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Alumni notes and news

Celebrating your successes and keeping you up to date with what alumni from across the decades are up to now.



Nicholas Bennett (BA Psychology 1967) was awarded Fellowship of the Association of Business Psychologists in recognition of attainment against the ABP Business Psychology Framework.

Professor Sat Somers (MB ChB Medicine 1968) was the recipient of the 2020 Fellow of the Canadian Association of Radiologists award for their contributions to radiology and leadership among their peers.



Ann Cairns

Ann Cairns

Ann Cairns (BSc Mathematics 1978, Hon LittD 2018) was appointed lead non-executive board member at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Dame Hilary Mantel (BJur Law 1973, Hon LittD 2005) was nominated for the Booker Prize for a third time, for the third book in their Thomas Cromwell trilogy – having won the Booker Prize for both previous entries in the series.

Emeritus Professor Tom Wilson (PhD Information Studies 1975) was awarded the 2020 Jason Farradane Award by the UK e-information Group for their outstanding contribution to the library and information profession, largely based in Sheffield’s Information School.



Simon Allford (BA Architectural Studies 1983, Dip Architecture 1984) has been elected as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President for 2021-23.

Peter Baker (BSc Chemistry 1984) was appointed as the new Chief Inspector of Buildings by the UK Government to establish and lead the new Building Safety Regulator.

Emeritus Professor Tony Crook, CBE (PhD Town and Regional Planning 1989, Hon LittD 2013) won the Sir Peter Hall Award for Research Excellence at the 2020 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards.



Dr Heidi Christensen (Visiting Erasmus student 1996) won the FDM everywoman in Technology Academic Award for their outstanding contribution to technology and science.

Dr Hugh Ellis (BA Urban Studies and Planning 1995, PhD Town and Regional Planning 2001) was elected to a Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Sashidhar Jagdishan (MA Economics of Money, Banking and Finance 1992) was appointed the next MD and CEO of HDFC Bank in India.

Sashidhar Jagdishan

Sashidhar Jagdishan

Kathryn Piere

Kathryn Pierce (Photo: Jo Tennant)

Kathryn Pierce (BA French and Spanish 1995) received the John Johnston Community Champion award at the Proud Scotland Awards in October 2020.

Professor Mark Wilkinson (MB ChB Clinical Medicine 1991, PhD Clinical Science 2002) received a prestigious 2021 Fellowship Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society of the United States.

Professor Zi-Qiang Zhu (PhD Electronic and Electrical Engineering 1991) was awarded the 2021 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Nikola Tesla Award in recognition of their work to develop more energy- efficient electrical machines and drives.


Richard Ainslie (BA Biblical Studies 2002) was made a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and was awarded Chartered Teacher Status, one of the first 200 individuals to receive such a Royal Charter.

Ali Mohammed Almadawi Alreme

Ali Mohammed Almadawi Alreme

Ali Mohammed Almadawi Alremeithi (MA International Political Economics 2005) was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Central Bank of the UAE.

Jahanzeb Awan (LLB Law 2004) was appointed Australia’s new honorary consul in Karachi.

Dr Imran Aziz (MB ChB Medicine 2004, MD Clinical Medicine 2016) was awarded a United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Rising Stars 2021 Award, in recognition of their research into irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill (BSc Psychology 2007, Hon LittD 2010) was named the greatest ever British sportswoman by the Sports Journalists’ Association.

Dr Phil Harper (MEng Mechanical Engineering 2001, PhD Mechanical Engineering 2008) head of University spin-out company Tribosonics, secured over £1 million funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund to expand the local technology business.

Dr Matt Johnson (BSc Biochemistry 2003, PhD Molecular Biology and Biotechnology 2007) has been awarded the 2020 Wain Medal in Biochemistry – the prestigious prize is awarded annually to an outstanding biochemist under the age of 40.


Dr Mabruka Alfaidi (PhD Medicine 2016) won the Early Career Award from the British Atherosclerosis Society for their abstract at the BAS annual meeting.

