NEW SOUTH WALES

7NEWS Young Achiever Awards - NSW/ACT

2019 Finalists

NSW Deputy Premier's Regional Achiever Award

Annabelle Smith, 16 of Broulee has a passion for community. As part of the Youth Frontiers Mentor Scheme, Annabelle created ‘The Inclusive Sports Day’ for students with disabilities and mental illnesses, to have fun, be involved and get active. She was actively involved in the NSW Youth Parliament, voicing her passion for youth with disabilities. Annabelle contributes to the local Surf Life Saving club as an Age Manager for the Under 9 age group. She teaches them how to perform rescues and to be safe at the beach. Recently Annabelle has been accepted into the Rotary Youth Exchange Program where she will study abroad for 12 months.

Jessica Duncan, 23 of Moree is the youngest female to be on the Aboriginal Medical Service Board. She has volunteered hundreds of hours to the Moore Reconciliation Week Committee, helping to co-ordinate the event and MC at the Awards night. She was the key note speaker at the NAIDOC week opening ceremony and undertook a speech about the importance of languages. Jessica can speak the Kamilaroi language and is an advocate of the Kamilaroi family history. Jessica created her own charity organisation called DONATE FOR DIGNITY, helping the women’s refuge and hospital provide care packs to over 300 disadvantaged or homeless people.

Joshua Gilbert, 27 of Buladelah is a Worimi man who combines his environmental and agricultural knowledge with Indigenous wisdom and values to tackle climate change. He was invited to take part in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, resulting in the ‘Australia’s Young Green Farmers’ video, viewed in 75 countries by over 100 million people. Josh is the Co-founder of Australian Farmers for Climate Change, calling for urgent climate action to ensure a prosperous future for rural and regional Australia. He has received multiple conservation and sustainability awards and is on the boards of Bridging the Gap, Intrepid Landcare, and NESP Earth Systems and Climate Change.

Martha Gouniai, 29 of Broken Hill moved to Broken Hill in 2015 to volunteer on behalf of the Baha’i Faith. Working predominantly with the local Indigenous community, Martha set up youth empowerment programs and neighbourhood activities. Martha created the Western Landcare Youth Network, a program providing mentoring and training to young people interested in a future in agriculture. Martha sourced the funding and sponsorship, wrote the policies, organised logistics and undertook workshops. The program supports and mentors 20 young people each year’ to build skills whilst developing their personal capacities. Martha is also Vice President on the Broken Hill Soccer Association Board… Congratulations Martha

Western Sydney University Academic Achievement Award

Dr Anosh Sivashanmugarajah, 28 of Greenacre graduated in 2015 with a 'Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery' Degree with an Academic Medal, the Dr. David Graham Prize & the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Prize. He is currently a Medical Registrar at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and is completing a ‘Masters of Internal Medicine’. Anosh is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Medicine at University of Sydney, University of Queensland and James Cook University. He was a 2017 NSW Junior Medical Officer of the Year Award Finalist. Anosh is currently pursuing a research project on ‘Statin Intolerance’, with the aim of publishing the results soon.

HY William Chan, 29 of Camperdown has worked towards urban sustainability through architecture and social innovation for over 10 years. A Convocation and University Medallist, William has led community-building projects for the homeless, slum dwellers and refugees around the world. His design solutions have been showcased across 40 cities globally and recognised by over 90 industry accolades. Recently, he founded a plastic waste circular economy initiative that educates youth in design-thinking and STEM skills, which was presented at the 2018 UN General Assembly. Named one of Australia’s ‘Brightest Young Minds’, William is a Fellow of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and volunteers as a surf lifesaver at Tamarama Beach.

