Past Award Recipients

Each year, we honour four outstanding AU ambassadors.

Browse through our past Alumni Award Recipients and learn how AU alumni are making a difference in their communities.


Distinguished Alumni: Esmail Bharwani

Esmail Bharwani, Athabasca University's 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, embodies lifelong learning.

Esmail’s dedication to his family and his community is exemplified by his passion for volunteer work and his tireless commitment to giving back and making a difference in others’ lives through education. Throughout his career he gave tirelessly of himself to help others in many ways, and supported his family at every opportunity.

After he sold his accounting practice in 1999, he went on to earn a law degree in 2004 and channeled his education and experience into helping others, including not-for-profit organizations in his community. He currently devotes much of his time to his family foundation, set up in 2011,  largely with his own funds earned from accounting and law practices. It currently provides over 43 awards each year, from endowments to last in perpetuity, to help students pursue their education and improve their lives and the lives of those they touch.

Read Esmail's full story on The Hub.

Volunteer Service: Dr. Djenana Jalovcic

Dr. Djenana Jalovcic (EdD 2018) works to improve the lives of people with disabilities at home and abroad.

Djenana’s understanding of the importance of volunteering came in the 1990s, when her home city of Sarajevo was under siege during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She saw volunteerism in that city literally mean the difference between life and death, and that experience inspired her lifelong passion for volunteering.

She has given her time and passion to countless organizations over the years, currently dividing her time between the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Bangladesh, the Canadian Society for International Health, Accessibility for All, and the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston.

Read Djenana's full story on The Hub.

Rising Star: Shastri Ramnath

Shastri Ramnath (MBA 2012) is Athabasca University's 2019 Rising Star Alumni Award winner.

Shastri is a visible champion for change within the Canadian mineral industry, bringing her entrepreneurial spirit to a sector that has historically been male dominated. After working several years as a geologist, she completed her MBA with Athabasca University in 2012 and struck out on her own.

Since then she has incubated and launched several successful corporations, including Orix Geoscience Inc. in 2012. She has been widely recognized for her innovative business model and her willingness to support her employees’ continuing education.

Read Shastri's full story on The Hub.

Future Alumni: Barb Tiedemann

Barb Tiedemann, a current Master of Counselling student, is already working to improve the lives of preteen girls in her community with the B'Tween Girls curriculum.

As the mother of teenage children, Barb has seen first-hand the struggles youth face these days—especially with respect to adolescent girls’ mental and emotional health. She found that there were limited programs aimed at tween girls to address specific topics like anxiety, depression, and friendship, but not in combination.

With the support of mental-health professionals, Barb volunteered her time to research and co-create the B’Tween Girls curriculum, an eight-week program aimed at girls in grades 4 to 6. She has facilitated the program in Calgary schools with incredibly positive results. Wanting to do more, Barb returned to school and is working on a Master of Counselling degree that will help her continue to serve her community.

Read Barb's full story on The Hub.



Distinguished Alumni: Margot van Sluytman

Read Margot's full story on The Hub.

Volunteer Service: Annette Cyr

Read Annette's full story on The Hub.

Rising Star: Reece Tomlinson

Read Reece's full story on The Hub.

Future Alumni: Fiona Smith

Read Fiona's full story on The Hub.


Distinguished Alumni: Lieutenant Colonel Rhonda Crew

Read Rhonda's full story on The Hub.

Volunteer Service: Anthony Montgomery

Read Anthony's full story on The Hub.

Rising Star: Jennifer Jackson

Read Jennifer's full story on The Hub.

Future Alumni: Robin Bleich

Read Robin's full story on The Hub.