Over the last two months, excitement has been building toward this moment: when the finalists are announced for the Alumni Awards. Not a moment too soon for all the candidates who shared their heartfelt and amazing stories with us. I personally thank you for participating and making the competition so meaningful—and challenging for our judges.

We have read your stories: how you embraced the unknown, stepped outside your comfort zones with a spirit of boldness; how you pushed the limits of what’s possible, attaining new heights with confidence and adaptability. You are true believers, explorers, and our select group of finalists for the Cisco Networking Academy Alumni Awards.

Congratulations to Our Finalists

An illustration of an astronaut floating above colorful dotsChangemaker Award

Omotola Sunday Akinyeoluwa
Roberta Do Espírito Santo Martins
Roberth Gonzalez
Emmanuel Gyedu
Heath Joseph
Jezeiyn Naidoo
Ram Gowtam Seelam
Eleftherios Xinaris

Rise Above Award

Murat Akpunar
Marleese Attilakos
Ciara Cannon
Henry Christian
Dave Cook
Philippe Du Fresnay
Chandralekha Gadiraju
John Gillespie
Jessica Brasil Santos Hingel
Ohimai Roland Imoudume
Dexter King
Travis Schuch
Kutlwano Zitha

Future Leader Award

Smart Beyioku
Ireoluwatonde Fasanu
Merve Karagöz
John Clever Mancilla Rocabado
Sanyukta Pawaskar
Tatiana Claudia Rengel Tarquino
Syed Mohsin Rizvi

Innovation Architect Award

Tobi Rasheed Ayanwoye
Reese Babington
Timothy King
Annie Vu

Influencer Award

Muhammad Awais Afzal
Armand Carr
Moises Andre Nisenbaum
Andrew Smith

Winners Announced During Event on August 15

Everyone is invited to our live broadcast naming the five award winners on August 15 at 8:00 a.m. PT. This upbeat, fun event will also announce which winner is the Shooting Star prize recipient—the brightest star in the Networking Academy orbit. Register now.

To all finalists, feel free to invite your family, friends, and colleagues to this special event.

An illustration of someone looking through a telescope into the universe

Helping to Define Destinies

In life, many factors define one’s destiny. But, as the VP and general manager of Cisco Networking Academy, I am both humbled and incredibly proud that our long-running digital skills training program (in its 25th year) has played a pivotal role in the lives of our alums.


Laura Quintana

Vice President and General Manager

Cisco Networking Academy