Samantha Bobba, 27 of Wentworthville has completed a Masters of Public Health and is dedicated to improving health outcomes in Indigenous communities. A senior resident medical officer, she has contributed to advancing knowledge of ocular stem cell therapy and early screening for keratoconus. Samantha has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications and presented at over 10 scientific conferences. She is committed to education, and leads health workshops for Indigenous primary school children and tutorials for medical students within her role as a Conjoint Associate Lecturer. In recognition of her clinic skills and compassion, she was awarded Junior Doctor of the Year at her hospital.

Victoria Pham, 22 of Lewisham is an archaeologist, composer and artist. She holds a Bachelor of Music Studies, Composition and a Bachelor of Arts, Archaeology/Art History. She has received many awards, prizes and scholarships and was the youngest person to present independent research in the Australian Museum Research Institute’s Annual Seminar. Victoria has worked with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History as a researcher, photographer and illustrator and has had field experience in Mongolia and Sri Lanka. Her first solo fieldwork project is in Catalonia as an Olwen Tudor Jones Scholar. Victoria specialises in prehistoric archaeo-acoustics, focusing on analysing auditory and sonic environments.

NSW Department of Education Early Childhood Educator Award

Noelle Tsang, 29 of North Ryde has a Masters of Teaching and is the Centre Manager/Nominated Supervisor at the Montessori Academy, Macquarie Park. Her enthusiasm and unflagging desire to improve herself is admired by staff and parents. Noelle seeks to create new educational ideas for her team and involves staff in brainstorming new activities. Both staff and children benefit from her approach to learning and development as a result. Noelle was instrumental in developing the ‘Emotional Project’ which focuses on promoting positive emotions in children and helping them to express how they feel towards one another. Other centres have now implemented the ‘Emotional Project’ program.

Lauren Welch, 26 of Bolwarra has created two successful early childhood learning centres. They have state of the art play spaces and are filled with meaningful natural resources to foster learning and development. Lauren created policies and procedures and researched to ensure that the children are receiving the most in-depth and current strategies and theories in regards to educational development. She is currently creating an app for parents, carers and educators to provide a detailed and accurate reflection of the child's individual learning development. Her centres hold regular markets for local vendors, aged care education days, family barbeques, grandparents’ day and charity fundraising days.

Niki Ficsor, 25 of Silverwater is an Early Childhood Educator at Victoria Avenue Children’s Centre. She develops individual education plans for each of the children in her room, considering their interests and in consultation with their families. Niki’s ‘minibeasts up close’ program had children investigating insects whilst incorporating key developmental areas. Mathematics through weight, age, counting and social skills via communication about insects and working in teams to complete scavenger hunts on excursions. Curriculums Niki has developed include ,‘Tiny Tails’ encounters, embedded sustainability, inclusive practices, successful school transition programs, and the development of the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Program.

Rebecca Linfoot, 22 of Frogs Hollow is an Early Childhood educator at Bermagui Preschool. Her ideas are innovative and have a transformative effect on the long term vision for the Preschool. Rebecca doesn’t rely upon a reprocessed or existing approach, but is always looking to develop new ideas and concepts. This has included enhancing Aboriginal perspective by promoting the local Yuin culture and language. She encourages sustainability in the Preschool by contributing ideas to sustainable gardens, recycling, reusing and reducing. Rebecca recently contributed to fundraising for the Moodji Cultural Garden Project, has been involved in the Bermagui Sea Side Fair and also facilitated a Vacation Care Program.

First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Joe Harris, 22 of Matraville is founder of Gratitude, a startup focusing on building technology to assist clinical psychologists with mental health treatments. Gratitude was accepted into the Young Social Pioneers Incubator 2017 cohort. He mentors scholar students and aims to change the way we approach mental health treatment, globally. Joe has received several scholarships to work in China and Singapore with startup accelerators, assisting them as a software contractor and helping them raise hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding. Joe has recently returned from the University Scholars' Leadership Symposium at the United Nations in Bangkok to discuss the future of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Joshua Gilbert, 27 of Gloucester established the NSW Young Farmers Council and was instrumental in securing over $500,000 in funding for the organisation. He is a volunteer firefighter for the Rural Fire Service and an Australian Red Cross volunteer. Joshua is on the Board for Intrepid Landcare, The Tucker Patch Gloucester, Bridging the Gap and the NESP Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub. He was also the founder of Farmers for Climate Action and has recently stepped down from the board after turning it into a successful charity. Josh was named as one of 16 Young Entrepreneurs Revolutionizing Food and Farming.

