Alumni news

Sussex alumni all over the world have been active in starting new projects, making an impact at local and national level, achieving new career milestones and gaining recognition. Here is a brief selection of their news.

Community heroes

The following alumni are global winners of the British Council’s 2019 Study UK Alumni Awards, in recognition of the impact they’ve made on their communities, industries and countries.

Réjane Woodroffe (Development Economics 2004)

Social impact award winner, Réjane Woodroffe's work addresses the challenges of rural poverty in South Africa. She is Director and co-founder of Bulungula Incubator whose programmes have reduced child mortality rates, facilitated access to online education and helped develop the local economy.

Mamunur Rahman (IDS 2006)

Entrepreneurial Award winner, Mamunur Rahman is the inventor of a low-cost sanitary towel made from leftover clothing materials. Ella Pad is made by women to address the needs of the four million women in garment factories who lack access to sanitary towels, aiming to reach 35 million women and girls across Bangladesh.

Fabián Martinez (Management and Entrepreneurship 2014)

Founder of PuntajeNacional, Fabián also reached the final stage of the competition. His enterprise is one of the largest educational platforms in Latin America, with more than 40 million views of its free education videos.

Paul Richards (PGCE 2001)

Paul has been included in The Big Issue's Changemakers Top 100. Paul founded Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies, helping people with learning dif culties attend live music events.

Paul Reeve (MOLS 1978)

RSC Fellow Paul Reeve has completed his Arctic Challenge in Finland which included cross-country skiing, dog-sledding and a frozen lake ice-dip at -15°C. He raised over £2,500 for the Dickinson family, whose daughter Caz had suffered a serious head injury.

Mehmet Akalin (Management and Entrepreneurship 2014)

Mehmet Akalin has won the entrepreneurial category for the national Study UK Alumni Awards in Turkey. He has helped 23 Turkish start-ups to obtain funding and grow their companies in global markets.


Sibongile Nkosi (Global business and development 2016)

Sibongile Nkosi has been announced as Chief Executive Officer of Health-e, an award-winning South African health news service.

Lynette Linton (English 2008)

Lynette Linton has been announced as the new Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre in West London.

Ben Lippett (American Studies 2013)

Ben Lippett has been announced as Brighton’s Young Chef of the Year at Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival. The 64 Degrees chef credits Italian cuisine as his strongest influence.

Josephine O'Carroll (Politics and International Relations 2013)

Josephine O'Carroll stood as a Conservative candidate in the UK local elections in May 2019. The RAF veteran’s bid to become Brighton’s first trans councillor was unsuccessful this time.

Ruwan Wijewardene (Politics 1995)

Ruwan Wijewardene has been sworn in as the new Minister of Mass Media in Sri Lanka. He was elected to parliament from Gampaha District.

Dr Mohammad Shtayyeh (Development Studies 1985)

Dr Mohammad Shtayyeh has been elected as Prime Minister of the State of Palestine.

Professor Robert Crabtree (Chemistry 1970)

Professor Robert Crabtree has been elected to the Royal Society, the UK’s national science academy. Professor Crabtree’s work focuses on the design and synthesis of molecular catalysts with unusual structures and properties.

Nic Eadie (Anthropology 2004)

Nic Eadie's Sussex-based Thai food truck has been featured in a Lonely Planet book Around the world in 80 food trucks. Nic also offers cooking classes where he shares the secret to his signature Pad Thai.

New ventures

Darren Tenkorang (Business and Management 2012) and Nana Darko (Mechanical Engineering 2013)

Darren Tenkorang (Business and Management 2012) and his business partner Nana Darko (Mechanical Engineering 2013) have launched Trim-It, a mobile barber shop in London with an app-based booking system.

Jake Thompson (Product Design 2013)

Jake Thompson has designed Flare, an award-winning cycling app that uses cyclist generated data to improve road infrastructure. It has won global recognition, including a road safety award at a competition held in Parliament in November 2018.

Molly Masters (English 2015)

Molly Masters has won the Sussex Innovation Centre’s annual enterprise programme Startup Sussex in 2018 with her subscription box service Books That Matter. Her mission is to inspire women and girls through literature.

Julian Bourne (Finance 2013)

Julian Borne has won the Pitch@Palace People’s Choice Award for his technology start-up. Waffle is a personal assistant chatbot aimed at helping users to find restaurant deals in their area.

Adela Mei and Rowland Griffin (both Ecology and Conservation, 1997/1998 respectively)

Adela Mei and Rowland Griffin have set up Indigo Expeditions offering conservation and nature tours in Guatemala.


Professor Dame Georgina Mace (Biology 1975)

Professor Dame Georgina Mace has become one of two ecologists to have won the Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology category. She has developed vital tools for facilitating policies to combat species loss.

Elizabeth Karlsen (English 1980)

Elizabeth Karlsen has received the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award for her productions including Carol and Colette. Alongside her partner Stephen Woolley, Elizabeth co-founded Number 9 Films.

Professor Teresa Lago (Astronomy 1974)

Professor Teresa Lago has won the 2018 Ciência Viva Montepio Grand Prize for her contribution to promoting science. The astronomer is the founder of the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto.

Dr Joy Mench (Biology 1977)

Dr Joy Mench has received American Humane’s Humane Hero Award for helping improve the lives of America’s farm animals. Her work focuses on poultry welfare.

Mura Masa (Philosophy and English 2014)

Mura Masa, otherwise known as Alex Crossan, has won Best Remix at the 61st annual Grammy Awards. He is the first artist to be nominated as a musician and creative director for the same album.

Professor Sir John Ball (Mathematics 1972)

Professor Sir John Ball has been awarded the 2018 King Faisal International Prize for Science. Professor Ball has published over 70 articles, centring around nonlinear partial differential equations, the calculus of variations and dynamical systems.

Professor Jane Oakhill (Psychology 1978)

Professor Jane Oakhill has received the 2019 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Text and Discourse, in recognition of her work on reading comprehension.

UK Honours

Dr Helen Pankhurst (AFRAS 1983)

Dr Helen Pankhurst has been awarded a CBE for her services to Gender Equality. The great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst is CARE International’s campaign ambassador alongside practising women’s rights activism.

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP (AFRAS 1966)

Geoffrey Van Orden has been awarded a CBE for political service. Brigadier van Orden is a Member of the European Parliament and a former British Army Officer.

Jim Carter (English 1967)

Jim Carter has been awarded an OBE for services to drama. The actor is best known for playing butler Charles Carson in the period drama Downton Abbey.

Dr Neil Churchill (Art History 2009)

Dr Neil Churchill, NHS England Director for Experience, Participation and Equalities, has been awarded an OBE for services to the voluntary sector and carers.

Dr Lucy Worsley (Art History 1997)

Dr Lucy Worsley has been awarded an OBE for her services to history and heritage. Chief Curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy also won a BAFTA in May 2019 for her BBC TV documentary on the suffragettes.

Dr Penny Tassoni (Creative Writing 2007)

Dr Penny Tassoni has been appointed an MBE for services to early years education. She is the Honorary President of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years.

Dr Simon Edwards (Education 2004)

Dr Simon Edwards has been awarded an MBE for services to work and the education of young people. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Youth Studies at the University of Portsmouth.

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