Meet just a few of UTS’s incredible alumni award-winning young graduates

26 February 2018

Jake Duczynski posing in his studio

Photo: Jake Duczynski, UTS Young Alumni Award 2017 recipient

With nominations open for the 2018 UTS Alumni Awards, we’re inspired to revisit some of last year’s recipients. Meet five amazing young graduates armed with vision, tenacity and their UTS degrees who went into the world and changed it for the better.

Jake Duczynski
Bachelor of Design in Animation (Hons) (2016)
Designer, Animator and Director
UTS Young Alumni Award 2017

Animator and designer Jake Duczynski is an early career graduate who has already won a Walkley award for SBS Indigenous language app and passion project My Grandmother’s Lingo. A storytelling warrior for the preservation of Indigenous culture, Jake also designed and animated displays for Taronga Zoo for Sydney’s Vivid Festival, and his most recent work, Our Remembering Mabo, is a depiction of the story of Eddie Mabo and the case for Native Title which was projected on the roof of the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour in January 2018.

Rob Castaneda
Bachelor of Science in Computing Science (2001)
Founder and CEO, ServiceRocket
UTS Chancellor's Award for Excellence
UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2017 - Faculty of Engineering & IT

Rob Castaneda is the boy from Toongabbie who at 21 scratched together a few hundred dollars to launch a tech start-up just before graduation. That tiny start-up is now a multi-million dollar company based in Silicon Valley known the world over as ServiceRocket, which in 2016 partnered with Atlassian and NASA to provide software expertise for its mission to Mars. Rob is also an ethical entrepreneurship mentor, giving career guidance to UTS students and graduates, while also spearheading a global entrepreneur program championed by President Barack Obama.

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Caro Meldrum-Hanna
Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) and Bachelor of Laws (2007)
Journalist, ABC TV’s Four Corners
UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2017 - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

ABC journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna’s back catalogue of stories include some of Australia’s most notorious in recent history, including the exposés of the illegal practice of live baiting in greyhound racing, the sports supplement saga in Australian football, and the circumstances surrounding the brutal death of young mother Lynette Daley on NSW’s Ten Mile Beach. Known for telling truth to power and taking names, it was also Caro’s report of the torture, abuse and mistreatment of children inside the Northern Territory’s juvenile detention centres which sparked a Royal Commission within hours of broadcast.

Dr Louise van der Weyden
Bachelor of Applied Science in Biomedical Science (First Class Honours and University Medal) (1997)
Senior Staff Scientist, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK
UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2017 - Faculty of Science

Dr Louise van der Weyden is a Senior Staff Scientist for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge and is making massive inroads in the fight against childhood leukaemia, pancreatic cancer and melanoma. While she prefers to hide in the lab focussing on research and mentoring the next generation of brilliant geek detectives, Louise is globally recognised for discovering a vital pathway which regulates immune control of metastasis – the number one cause of death for cancer patients.

Celebrate UTS graduates who are changing the world

Mark Isaacs
Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Writing and Cultural Studies) and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (2012)
Writer and Community Worker
UTS Community Alumni Award 2017

Writer and activist Mark Isaacs was among the first to blow the whistle on the conditions at the Nauru Regional Processing Facility in his book, The Undesirables: Inside Nauru. The book was his eyewitness account of the brutality, climate of fear and suicidal despair that the detainees experienced every day. Mark subsequently authored Nauru Burning: An Uprising and its Aftermath, which detailed the tensions within the centre that lead to its destruction in the riot and fire of 2013. He also works with Australia’s Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, travelling to Afghanistan and document the plight of refugees returned there.

These are just some of the incredible UTS graduates who are making a significant impact in the world and received alumni awards. You can meet more of our past award recipients here:

Do you know another UTS graduate who deserves to be recognised? Nominate them now for the 2018 Alumni Awards! Make sure to nominate them before midnight on Friday 6 April.

Nominate now