Hannah Beard (BSc Landscape Architecture 2015, MLA Landscape Architecture 2018) won the Leeds Civic Trust’s Liveable City competition for their concept masterplan to transform Leeds’ Eastside.

Josh Burrell (BA Journalism Studies 2012) was named in PR Week’s 30 Under 30 for 2020.

Thomas Cunningham (MArch Architecture: Collaborative Practice 2019) and Tobias Mackrill (BA Architecture 2015, MArch Architecture: Collaborative Practice 2019) were part of the winning team for TeamBuild UK 2020, a competition to test collaboration and leadership skills within the construction industry.

Ross Davidson (BA English and Music 2016, MA Composition 2017) shared the Best Sci-Fi film prize at the Paris Short Film Festival for Deus Otiosus, for which they composed the soundtrack. Their composition was also nominated for the Dublin Short Film and Music Festival.

Dr Saima Eman (PhD Psychology 2018) was selected as a Finalist for the British Council Study UK Alumni Awards in the Professional Achievement category for Pakistan.

Rosie Hammonds (BSc Geography 2017, MA Landscape Architecture 2019) won the Best Dissertation prize at the Landscape Institute Awards.

Dr Tom James (BA German and Music 2002, PhD Music 2007) was shortlisted for Best Music Creator at the Making Music Awards 2020.

Karen Jelenje

Karen Jelenje

Karen Jelenje (BA Architecture 2012, MA Cities and Global Development 2018) was awarded a Young Innovator Award by Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust for their organisation Activate the City!, which repurposes underused spaces for community projects.

Adam Moore (BA Geography 2015) was part of the team at Concilium Search who received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade.

George Morton (BMus Music 2011, MMus Music 2013) won the Best Arranger for Leisure-time Music Group prize at the Making Music Awards 2020.

Lauren Nicholson

Lauren Nicholson

Alumni volunteer of the year

Lauren Nicholson (BA Economics 2012) has generously given her time to support students in a variety of employability activities at the University of Sheffield, including giving career talks and joining judging panels.

Of particular note during this challenging year was the Launchpad internship scheme, which gave 30 students an insight into the world of start-ups. Each student experienced career opportunities in the tech industry, and left with a portfolio, a reference, and professional experience to draw on in interviews. This project was only possible thanks to Lauren, making her a very worthy winner.


Dr Jost Migenda (PhD Physics 2020) was named winner of the Institute of Physics’ Astroparticle Physics Thesis Prize for their PhD thesis on ‘Supernova Model Discrimination with Hyper-Kamiokande’.

George Taplin (BSc Ecology & Conservation Biology 2020) set a new record of swimming the lengths of 13 Lake District lakes in three days, while raising funds for water charity Just a Drop.

Selina Treuherz (BA Geography 2020) was awarded the RGS Food Geographies Research Group annual dissertation prize for their outstanding work on gendered, hegemonic practices in elite restaurants.

Fred Yates

Fred Yates

Fred Yates (MEng Mechanical Engineering 2020) was awarded a Young Innovator Award by Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust for their business No Foot Print, which is developing small-scale renewable energy solutions to incorporate into clothing to charge mobile phones.

Harriet Yates (BA Linguistics and Philosophy 2020) won a Global Undergraduate Award, Sheffield’s first ever global winner, for their philosophy essay.

Anna Gordon

Dr Anna Gordon

Chancellor’s Medal winner

Dr Anna Gordon (MB ChB Medicine 2020) was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal in recognition of their outstanding dedication, courage and bravery in the fight against the pandemic. Anna spent her first months as a doctor working with Afghan, Syrian and Congolese refugees on the Greek island of Samos and conducted the first and only quantitative survey of migrants’ living conditions.

Alongside her studies she also investigated the impact of trauma on homeless women’s experiences of perinatal care, volunteered in a Leeds prison leading restorative justice courses, was involved in regular homeless outreach activities, and delivered training for health professionals on recognition of modern slavery.

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