Kate Fitzsimons, 26 of Cronulla is the Director of the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation, established in honour of her sister who died in an accident. Determined to save others from her sisters’ fate, she stopped working in 2013 to dedicate herself to educating about the importance of travel safety, through an eye-opening school presentation. Kate teaches students about building resilience during challenging times. Being described as ‘life-changing’ and ‘unforgettably inspiring’, her presentations have reached over 60,000 students at over 200 schools around Australia. She is a Motivational Speaker, Certified Life Coach, one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence and the 2018 Cronulla Woman of the Year.

Usman Iftikhar, 28 of Darlington is a global systems thinker and social entrepreneur. In 2016, he created Catalysr to support refugees and migrants to create startups. He has so far supported 66 migrapreneurs with 14 startups. Usman was part of the Australian Delegation to G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance Summit in Berlin to advocate for better mobility, education and smart taxation schemes. He has worked alongside the technology giants in Silicon Valley to come up with bold solutions for climate change. He is currently working on Democratisation of Outer-Space, with two other co-founders to design the world’s first solar power satellite, to be launched in 2020.

NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation - Innovation Award

Angelina Arora, 16 of Glen Alpine is an environmental scientist, innovator and inventor of a biodegradable plastic. Made completely of waste it decomposes 1.5 million times faster than conventional plastics, significantly reducing the amount of pollution caused by plastics. She is currently researching micro plastics in fish which could potentially be entering our food chain. Angelina speaks at environmental events, in television and print, where she advocates for a sustainable future and raises awareness about plastic pollution. She wants to encourage more young people and women to engage in STEM subjects and careers. She received a green globe award and fourth place in the World Science Olympics.

Damian Veling, 27 of Petersham is the co-founder of Okra Solar, a startup using cutting-edge “Internet of Things” technology to bring solar energy to off-grid communities globally. Around 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity, and Okra aims to reach as many as possible with clean, reliable and affordable solar energy. Damian and his team have transformed this initiative to a successful startup with over $400,000 in funding. Currently, 80 off-grid families in Cambodia are using Okra Solar. They have won worldwide accolades and awards such as the POWERACE 2018 Start-Up Competition and the Eurelectric 2018 - "Most disruptive Energy Company” award.

Matthew Childs, 26 of Strathfield is an entrepreneur. He has launched eight successful start-ups, which combined, generate over 3 million dollars revenue each year. His first start up was the successful Wine Stash, making professional wine storage affordable and available to everyone. Last year he was the first Australian to be selected for the prestigious Innovation Fellowship program at Stanford University. The 12 month course covered innovation fundamentals and advanced design thinking processes. Matthew is now focused on automation and is currently working on his charity, “The One Dollar Tree” which aims to plant 1 million trees across Sydney each year.

Rowan Smith, 23 of Peter is studying Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. After watching his grandmother experience a difficult rehabilitation after her stoke due to a shortage of physiotherapists, he cofounded Tech Gym. Tech Gym uses robotics to assist the rehabilitation process. A robotic arm is programmed to operate a series of rehabilitation games and exercises. Through the use of gamification and music therapy, Tech Gym creates a fun and immersive experience that improves patient motivation and self-independence. Tech Gym was a finalist in the 2018 Virginia Tech Global Entrepreneurs Challenge. They were one of the 16 out of 105 startups nominated at the UTS Startup Awards.

