2018 Prizes and Awards

Awards are given to students for the following categories:

School of Nursing and Midwifery Donor Prizes

The Western Sydney University Awards program acknowledges our most-dedicated and high-achieving students. Through the donations the School has received, we are able to further encourage and inspire these students to continue to strive for excellence. We are grateful for the generous support of our prize donors, who share the School's commitment in recognising our students' excellence in learning.


Alison M Johnston Award for Excellence in Nursing or Health

Donor:  Alison M Johnston

Alison M Johnston began this prize in 1997 in order to recognise and reward students who produced an outstanding thesis in the field or nursing or heath studies. For more than 10 years Alison's generous donation has encouraged students to conduct pioneering industry research.

Awarded to the most outstanding higher degree research thesis in Nursing or Health Studies

  • Sara Karacsony

Associate Professor Cecily Hengstberger-Sims Memorial Prize

Donor: Associate Professor Cecily Hengstberger-Sims Memorial

Associate Professor Cecily Hengstberger-Sims had a thirty year association  with the University and Campbelltown Campus which began in 1987 when she joined the Macarthur Institute of Higher Education. She held many leadership roles during that time, the most recent as the Deputy Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery. She was a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing Australia and the College of Nursing, and foundation member of the Western Sydney University Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. Throughout her career, Cecily's research and teaching focus was on curriculum development, implementation and evaluation in nursing, transition to graduate practice, workforce issues and education related to preparation for practice. She made outstanding contributions to the nursing programs, guiding and nurturing the next generation of students and nurse academics. Her work directly contributed to the success of the school and students as evidenced by the QS top 50 world ranking and the standing of our nursing students in industry. 

Cecily was much loved and respected by students and colleagues alike and will be missed by her many friends at Western Sydney University.

Awarded to a second year Campbelltown undergraduate nursing student for academic excellence

  • Jackelyn Harris

Beryl Jones Memorial Award

Donor:  Beryl Jones Memorial

This prize is dedicated to the lasting memory of Beryl Jones, a fun, caring and feisty person much loved by her family. The Beryl Jones Memorial Prize is offered by her daughter, Gayle Hannan, the Bequest Manager at Western Sydney University, to the student with the highest mark in the Bachelor of Nursing  (Honours). This prize also recognises the professional nursing care provided by nurses who work together to provide quality, compassionate and innovative care.

The Beryl Jones Memorial Award is for a student with the highest mark in the Bachelor of Nursing Honors Program

  • Not awarded

Evelyn Cullen Nursing Award

Donor:  Evelyn Cullen Memorial supported by Jill Kenard

This prize was established in memory of Evelyn Cullen. Evelyn was a kind, generous and compassionate person who had a love for her profession, nursing. Evelyn enrolled at Western Sydney University to study nursing in 1985. It was through the University and her personal determination that Evelyn fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse Evelyn was in the first class of student nurses to graduate from the University. Evelyn managed to complete her studies whilst raising three children on her own without any family support as her father had died and her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when she was in her 50s. 

Evelyn was employed at Bankstown Hospital for many years in various roles including a CRN on a surgical ward, a community nurse, nursing unit manager and a surgical liaison nurse. Evelyn was liked and respected by her patients and her colleagues. Evelyn was an extremely dedicated nurse and fiercely loyal to her family, her friends, her patients, her colleagues and her country. Evelyn was truly an exceptional personal. Unfortunately, she had a heart attack at home and she died at Bankstown Hospital on 13 August 2003.

This prize was established in memory of an outstanding human being that made a significant contribution to the nursing profession. 

Awarded annually to the most outstanding first-year student in nursing

  • Renee McNamara

Karitane Award for Master of Child and Family Health (Karitane)

Donor:  Karitane

Karitane is an organisation that provides parenting services and programs for families and communities with a focus on prevention, early intervention and empowerment, as well as education, training and research. Karitane have a long-standing relationship with Western Sydney University to provide postgraduate entry level training to Registered Nurses and Midwives looking for a career in Child and Family Health. Karitane works in partnership with the University to develop and deliver the Master in Child and Family Health, providing industry expertise and clinical knowledge for this course.

Awarded to the most outstanding student in Master of Child and Family Health (Karitane)

  • Kirsty McDonell

Louie Piper Memorial Prize for Midwifery

Donor:  Ray and Aileen Villarica

The Louie Piper Memorial Prize for Midwifery was established by Ray and Aileen Villarica in loving memory of two children they lost before birth, and to honour the great help and care received from midwife, Wendy Pickup, at the loss of baby Piper in May 2017. Louie and Piper are survived by five siblings in Jed, Kasey, Murray, Noah and Oran who themselves were the beneficiaries of the wonderful care of midwives at Liverpool and Auburn hospitals at birth. Thankfully, the five siblings to their best to provide more than enough love (and anxiety) to Ray and Aileen on behalf of Louie and Piper. Ray and Aileen congratulate the recipient of the Louie Piper Memorial Prize for Midwifery and acknowledge their great potential to touch many lives with their expertise and care.

