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Notable alumni

 

Media, entertainment and the arts

Nick Abbot (Psychology 1982)
Nick Abbot is a radio presenter who, after featuring on Brunel Radio, went on to present on numerous stations for past 20 years, including Radio Luxembourg, Virgin Radio, TalkSport, Smooth FM, Planet Rock and LBC.


Hajaz Akram (Modern Drama Studies 2000)
Principal and founder of the Academy of Asian and Ethnic Dramatic Arts, Hajaz Akram has trained and worked as an actor, teacher and director for 20 years. He has appeared in numerous television dramas including Doctor Who, Murder in Mind and Casualty, and is also the voice of DJ Panjit Gavaskar in Grand Theft Auto. He has had film roles in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and Batman Begins.


Carl Barât (Drama 1996)
Carl Barât is a musician, actor and author. He was the frontman and lead guitarist of Dirty Pretty Things, and recorded a solo album, but is best known for being the co-front man with Peter Doherty of the garage rock band The Libertines.


Adam Benzine (Multimedia, Technology and Design 2003)
Adam has been Oscar nominated for his debut documentary about French film maker Claude Lanzmann. Titled Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, Adam's film tells the story of Lanzmann's own seminal documentary about the Holocaust.


Jo Brand (Social Sciences 1982)
Jo Brand is a BAFTA winning comedian, writer, and actress. Commencing her entertainment career with a move from psychiatric nursing to the alternative comedy stand-up scene and early performances on Saturday Live, she went on to appear on The Brain Drain, Channel 4's Jo Brand Through the Cakehole, Getting On and various television appearances including as a regular guest on QI. In 2003, she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. In 2012 she was awarded Best Female TV Comic at the British Comedy Awards.


Hopewell Rugoho-Chin'ono (Documentary Practice 2008)
Hopewell Rugoho-Chin'ono is a Zimbabwean journalist. Hopewell has won numerous awards in journalism and has worked in both print and broadcasting and worked with the BBC World Service as a freelance producer. For his documentary, Pain in my Heart, he won the 2008 CNN African Journalist of the Year award, 2008 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Award and the Kaiser Family Foundation Award for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Reporting in Africa. In 2008 the Zimbabwean government banned him from covering its disputed election because of his zeal to get to the truth and report it without favour.


Greg Davies (Drama and English 1990)
Greg Davies is a stand-up comedian and actor best known for his roles as Greg in We Are Klang and Mr Gilbert in The Inbetweeners. He is a regular guest on TV comedy panel shows including Mock the Week, Would I Lie to You?, QI, Have I Got News for You and Fast and Loose. He has also performed on the Live at the Apollo series.


Francis French (PGCE 1997)
Francis French is a book and magazine author specialising in space flight history. He is a former director of events for Sally Ride Science, and a director at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.


Alizeh Imtiaz (English and Film and Television Studies 2008)
Alizeh Imtiaz is the first Pakistani to have successfully had her debut short film 'Shades of Black' screened at the London Filmmakers Convention 2007. Her short film also won the award for Best Film at the London Filmmakers Convention which screened 80 films from all around the world.


Lee Mack (Drama with Film and Television Studies 1996)
Lee McKillop is a stand-up comedian and actor, known by the stage name Lee Mack. He is well known in the UK for writing and starring in the sitcom Not Going Out, for being a team captain on Would I Lie to You? and for hosting Lee Mack's All Star Cast. He won a British Comedy Award for Best Male Television Comic in 2012.


Ken MacLeod (Mechanical Engineering 1988)
Ken MacLeod is an award-winning science fiction author. His novels have won the Prometheus Award and the BSFA award (including Best Novel for ‘The Night Sessions’), and have been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He was close friends with the late Iain Banks with whom contributed to the British boom in science fiction in the 1990s.


Sophie McShera (Modern Drama Studies 2006)
Sophie McShera is an actress. After several minor roles, she was cast as sixth form pupil, Ros McCain in the fifth series of BBC drama Waterloo Road. In autumn 2010 she became part of the original cast of the Golden Globe winning period drama Downton Abbey playing Daisy Robinson.


Oreke Mosheshe (Management Studies 2003)
Oreke Mosheshe is an actress and model. She has appeared in BBC, ITV and Channel 4 productions, TV adverts, and has modelled for Matthew Williamson, Vivienne Westwood and Armani. She has also presented a weekly show Roulette on Live Roulette each week.


Archie Panjabi (Business Management Studies 1996)
Archie Panjabi is an actress who shot to fame as Pinky in Bend it Like Beckham. She is best known for her role as Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife, earning her the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2010). She has also received a number of nominations including two more in the Emmy Awards, plus Golden Globe and Screen Actors’ Guild nominations.


