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A celebration of success at the School of Business and Law Prize Night

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

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The School of Business and Law Student Prize Ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate the School's top achieving students. This year, 62 winners were recognised for their achievements in 2018 including Joanne May, who was the recipient of the School of Business and Law Medal.

The Awards were sponsored by 40 local and national companies including UniSuper, UniBank, Yappy Group, The Tourism Council, Seven West Media, Rowe Group, Leach Legal and Cullen Macleod lawyers.

The Ceremony was attended by the Executive Dean of the School of Business and Law, Professor Maryam Omari, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Education, Professor Angela Hill, as well as over 180 attendees including academic staff, sponsors, prize winners and their families.

This year's prize ceremony featured an address by winner of the Unibank Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award, Hilary Thomas. Hilary who is a mature-age student, spoke about the challenges she faced coming back to study and recognised her peers and academic staff who contributed to her success.

Read an extract of Hilary's speech below.


I left school at the age of fifteen and always regretted not going to university.  Two years ago, I was given the opportunity to return to education and enrolled in a Masters of Marketing and Innovation at Edith Cowan University.  Little did I know what I was letting myself in for - two years of self-doubt, spend the best part of a year in tears, exhausted, confused and totally out of my comfort zone - but I loved every minute and miss it terribly! I would not be standing here however without the help and support of my guests whom I would like to acknowledge.

On day three of my university journey I came across two of the most amazing people, Faisal Ishaq and Benedicta Santoso, or as I know them, Sam and Bene.  As experienced ECU students they were taking part in a Peer to Peer mentor program, offering a service to motivate and encourage new students, and pass on the tricks to thrive in the academic environment although in my case simply survive!  Little did Sam and Bene know that they would be seeing me almost every day for the next 18 months. Sam, Bene - I would not have got past week three without your patience, help and advice - I owe my success to you.

In semester one I also took advantage of the Academic Skills Centre program offered by Edith Cowan University where I met Jo Ashton.  Jo was a Senior Learning Adviser who helped me, amongst many things, to write academically, research and reference.  I will never forget Jo saying to me in week three “Hilary, you need to pull yourself together or you are not going to make it through semester one let alone two years”.  I took your advice Jo – thank you.

I invited Dr Helen Cripps for two reasons.  Firstly, to represent all my lecturers, although I am pleased to see Associate Professor Marie Ryan and Dr Greg Willson are here. Mature age students present different challenges for a lecturer and I think I was definitely a challenging student! My lecturers were dedicated and committed to all students being the best that they could be and I very much appreciate their efforts as I know that the classroom time is only a small part of their responsibilities. I would like to thank them all.

Secondly, Dr Cripps’ Unit, Current issues in Marketing was a complete mystery.  Helen went above and beyond, spending a lot of her own time explaining digital technology to me – it was a very steep learning curve but with Helens passion, encouragement and support I was able to reach my full potential.  Thank you, Helen.

Although I am the recipient of the Unibank Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity  Award it should also have another name on it.  As a member of the Group Assignment, Debbie Wickens kept me sane and I made her laugh.  Our friendship has continued and we are now discussing joint business ventures. Thank you, Debbie.

Magnificent – is my favourite word and ‘magnificent’ totally sums up my experience at Edith Cowan University. My heartfelt thanks to everyone here who has contributed in some way to my academic journey.

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