The ceremony was opened by Academic Head Martin Waiguny and CEO Karl Ennsfellner. They were very proud of the five awardees, who were digitally honoured for their achievements. This also became clear in the laudations for the new awardees, which were given by Manfred Pferzinger, Deputy Academic Head and Head of the Institute of Health Management, Harald Hundsberger, Head of the Institute of Life Sciences, Franz Piller, Programme Director for Business Administration and E-Business Management, Reinhard Beikircher, Programme Director for Physiotherapy, and Adelheid Schönthaler, Programme Director for Advanced Nursing Practice.
“It gives us great pleasure to shine the light on a number of graduates each year who have distinguished themselves through outstanding successes based on their education at IMC Krems. Not only is the professional range remarkable, but we also take our hats off to so much personal commitment and determination,” explains Martin Waiguny.
The Alumni Awards 2021
The IMC Alumni Awards recognise graduates of IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems for exceptional professional careers or for special commitment. This also highlights the high value they have as stakeholders for their alma mater. In 2021, the IMC Alumni Awards were presented for the ninth time.
Christoph Thormann and Felix Rinner – Category: Particularly Successful Business Creation/Successful Start-up/Successful Entrepreneurship
Since completing his master’s degree in Health Management at IMC Krems in 2011, Christoph Thomann has been working on how we can make our diet more sustainable and healthier. He soon realised the potential of insects and developed great enthusiasm for being an Austrian pioneer in shaping this new market by founding the company “ZIRP”. ZIRP has worked for years to establish insects as a food and resource-saving alternative to other animal protein sources. ZIRP is thus one of the pioneers throughout Europe and not only a first mover in Austria, but also the clear market leader.
In addition to whole insects as a snack and lifestyle product (seasoned and unseasoned), ZIRP - products with processed insects currently offers various types of bars, ready-made mixes for baking and cooking, and burger patties. The goal of the successful company is to integrate insects as part of healthy and tasty food into everyday menus, thus establishing ZIRP as the leading European brand in the insect food sector, making its nutrient-rich products accessible to everyone and contributing to greenhouse gas reduction.
First award for physiotherapy alumni
Felix Rinner graduated from the Physiotherapy programme at IMC Krems in 2010. After graduation, the alumnus worked at Vienna General Hospital as a physiotherapist on the internal medicine, oncology and cardiology wards and soon rose to a management position. In March 2017, Felix Rinner founded “Die SportPHYSIOtherapeuten” together with Christian Schantl and Thomas Prantner. In the meantime, the successful practice with the guiding principle “We don’t treat just a part of the body, we treat the individual” consists of a team of eleven sports physiotherapists, two masseurs and a sports scientist. All staff members are highly qualified therapists who are constantly expanding their know-how of rehabilitation, therapy and training. This enables them to always offer the latest findings and techniques in the course of individual treatments.
The whole team builds its therapy around four core areas plus training and prevention: Back to Activity (Rehabilitation), Back to Sport (Physiotherapy), Back to Play (Sports Physiotherapy), Back to Competition and Prevention of Injuries (Training and Prevention). They create customised exercise programmes for their patients, which can be optimally integrated into everyday life, thus ensuring that the goals of every individual can be achieved with their professional support. “Your comeback is our passion”, is the motto of the sports physiotherapists.
Christina Draxler – Category: Special Professional Career
Christina Draxler remained loyal to IMC Krems after her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and E-Business Management, which she completed with excellent results. She then completed her master’s degree in Management with a focus on Human Resources Management. Even before completing her final semester of her master’s degree, the determined alumna took over the management of human resources at the KASTNER Group. Her tasks include being HR Business Partner for all nine KASTNER locations, conception and ongoing implementation of a sustainable HR strategy, recruiting and first point of contact for all kinds of labour law issues. Her motto: “Success happens when you do what you love.”
Elisa Arthofer – Category: Special Scientific Career
After completing her master’s degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at IMC Krems, Elisa Arthofer moved to Stockholm to the Karolinska Institute in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in 2012, where she completed a PhD programme in Neuroscience in collaboration with the US National Institutes of Health until 2017. The biotechnologist then moved to George Washington University, USA, as a postdoctoral researcher. There she investigated the role of the tumour suppressor TP53 on epigenetic mechanisms, which trigger an immune response in cancer cells, in order to optimise anti-cancer therapies, especially immunotherapies. She then continued her impressive career in Germantown, Maryland, as the lead scientist and team leader for all corporate gene editing programmes using the pioneering CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors methodology.
In her leadership role, she supported the development and advancement of all gene editing programmes for immunotherapy and autoimmunity therapy platforms. Today, she is a team leader in an immunology & genome engineering start-up in Cambridge (UK), focusing on the development of next-generation immunotherapies for solid cancers.
As her motto, Elisa Arthofer chose a well-known quote by Samuel Beckett: “If you fail, try again. Fail again. Fail better.” For her, success means “seeing others thrive and succeed under my leadership”.
Brigitte Rest – Category: Special Commitment to IMC Krems
During her bachelor programme in Advanced Nursing Practice, Brigitte Rest focused on “Nursing Development and Patient Education”. One year before completing her bachelor’s degree, she began teaching for IMC FH Krems as an external lecturer in the programmes General Nursing and Advanced Nursing Practice. She has remained loyal to IMC Krems to this day. In recent years, she has been a member of the development team for the master programme Advanced Nursing Practice, head of the further education programme “Praxismentoring” in cooperation with AUVA, and interim head of the pedagogy module for the Advanced Nursing Practice bachelor programme*. For Brigitte Rest, success means “courageously breaking new ground”.
*ANP has been offered as a master’s programme since 2018.