Inside the Clancy costume: Adry Awan

05 Feb 2024
A young man holds a lion's head costume

The Alumni Experience Coordinator is a Kensington local, a UNSW alum and a volunteer lived experience speaker, as a cancer survivor.

Adry Awan, an Arts, Design & Architecture alum with a Bachelor of Arts, started as Alumni Experience Coordinator in 2021, after previous roles in the Alumni and Development teams. 

His journey from school to UNSW

Adry attended Randwick Boys High School where he was School Captain, very active in school life and performing well academically. 

In the middle of his HSC year, at the age of 17, he was diagnosed with cancer and was forced to take many months off to undergo surgery and treatment. His priority at that time was getting a place at UNSW, so he had to re-evaluate and temporarily put his goals on hold. 

"I was lucky to have the support of a really robust and multidisciplinary medical team – oncologists, psychologists, counsellors – both from a school level and from my treating hospital. Everyone worked together to ensure I got the support I needed to sit the HSC. I sat it with special provisions, and got a place at UNSW," he says. 

“Academically, I performed well in creative writing, so I thought if my dream of teaching didn’t work out, I’d move into media and communications. Then, through my medical journey, the idea of using the power of language to make collective progress for causes I was passionate about evolved.”

"Living the gig"

Adry says first and foremost he is “passionate” and being a cancer survivor is a huge part of his story. 

"It informs a lot of that passion. It informs my professional drive, my interests and my enjoyment being a member of the UNSW community.

“Specifically, with the Alumni Experience team, I love the idea of connecting with people and learning about their lived experiences and their journeys. I think that comes from having experienced my own transformative journey as a young cancer patient and understanding that our stories are what makes us who we are.

“I have always felt like UNSW is very much embedded in the fabric of who I am. I still have the image of the UNSW Library hanging over us as mum drove me and my brother to school every morning. I had aunties, uncles and cousins study here, so it's family, it feels like home. 

“I have fond memories, so it's nice to come full circle and to be part of the UNSW community as a staff member.”

For a number of years, Adry has been a volunteer lived experience speaker for Redkite, who work with babies and children with cancer, supporting the patients and their families, and he does similar volunteer work with CanTeen Australia.

What might surprise your colleagues about you?

1. I didn’t know how to send a letter before I came to UNSW.

2. I am a descendant of a royal family in Java.

What day would you like to relive?

1. The day my brother Adam was born, when I was six.

2. The day my brother graduated from UNSW.

Adam, a UNSW Science alum, is a Technical Assistant in UNSW Medicine & Health.

What’s the best advice you received?

It always seems impossible until it's done.

What’s the best thing you watched last year?

Sydney Swans games.