Meet our 2021 UQ Alumni Award winners, Bri Lee and Mikhara Ramsing

16 Sep 2021

Drum roll please! The winners of the UQ Alumni Awards for 2021 have been announced.

Meet the winners from the Law alumni community:

  • Bri Lee - for advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and for law reform, and exceptional achievements as an author
  • Mikahara Ramsing - for outstanding commitment to serving others.


Meet Bri Lee

Distinguished Young Alumni Award for advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and for law reform, and exceptional achievements as an author.

Bri Lee
Bachelor of Arts 2014, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) 2014, Master of Philosophy 2020

Bri Lee is an author, editor, freelance writer, speaker, researcher, qualified (though non-practicing) lawyer, and PhD candidate. She is one of Australia’s most impressive rising literary talents and a leading voice for reform of Australia’s consent and sexual assault laws. She turned her journey as a young associate to a Queensland judge, and the childhood trauma that this experience forced her to revisit, into the award-winning memoir Eggshell Skull. Ms Lee was awarded the 2019 Ned Kelly Award for True Crime, the 2019 Davitt Award for Best Debut True Crime Book, and Biography of the year at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards. Ms Lee’s novel, Who Gets to be Smart, is also longlisted for the Nib Award for research in writing.

What are you most proud of?

I have received countless messages from people who have read one of my books then made real change in their lives. There is no more satisfying feeling than knowing your work is having an impact like that.

Giving a voice to sexual assault survivors

I don’t want to overstate my individual influence or voice – I’ve always been directed and led by the tireless work of organisations such as the Women’s Legal Service Queensland as well as the activists and academics who came before me. What I will say about voices like mine specifically is that in the conversations about law reform, survivors aren’t treated as ‘experts’. Lawyers are really good at minimising the ‘reliability’ and ‘credibility’ of perspectives that don’t suit their cases. 

What’s a surprising fact about you?

I have two rescue guinea pigs! Louis and Eddie are a father and son “bonded pair” from the Queensland Guinea Pig Refuge – a fantastic organisation who always need more foster carers and donations!

Your favourite quote?

This advice from a commencement speech by British author Neil Gaiman in 2012 has served me really well:

“People keep working, in a freelance world, and more and more of today's world is freelance, because their work is good, and because they are easy to get along with, and because they deliver the work on time. And you don't even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. They'll forgive the lateness of the work if it's good, and if they like you. And you don't have to be as good as the others if you're on time and it's always a pleasure to hear from you.”

Honestly, I still stick by this advice – you’ve gotta be two of the three.

Meet Mikhara Ramsing

Distinguished Young Alumni Award for outstanding commitment to serving others

Mikhara Ramsing
Bachelor of Economics (Hons) 2015, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) 2014

Mikhara Ramsing is the founder of Miks Chai, a social enterprise that funds suicide prevention through sales of chai tea, and Ethnic LGBT+, a national resource platform for culturally and linguistically diverse LGTBIQA+ communities. She was Young Australian of the Year QLD Finalist 2019, one of Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Women of Influence 2019, and a Westpac Social Change Fellow, 1 of 10 Australians chosen to invest in to grow as a community leader in 2018.

Thank you, Nana

My grandfather (my Nana) was my inspiration to become a social entrepreneur. Growing up as a fifth generation South African Indian, I saw my Nana use business during the apartheid era as a tool to provide scholarships to attend university for those who weren’t able to access it. I knew growing up, I wanted to do the same. I even did a Tedx Talk at UQ on my Nana’s impact on my life.

How did you get to where you are?

I loved my economics degree at UQ, particularly the subjects that pushed us to think about the social and political impacts of different economic models. I met like-minded peers in these classes and a group of us started Queensland’s first youth-led and focused social enterprise conference – IMPACT – that inspired 300 young people into social enterprise where they can then use business as a tool for social impact.

What are you most proud of?

Creating the representation I need as a young queer woman of colour through my not-for-profit networking organisation:

Favourite quote

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou

Related links