Celebrating greatness: 3 inspiring UTS Alumni
UTS Alumni are well-renowned for their talent, vision, and drive. Personally and professionally, our alumni exemplify UTS’s core values — commitment to excellence, innovation, entrepreneurship and social justice.
So today, we’re celebrating the incredible successes of just three of the UTS alumni recognised by the 2021 UTS Alumni Awards. Read on to learn about ground-breaking work in the field of forensic science, ethical investments, and local and international outreach.
And if you know a member of the UTS Alumni community doing important work in their chosen fields, scroll to the bottom to learn more about the upcoming 2022 UTS Alumni Awards.
Dr Sarah Benson PSM
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Chemistry and Forensic Science, 2000
PhD Science, 2009
Science Award and Chancellor’s Award for Excellence
Dr Sarah Benson PSM is currently the Chief Forensic Scientist with the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Sarah is recognised for excellence and rigour in the field of forensic science, both nationally and internationally. She is also a distinguished and inspiring leader.
Dr Benson joined the AFP as a graduate from the UTS Forensic Science Honours degree in 2000. She went on to develop and implement structural and capability reform across the organisation and now leads 350 staff and manages an overall portfolio of $73 million.
Her PhD research into man-made explosives contributed to the prevention and investigation of many terrorist-related crimes. Subsequent research has produced breakthroughs in the development and validation of forensic methods – methods which were used in the investigation of several complex criminal incidents in Australia and overseas.
“I would like to continue to strengthen the partnerships across industry and academia to ensure graduates continue to be workforce ready in an ever changing environment and to ensure fields of specialisation, such as Forensic Science, continue evolving through research and enhanced scientific knowledge in order to maximise impact to combat the threats in our criminal environments and keep the Australian community safe.”
Read more about Dr Benson here.
Bachelor of Business, 2012
Young Alumni Award
David Brennan is a senior executive on the leadership team at U Ethical Investors, the only for-purpose fund manager in Australasia, managing more than $1.3bn of assets. Prior to this appointment, he worked at several large financial institutions as an investment professional and, outside of business hours, started to lend his finance expertise to the non-profit space.
More recently, David has focused on organisations whose goals align with his passion for health. He believes in ‘exercise as medicine’ and is currently Chair of the Australian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians.
As Director of the Society for Hospital Pharmacists Australia, David helps address issues such as the opioid epidemic. The wellbeing of doctors is in his sights as Chair of Doctors Health Service Australia. He also sits on the Board finance committee at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and promotes equal access to healthcare for all women.
“I find I’m now in a position to help educate investors, both large and small, about how they can impact things like the environment or the community by making values-based choices on how they invest their savings or superannuation. The allocation of capital is an effective way to help big business understand expectations on not doing harm and focusing on good for the community.”
Read more about David here.
Dr Rolanda Lam
PhD Science, 2018
UTS International Alumni Award (proudly supported by UTS College)
Dr Rolanda Lam came to UTS as an international student, receiving three competitive PhD scholarships to work on an ARC Linkage Project to develop novel methods to detect fingermarks.
In Sydney, her outreach included being a part of the Sherlock Holmes Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum and giving forensic science workshops to high school students. In Canada, she gets involved with annual events such as Take Our Kids to Work Days and National Police Week.
Dr Lam has volunteered with various local and national organisations throughout her studies and career. She is increasingly in demand on an international level – having her research presented to the International Fingerprint Research Group, being invited to join a panel discussion at an International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Global Women’s Breakfast, and recently being selected to become a Special Committee member for the International Association for Identification.
“I want to lead by example and demonstrate to peers and aspiring forensic scientists how getting involved, sharing ideas, and being a part of the change can push us forward together to success.”
Read more about Dr Lam here.
Do you know an inspiring UTS graduate who is not only a leader in their field, but driven by a desire to create a lasting impact in the world? Help us recognise their achievements by nominating them for the 2022 UTS Alumni Awards!
Find out more and place your nominations here.
Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.