UCL Alumni


Celebrating our 2021 Alumni Volunteering Award winners

8 June 2021

17 outstanding alumni volunteers have been recognised at the UCL Alumni Volunteering Awards, with gold awards for Sasha Shen (Alumni Volunteer of the Year) and the Hong Kong Recent Graduates Network (Alumni Group/Network of the Year).

UCL giant letters installation

We are delighted to announce the winners of our fourth annual UCL Alumni Volunteering Awards, which recognise outstanding alumni who generously give their time to support the UCL community. 

Due to the exceptionally strong field of nominees, this year’s awards saw the introduction of bronze, silver and gold categories, to acknowledge the many ways that alumni choose to volunteer.

Gold Award winners

Alumni Volunteer of the Year: Sasha Shen (MA Higher Education Studies 2019)

Sasha Shen headshot
Sasha has been volunteering with UCL since her time as a student at the Institute of Education. While the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly changed how volunteering can take place, Sasha hasn’t been deterred, and throughout 2020 she dedicated more time to UCL than ever.

For prospective students, hearing from alumni about their time at UCL can help them with one of the biggest decisions they’ll ever make. By creating testimonial videos, taking part in case studies, speaking at events and appearing in publications, Sasha has helped many prospective students feel informed about joining our student body.

A global citizen, having settled in London after growing up in Mainland China, Sasha has shared her story of living overseas at a UCL Study Abroad panel event for students considering a year abroad. To help new students from China prepare for life at UCL, she has shared her advice by recording videos in Mandarin, and has also created videos about the resources available to UCL alumni to support them with their careers. She also supports with creating content for UCL’s Weibo and WeChat channels.

Congratulations and thank you to Sasha!

Alumni Group/Network of the Year: Hong Kong Recent Graduates Network

Natalie Kwok (Arts and Sciences 2015), Josh Li (Biological Sciences 2016) and Gokce Narin (Economics & Business with Eastern Europe Studies 2010)

The Hong Kong Recent Graduates Network leads: Natalie, Josh and Gokce
Set up in the middle of 2020, the Hong Kong Recent Graduates Network has had to think creatively about how to support the UCL community from the very start. With in-person events not possible and ‘Zoom fatigue’ on the rise in Hong Kong, the group decided to replace their virtual events calendar with an interactive video series: Industry Insiders.

Industry Insiders demystifies some of the most popular industries in Hong Kong, but alumni around the world have benefited from the insightful content. The videos feature UCL alumni who are specialists in their industry explaining what it’s like to work in their field and answering viewer questions.

Congratulations and thank you to Natalie, Josh and Gokce!

Silver Award winners

  • Himani Gupta (MSc International Real Estate & Planning 2012)
  • Abigail Irozuru (Law 2012)
  • Evdoxia Nerantzi (MA Education and Technology 2015)
  • Clive Santamaria (Mechanical Engineering 2001)
  • Navigating Uncertainity Series 
  • UCL Cyprus Alumni Group

Bronze Award winners

  • Sara Berkai (Information Management for Business 2018)
  • Jaspreet Dosanjh (MSc Biochemical Engineering 2001; PhD Biochemical Engineering & Bioprocessing 2011)
  • Semina Halani (MA Comparative Literature 2018)
  • Greg Kim (Economics 2004)
  • Sam Lansdale (Natural Sciences 2014)
  • Baldeep Singh Namas (LLM Law 2014)
  • Oliver Nias (English 2008)
  • Tracy Tan (Biological Sciences 2018)
  • Natasha Winnard (Geography 1994)

Annie Thompson, Deputy Director of Alumni Relations (interim), said: “Alumni volunteers make an immeasurable contribution to UCL. From advising prospective students to mentoring current students to bringing graduates across the globe together – alumni volunteers make a difference to the entire UCL community.

“This year’s awards received a record number of nominations, and it’s been fantastic to see how volunteers have adapted throughout the pandemic to give back to UCL in new ways. To recognise the incredible activity taking place, this year we have introduced gold, silver and bronze-level awards, which reflect how volunteers make a contribution in many different ways.

“Our Gold Award winners, Sasha Shen and the Hong Kong Recent Graduates Network, have demonstrated exceptional commitment to supporting UCL. They have gone above and beyond to help students and graduates, and it is a pleasure to recognise their hard work. 

“Congratulations and thank you to all of our winners; you truly make a difference.”

Our volunteering opportunities are designed to help you stay connected, share knowledge and play an active role in supporting our global alumni community - explore our current opportunities.