Claire Phillips (Mechanical Engineering 1986)
Claire Phillips is a portrait artist. Her works tell stories about the subjects, encouraging the viewer to consider social and political themes. She is particularly well known for her portraits of people on death row.


Liesel Schwarz
Liesel Schwarz is a published author, whose trilogy ‘The Chronicles of Light and Shadow’ was commissioned and partly written at Brunel. Her work is highly regarded in the genre and she was tipped by The Independent as the next “high priestess of Steampunk”.


Bindya Solanki (Drama and Religious Studies 1995)
Bindya Solanki made her television debut in the ITV children's programme My Parents Are Aliens. She went on to have roles in the BBC drama Sweet Revenge and Sky One's Dream Team in. She is best known for playing the role of Nita Mistry in EastEnders. Bindya also starred in BBC Asian Network’s Silver Street, as Mindy.


Alex Straker (English and Film and Television Studies 2010)
Alex is working on Eastenders and is currently on his second episode.


Lucy Verasamy (Geography and Earth Sciences 2001)
Having completed a work placement at the Sky Weather Centre, Lucy Verasamy became the regular weather presenter on the Sky News breakfast show Sunrise. In 2007 the Sky News website started a feature entitled Climate Clinic - Ask Lucy as part of their Green Britain campaign, where Lucy answered questions put forward by members of the public regarding climate change. She also contributed to Sky News The Weather Girls blog. In 2010 she joined ITV Breakfast programme Daybreak, as a weather forecaster and environment correspondent, and now fronts national ITV Weather forecasts.


John Watts (Psychology 1978)
John Watts is a musician who started the rock band Fischer-Z in 1976 with fellow alumnus, Steve Skolnik while at Brunel. He is now a solo artist.


Nathaniel Peat (Mechanical Engineering 2001)
Brunel Alumnus of the Year 2011, Nathaniel Peat, is a social entrepreneur who founded at the age of 25, a non-profit organisation. The Safety Box uses grassroots methods to interrupt violent behaviour, build entrepreneurship and foster achievement in young people using alternative curriculum in British schools. He is a regular commentator for television and radio around youth and education.

 

Royalty and politics 

Guillaume Bayens, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (MBA 1996)
Prince Guillaume is Heir apparent to the crown of Luxembourg. His duties include Honorary Chairman of the Board of Economic Development of Luxembourg since 2001. He was formerly active with the Kraizberg Foundation, a charitable institution for the disabled. Guillaume represented Luxembourg in various celebrations in honour of Danish, Norwegian and Dutch royalty.


John Leech (Politics and Modern History 1994)
John Leech is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He became MP for Manchester Withington in 2005. In the 2005–2010 Parliament he was a member of the Transport Select Committee and was appointed a Shadow Transport Spokesperson in 2006. He was named 'Parliamentarian of the Year for Road Safety' by road safety charity Brake in 2008.


John McDonnell (Economics and Government 1977)
John McDonnell is a Labour Party politician, who has been the MP for Hayes and Harlington since 1997; he serves as Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Labour Representation Committee, and the Public Services Not Private Profit group and is now the shadow chancellor. He is also Parliamentary Convenor of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group of ten trade unions representing over half a million workers.


Anastasios Papaligouras (Comparative Law 1975)
Anastasios Papaligouras is a Greek lawyer and New Democracy politician. He was leader of ONNED (the New Democracy youth organisation) from 1976 to 1977. He was elected MP for Korinthia in the general elections of 1981, 1985, 1993, 1996 and 2000 and became Minister for Justice in the new government of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in 2004. In 2008, he became Minister for Mercantile Marine and Island Policy.


Pekka Sauri (PhD Psychology 1993)
Pekka Sauri is a Finnish psychologist and a Green League politician. He is currently the deputy mayor of Helsinki. He became well known in Finland during the late 1990s for hosting a popular radio show Yölinja ("Nightline") in which he tried to help callers with their various personal problems.


Seng Han Thong (MBA 1993)
Seng Han Thong is a Singaporean politician. He is a member of the People's Action Party, and represents the Yio Chu Kang constituency in the Parliament of Singapore. He was first elected to parliament in 1996, representing the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency; he was returned to his seat in 2001, and then in 2006 was elected to represent the Yio Chu Kang Single Member Constituency.


Alec Shelbrooke (Mechanical Engineering 1998)
Alec Shelbrooke is a Conservative Party politician, who was elected at the 2010 general election as the MP for Elmet and Rothwell, a new constituency created as a result of changes made by the Boundary Commission for England.


