2023 Award Winners

Matilda Grant

A.B. Paterson College

Excellence In Protecting our Environment

Managing her school’s Sustainability Club, Matilda inspires students while raising awareness about environmental issues. As an EcoMarine Ambassador, Matilda represented Australia at the Global Link competition where her team spoke about the devastating impact of shark nets on wildlife, taking out first place for their ongoing conservation efforts. Matilda was also recognised at the Asian Pacific Soroptimist Art Competition, and was awarded first place with an animated video dedicated to protecting our oceans.

Cecilia Picaut

Australia Pacific College

Excellence In Promoting Sport and Wellness

Cecilia’s Community Wellness Program united local residents through group exercise, nutrition workshops, and mental health awareness seminars with participants reporting notable weight loss, increased vitality, and a heightened sense of belonging. Cecilia also instigated a successful online sports education platform and recently expanded local fitness options through the introduction of her Aquabike program, providing a dynamic and invigorating workout experience for amplified engagement, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and healthier community.

Mekhala Egodawele

Southern Cross University

Excellence In Peer to Peer Support

Mekhala has worked with many organisations empowering students in the community through academic support, mental health, publications, and mentorship. As a volunteer for the Transforming Transport Makers project, Mekhala guided high school students with their social enterprise ideas. Mekhala has been a global advocate for international education on the Gold Coast and contributed to Southern Cross University’s teaching and curricula development while assisting students across the Gold Coast, Papua New Guinea and China.

Sehar Ijaz

New York Film Academy Australia

Excellence In Fostering Creative Arts

In Pakistan, Sehar was elected President of the Kinnaird Literacy Society, where she initiated a campaign addressing educational disparities in Baluchistan by collecting and donating over 7,000 books to girls’ schools, colleges, and libraries, advocating for education in a region where access is limited, especially for women. Now studying with the New York Film Academy on the Gold Coast, Sehar is committed to academic excellence while supporting her fellow students in their filmmaking journeys.

Rudolf Orbacedo

Griffith University

Excellence In Championing Diversity

As a Pride in Law Advocacy Officer and LGBTQ+ Ambassador, Rudolf has elevated the academic, professional, and social experiences of law students, while also advocating for LGBTQ+ rights on Radio Metro and podcasting on the student support platform Vygo. Rudolf’s achievements reflect a commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in both academic and community settings, cultivating an environment where everyone feels valued while enriching our community through diversity and inclusion.

Iris Pham

Bond University

Excellence In Enhancing our Community

Iris is a firm advocate of community engagement for mental wellbeing. She is the founder of A Waiting Cove, a free weekly women’s support group, while also working at the After-Hours Safe Space in Southport. Iris is a member of Global Shapers, a network of young people driving dialogue, action and change. Her volunteering credits include the Youth Advisory Council Committee in Headspace, Drug ARM, Smart Recovery, Red Cross, and the Wesley Mission.

Award Categories

Nominations are assessed by a panel comprising of one Study Gold Coast staff member, one industry representative and an alumni Mayor’s Student Ambassador.

Award winners in each category will receive $1,000, along with a personalised trophy and a certificate of appreciation. Award winners will automatically become part of the Gold Coast Student Alumni Network.

Congratulations to all the finalists of the 2023 Gold Coast Student Excellence Awards.



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