and social history to the public. As a flower arranger, Joy is often found in Urrbrae House gardens picking flowers for display. 

    Joy is an integral part of the Urrbrae House Schools’ program. Dressed as Agnes the laundry maid, she provides school children with insight into what it was like to be part of Mr & Mrs Waite home. Joy is also the current President of the Friends of Urrbrae House committee, and oversees planning for public concerts and other activities.