Lord Tomlinson (Public and Social Administration 1976)
John Tomlinson is a Labour Co-operative politician. He is a life peer in the House of Lords, and was previously a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1979, and an Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1984 to 1999.


Shailesh Vara (Law 1984)
Shailesh Vara is a Conservative Party politician. He was elected Member of Parliament for North West Cambridgeshire in 2005 and was reelected in 2010. From Nov 2006 he served as Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, and then as a Government Whip from 2010-2012.


Claire Ward (European Politics 1995)
Claire Ward is a British Labour Party politician. She served as the MP for Watford from 1997 to 2010, and was a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice from 2009 to 2010. Since June 2011 she has been executive director of the Independent Pharmacy Federation.

 

Sport

Tony Adams, MBE (Sports Sciences 2006)Tony Adams is a football manager and former Arsenal defender. He is considered one of the greatest Arsenal players of all time by the club's own fans and was included in the Football League 100 Legends. With Arsenal, he won four top flight division titles, three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and three FA Community Shields. When his playing career finished he went into football management, spending periods in charge of Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth and Azerbaijan side Gabala.

Eni Aluko (LLB Law 2008)Eni Aluko is an England football forward who plays for Chelsea Ladies. Eni was named Young Player of the Year at the Women’s FA Awards in 2003. She represented Team GB in football in the 2012 London Olympics, reaching the quarter finals. She was part of the national team that won the Cyprus Cup in 2013. She is also a trainee solicitor at Lee and Thomson.

Kola Adedoyin (Sport Sciences 2013)Kola Adedoyin is a British athlete and 2012 National Indoor Triple Jump Champion.

Kevin Bowring - (Physical Education 1978) Wales National Rugby Union coach from 1995-98; RFU Director of Professional Coach Development 2002-16. Wikipedia Information

Ashley Bryant (Sport Sciences 2013)Ashley Bryant is a British Decathlete who won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Mike Coughlan (Mechanical Engineering 1981)>Mike Coughlan is a race car designer. In 2011 he became the Chief Designer for Williams F1, and is now Technical Director there. Previously posts include Chief Designer for the McLaren Formula One team.

James Cracknell OBE (Sport Science 1999)James Cracknell is a rower, double Olympic gold medallist and six-time World Champion. Since retiring from rowing, he has undertaken a range of extreme endurance challenges including rowing the Atlantic and the South Pole Race. He became the fastest Briton to complete the Marathon de Sables in 2012 and has represented Great Britain in triathlon.

Abi Ekoku (Combined Studies 1990)Abi Ekoku is a former Rugby League player and manager, and a former GB athlete. He managed the GB national rugby league team and as CEO at Bradford Bulls, saw his team win the Superleague, Challenge Cup and World Club Championship. He spent six years as a professional rugby league player with Bradford Bulls, Halifax and London Crusaders. Prior to this, he represented Great Britain and England at the Commonwealth Games, European Athletics Championships, and was AAA’s National Champion in the Discus in 1992. He was also UK Champion in the early the early 1990s.

Heather Fell (Physiotherapy 2004)Heather Fell is an Olympic silver medallist and one of Britain’s top modern pentathletes. Heather has been successful on both the World and European stages and in 2008 picked up her Olympic silver medal at the Beijing games and a gold at the World Cup. She won silver at the 2010 World Championships. She was voted as Brunel’s Alumna of the Year in 2009.

Brett Garrard (Business Studies and Sport Sciences 1999)Brett Garrard was the captain of Great Britain and England Hockey teams and competed in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympic Games. Her retired from international hockey in 2008 and is now Head Coach of Surbiton Ladies, and Hockey Professional at Reed’s School.

Ben Gollings (Sport Sciences 2005)Ben Gollings is a rugby union player and IRB7s Series all-time top scorer. He has previously played for England Sevens, and most recently Rugby Lions. He is also a coach and commentator.

Roger Hammond (Management and Materials Technology 1996)Roger Hammond is a cyclist, specialising in cyclo-cross and road cycling. He was the British road champion in 2003 and 2004. He has ridden for Discovery Channel, Team High Road, Cervélo TestTeam and Garmin-Cervélo. He represented Great Britain in the 2005 and 2006 Tour of Britain. In July 2012 Roger was announced as the Team Manager of the Madison Genesis team.

Audley Harrison MBE (Sport Sciences and Leisure Management 1999)Audley Harrison is a professional British boxer from Harlesden who fights in the heavyweight division. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney he became the first British fighter to win an Olympic gold medal in the superheavyweight division. After his medal win, Harrison was awarded an MBE. He briefly retired in 2013, but rescinded his decision shortly afterwards.