Awarded to the most outstanding graduating student in the Bachelor of Midwifery degree

  • Susan Hillier

Rose and Jack Prize for Clinical Excellence

Donor:  Professor Les Bokey

Professor Les Bokey is Professor of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Western Sydney University and the Foundation Professor of Surgery. He is the Clinical Dean at the Liverpool Clinical School and Director of Surgery at the Liverpool Hospital. He is also the Clinical Director of Gastroenterlogy/Liver, Upper GI, Colorectal, Urology, Head and Neck, Opthalmology and ENT Services for the Sydney South West Local Health District. Professor Bokey's family migrated to Australia in the 1960s and he and his sisters were afforded the gift of a tertiary education in their adopted country. His parents valued education and training above all and they always hoped they could add vale to their adopted country. This donation is in memory of Professor Bokey's parents Rose and Jack. 

Awarded to a second year Nursing student (following Medical/Surgical placement) of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, who has demonstrated clinical excellence as well as compassion

  • Benita Ribaux-Dobel

School of Nursing and Midwifery Prize for Best Clinical Performance by an International Student

Donor:  School of Nursing and Midwifery

This prize is proudly supported by Academic and Professional staff within the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University. Western is ranked number one for Nursing in Australia, and in the world's Top 100. Our students emerge with a solid grasp of theory and have access to world's-best clinical simulation technology. Our nursing and midwifery campuses are close to some of Western Sydney's biggest hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Awarded to an international student for the best clinical performance during the second year of a Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing (Graduate Entry) for Advanced degree program

  • Elizabeth John

SMSA Award in Nursing

Donor:  Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts (SMSA)

In 1833, Henry Carmichael founded the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts as an educational and recreational organisation for working people at the request of artisans and tradesmen, some of whom had studied with him aboard the Stirling Castle on their voyage to Sydney. Carmichael drew on the burgeoning Mechanics Institutes and Schools or Arts movement, and his efforts resulted int he Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts being formed on 22nd March 1833 at a public meeting attended by around 200 people.  The Sydney Mechanics' school of Arts hosts a lending library, presents public lectures and holds classes in subjects as diverse as art, architecture, mathematics, anatomy and simple surgery.

Awarded to the most outstanding graduating student in the  Bachelor of Nursing degree

  • Emma Barnett

The Vicent Egan 2/5 Australian General Hospital Association Award

Donor:  2/5 Australian General Hospital Award in Nursing

The 2/5 Australian General Hospital was the fifth hospital raised by the Australian Army in the Second World War (1939-1945). It was formed in May-June 1940 to be a completely self-contained, fully-equipped 1,200 bed hospital. It had surgeons, physicians, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists and support staff that were necessary for running such a large hospital. The 2/5 Australian General Hospital was pivotal in helping the sick and injured in countries such as Greece, Ethiopia, Palestine, Australia, New Guinea as well as casualties from other countries in Europe and the Middle East. In 1943 the Australian Army Medical Women's Service (AAMWS) sent reinforcements to replace some of the male staff so they could be sent to the front-line. Over the six years of the Second World War, 1,300 men and women served in the 2/5 Australian General Hospital, including 173 officers, 75 doctors, 312 nurses, 185 members of the AAMWS and 630 other ranks. Of these, 169 were taken as Prisoners of War when the unit was captured by the German forces in Greece on 27 April 1941. In excess of 15,000 patients were treated. After the war, members formed the 2/5 Australian General Hospital Association with the aim of keeping up old friendships and assisting other people. The association has funded this prize, with the intent of supporting the net generation of health professionals who care for those in desperate need.

Awarded to the highest performing final year student in the Bachelor of Nursing

  • Emma Barnett

UniBank Prizes for Nursing and Midwifery

Donor:  Unibank

For over 50 years, UniBank has been providing a great range of banking products and services for the staff, students and graduates of Australian universities and their families, and we remain committed to delivering exceptional lifetime banking experiences for our members. From our beginnings in 1964 until today, we continue to exist for the mutual benefit of our members, which means everything we do is to ensure our members have a brighter future.

At UniBank we believe in belonging, discovery, intrepidness and prudence – and these values are all designed to ensure we meet the needs and improve the financial wellbeing of our members. We are focused on supporting university communities across Australia through collaboration and partnership with key stakeholders within the sector. Doing business ethically and sustainably are core values that drive our model of mutual banking, and we make sure we are accountable and benchmark ourselves against world leaders in sustainability. We have been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2016, 2017 and again in 2018 (1 of only 4 banks named globally in 2018 and the only Australian company).

UniBank is a division of Teachers Mutual Bank Limited ABN 30 087 650 459 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238981.

UniBank Prize for First Year Nursing - Liverpool Campus

  • Chioma Ezeokonkwo

UniBank Prize for the Graduate Diploma in Midwifery

  • Miriam Cook