Congratulations to Chandini THIRUMALAI (India) from The University of Western Australia for receiving 2021 WA International Tertiary Student of the Year Award.

Stephanie Juszkiewicz, Senior VP Aviation Business Development, Perth Airport presented the WA International Tertiary Student of the Year Award to Chandini THIRUMALAI from The University of Western Australia.

The CISWA WA International Tertiary Student of the Year Award is about recognising the significant contribution that international students make to the Western Australian community.

In selecting the recipient of this award, the student’s achievements and contributions during their time as an international student in Australia were taken into consideration. Additional weight was given to any activities which promote interaction with Australian students and with the local community.

2021 WINNER: Chandini THIRUMALAI, Bachelor of Commerce, The University of Western Australia

Chandini is a multilingual, internationally-minded student from India. She is currently studying in the Bachelor of Commerce degree at The University of Western Australia. She was one of the recipients of the Global Excellence Scholarship.

As a student at the University of Western Australia, Chandini has been involved in various extra-curricular activities. She’s one of the coordinators of a volunteering program called Micro-volunteering UWA. Micro volunteering is a program where students get together to help not for profit organisations and community focused initiatives. She has organised more than 30 events with various not for profit organisations including but not limited to WA AIDS Council, Western Australia Forest Alliance and many more. Chandini was instrumental in introducing a volunteer recognition aspect to this program.

Within the university she also works with the Marketing team as a Student Ambassador but in addition works to make international students more employable through facilitating LinkedIn workshops focusing on career development projects for other students and helps organise networking events. She also volunteers for several organisations, handling social media accounts for one and coordinating student involvement in others.
Last year she was a Study Perth Student Ambassador and, in fact, was recognised as their Valedictorian.

In her application she summarised her attitude by saying that the latter part of an education journey involves incorporating one’s knowledge into making society a better place.

This award was proudly sponsored by:


2020 WINNER: Vishwa Patel, Bachelor of Nursing, Curtin University

Vishwa is in the third year off the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree at Curtin University. Her academic record is excellent with an average mark in the Diploma of Health Science at Curtin college of 86 and an average mark at Curtin University of 79.

She has won scholarships at both Curtin College and Curtin University.

She has been very active in supporting other students as a peer and mentor and is currently an ambassador for Curtin college, supporting new students

She has also been very active in the community and was selected to participate in the Rotary Global Citizen Program which involves a significant amount of community work. In addition, she volunteers in Salvo stores and participates in the Airport Welcome Program for new students.

2019 WINNER: Audrey Kim, The University of Western Australia

Audrey is a final year postgraduate Doctor of Medicine student at UWA. Throughout her seven years of undergraduate and postgraduate degree at UWA, she has demonstrated academic excellence, including a weighted GPA of 6.917 (out of 7) during her Bachelor of Science degree.

Audrey has been awarded three academic scholarships by Trinity Residential College between 2012-2014, the Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award by Golden Key International Honor Society in 2016 and the Student Vacation Research Scholarship by Cancer Council Western Australia in 2017. Audrey is currently the Vice President of the UWA Surgical Society (UWASS), leading a team of 20 committee members in surgical events organisation. She is also the current International Officer of the WA Medical Student Society. Previously, Audrey held the position of Academic Coordinator for the Perth 2018 Australia Medical Student Association Convention and was Chairperson of UWASS Women in Surgery.

Audrey is a firm believer of contributing back to the local community and volunteers with Teddy Bear Hospital and is involved with the “Lovin from the Oven” program at Ronald McDonald House organised by the volunteering and charity group Lookout. Audrey has been a UniMentor, a medical student camp leader and has volunteered with two medical mission trips to Cambodia and Indonesia.

2018 WINNER: Cendranata Wibawa Ongkowijoyo, The University of Western Australia

In 2017, Cendranata was awarded the Australia Awards Scholarship to study a Master of Dental Public and Primary Health at The University of Western Australia. Since beginning his studies Cendranata has volunteered his time to the Association of Indonesian Postgraduate Students and Scholars in Australia (WA) in the positions of Minister of Internal Affairs and President.

Cendranata is involved with the Australia Indonesia Youth Association as an executive committee member and has been an active member of the community since arriving in Perth. Cendranata has volunteered as a mentor through the UniMentor program at The University of Western Australia, has assisted in providing free dental treatment for poor people and refugees through the Tzu Chi International Medical Association, and has planted seeds to restore native plants for the habitat of cross equatorial migrating birds through the Swan Estuary Reserve Action Group.

Cendranata is a member of Australia Dental Association Western Australia Branch, the Australasian Osseointegration Society Western Australia Branch and The University of Western Australia Dental Students Society.

2017 WINNER: Zhibo Zhang, The University of Western Australia

Zhibo is an excellent engineering student academic wise with a GPA of 6.8 out of 7 for three years of fulltime study towards a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Western Australia. She was awarded two scholarships to study abroad and nominated as Student of the Year by Professionals Australia. She loves connecting with people, cares about the community, the environment, education and making resources available to people such as cool technologies like 3D printing. She is also vibrant and care about professional development and assists with professional information exchange by volunteering at professional conferences such as Mill Operators’ Conference.

Sarah Maria Koelsch Photo

2016 WINNER: Sarah Koelsch, The University of Notre Dame

Sarah was rewarded with the Archbishop Foley Award in 2014 and the Bupa International Student Award in 2015 for outstanding contribution to service and community. Sarah has been a member of the Students’ Affairs Committee at Notre Dame representing ‘Arts & Sciences’ and is involved in welcoming international students and mentoring new commencing students.

Sarah has been a volunteer for AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) where she participated as a mentor in 2013, 2014 and was then employed as the Program Assistant in 2015. Sarah has also been involved with the Red Cross since 2012, where she started as an Emergency Services volunteer and then became part of the Migration Support Services. As part of her education at Notre Dame, Sarah completed an unpaid internship at CARAD (Centre for Asylum seekers, Refugees and Detainees) and continued being involved with the organisation until today. Furthermore, Sarah is a committee member of the ‘Higher Education Working Group’ which is a subcommittee of CARAD that supports refugees’ participation in tertiary education.

Thomas Winner

2015 WINNER: Thomas Remont, Central Institute of Technology

In 2015, Thomas was awarded the ‘Outstanding Achievement in the Commerce Portfolio’ and the ‘Accounting Student of the Year’ and is Central Institute of Technology’s ‘2015 International Student of the Year’.

In 2014, Thomas was elected as an International Student Ambassador to help international students settle in to their studies and lives in Perth, and act as a conduit between international students and Central staff.

Thomas’ natural leadership was recognised by Navitas who appointed him to a part time position as an Activities Coordinator in November 2014. Thomas has been volunteering at the WA Aids Council for the past two years and earlier this year joined the Cross Campus Queer Network which is a student organisation that aims to make educational campuses welcoming and safe for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual students.