Richard Hill MBE (Geography and Sports Sciences 1995)Richard Hill is the current England National Rugby Union Team Manager and is a former Rugby Union player. He played flanker for Saracens and England and helped England win the World Cup in 2003, for which he received an MBE.

Lizzy Janes (Physiotherapy 2006)Lizzy Janes (previously Lizzy Hall) is an international athlete competing as a 3000m cross country runner and steeplechaser. She represented Great Britain at the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and competed at the European Athletic Championships twice.

Samual Knight (Aerospace Engineering 2014)Samual Knight graduated in 2014 with an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from Brunel. He has many achievements in rowing and has represented GB and England in international competitions. He has been selected to row for Great Britain three times, and for England twice. These included taking Gold and Bronze in the 2010 Junior European Championships in the Quadruple Scull. In addition, he has seven national championships to his name.

Catherine Murphy (Law 1997)Catherine Murphy’s international athletics career spanned 13 years (1993-2006) during which time she won six national titles over 200m and 400m. She competed at World and European Championships as well as Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Her best individual achievement was 4th place in the 400m in the World Indoor Championships in 2003 and the highlight of her career was finishing in 4th place in the final of the 4 x 400m relay in the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Abi Oyepitan (Politics and Sociology 2001)Abi Oyepitan is a sprint athlete. She won the 100m at the 2001 Summer Universiade and at the 2002 Commonwealth Games she took a bronze medal with the 4x100m team. She became one of Britain's best female sprinters and the first British female to reach an Olympic final in a sprint event since Kathy Cook. She won a silver medal for England at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in the 200m and a gold medal when she anchored the 4x100m relay team to a win.

Agustin Pichot (Business Studies & Sport Sciences 2002)Agustín Pichot (born 22 August 1974 in Buenos Aires) is a retired Argentine Rugby Union scrum-half, formerly captain of the Argentine team and Bristol Rugby. He also played for French sides Stade Français and Racing Métro after leaving Argentine team CASI from San Isidro in 1997. In 2011, he was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

Perri Shakes-Drayton (Sport Sciences 2011)Perri Shakes-Drayton is an athlete specialising in the 400m hurdles. She won double gold in the 2013 European Indoor Championships for 400m and 4x400m. She was also 2012 World Indoor Champion in 4x400m relay and won double bronze at the 2010 European Championships for 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay.

Tom Shanklin (Sports Sciences 2004)Tom Shanklin is a former rugby union player who played outside centre for Cardiff Blues and Wales. He is Wales' most-capped centre. He played club rugby for London Welsh and then Saracens, before joining Cardiff Blues in 2003.

Kelly Sotherton (Sports Science with Leisure Management 1998)Kelly Sotherton is a former heptathlete and 400m sprinter. She was the bronze medallist at the 2004 Summer Olympics and bronze medallist for the 2008 Summer Olympics. She also won bronze at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics, and was the heptathlon gold medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Iwan Thomas (Leisure Management and Sports Sciences 1995)Iwan Thomas is a former sprinter who represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games in the 400m and Wales at the Commonwealth Games. He is the current UK and Commonwealth record holder at 400m and is a former European and Commonwealth Games Champion.

Kate Richardson - Walsh OBE (Sport Sciences 2003)Kate Richardson-Walsh is the Great Britain and England Hockey captain and has represented her country more than 290 times. She has played in three Olympic Games (2000, 2008 and 2012), and the World Cup, European Cup, Champions Trophy, Commonwealth Games and Champions Challenge multiple times. She has led the team to win many medals during her thirteen years as captain, including bronze at the 2012 Olympics, 2010 World Cup and Commonwealth Games, a silver at the 2012 Champions Trophy and a triumphant Gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She was shortlisted for the World Player of the Year Award in 2003, and awarded GB Hockey’s Athlete of the Year in 2007.She played 375 times for GB and England and captained both the GB & NI and England teams before retiring from international hockey in 2016.

 

Paul Stimpson - GB & England Basketball, played over 120 times for GB and England and captained England. Wikipedia Information

Kathy Smallwood-Cook - (Graduated in 1981) MBE - 13 medals at the Olympics, World, European and Commonwealth Games in Athletics. Wikipedia Information

Peter Terry - Sport psychologist to the GB Bobsleigh Gold medal winning team at the Winter Olympics; Professor, University of Southern Queensland.

Greg Whyte - (Combined Studies 1989) OBE - Modern Pentathlon Olympian, won World Championship silver & European bronze medals; Professor of Applied Sport & Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University. Wikipedia Information

Ron Wilson (Building Technology 1977)Ron Wilson was the Scotland Rugby Union fly-half from 1976 to 1993. He is now Technical Director at Farr & Roberts building firm in Maidenhead.