Scouts NSW/ACT Youth Development Award

Marcus Saint, 28 of Turramurra is an outstanding, supportive, empathetic and encouraging mentor of young children. He has been a volunteer Scout Leader for six years and has been instrumental in the 1st Turramurra Scout Group maintaining the highest standards in scouting. He nurtures, cares, teases, encourages and challenges the scouts to achieve their best. Marcus led the scouts to three Jamboree’s and group trips to Kakadu and the Kimberly’s. Marcus works as a Social Worker for Treehouse Innovative Families, an in home care for children who have experienced trauma. He has assisted in building development programs to develop coping mechanisms and improve behavior management.

Meg Cummins, 21 of Avondale is the youngest State Commissioner for Scouts NSW. She assists the State Youth Council, running youth awards and forums. Meg was instrumental in creating change in Rwanda as Assistant Project Manager to a Humanitarian Engineering project, she also spent a month in Borneo helping at an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. As a member of the National Youth Council, she redesigned the Youth Program, raised awareness for Climate Change and advocated for 17 Sustainable Development Goals. She also led Team UOW Australia's Interior Design team to produce a world class sustainable dementia-friendly house. In her spare time, she helps raise orphaned joey kangaroos.

Tianna Graham, 17 of Limeburners Creek is a proud Worimi/ Durrick woman and is strongly passionate about her culture. She completed a Certificate 1 in the Gathang language and spent many hours with local people and Elders developing her language skills into song. She is an active member the Navy Cadets and was recently hand-picked to sail on the “Young Endeavor” as a state representative. She was a leader in the 2018 NAIDOC events and implemented the local Gathang language into numerous schools and community everts. Through her role with the Dyiyagan Dhanbann (Strong Women) women’s group, she aided the development of indigenous programs into schools.

Mitchell Harvey, 23 of Woolgoolga is the Deputy Unit Commander at Marine Rescue Woolgoolga. He has worked with the unit for more than seven years, amassing over 5,000 hours of volunteer service. Mitchell has been instrumental in the units training and development. As the first qualified Radio Operator, he was responsible for training the remaining 15 crew members up to the required standard, to meet State Rescue Board requirements. He has been responsible for developing countless training aids and resources, making the unit more efficient and compliant. Mitchell has been responsible for the training of close to 50 radio operators, 10 watch officer and 50 trainee crew members.

Western Sydney University Science and Technology Award

Aj Verma, 26 of North Ryde was a founding team member for the first solar car project at Western Sydney University. In the past six years, he has built teams, raised funds and developed technology for building world class solar vehicles. Recently, his team won 1st place in the world solar challenge. Aj is currently working in a small startup focused on brushless motor controllers for electric vehicles. They have product lines focused on unmanned and manned aircraft, and have collaborated with companies such as Google. He was recently interviewed with SpaceX for a position in their engineering team, and hopes to be part of this revolution.

Domenic Raneri, 29 of North Strathfield is a forensic scientist who has adapted technology from the mining industry to develop new 3D capabilities for the NSW Police. This has enabled the capture of evidence and crime scenes of any size with incredible detail, permitting the novel analysis of evidence in the 3D space. Crime scenes can now be virtually explored by any Police Officer, and complex incidents reconstructed to reveal new information about what has occurred. Domenic’s evidence was instrumental in the investigation to reveal what occurred inside the Lindt Café Siege, allowing the Coroner and public to thoroughly understand how the incident unfolded.

Macinley Butson, 18 of Mangerton is an inventor. Her invention, the “Spoonge” accurately measures and delivers medicine without the risk of overdosing or underdosing. Her ‘SMART Armour’ project looks at improving outcomes for radiotherapy breast cancer patients. This year, Macinley has invented the SMART System, an improvement to the SMART Armour to further improve aspects of radiotherapy treatment. She has also invented the SODIS Sticker, a device to show when water in developing communities has successfully been disinfected of biological pathogens. In 2017, Macinley became the first ever Australian to win first place in the world in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair.

Lisa & Zoe Paisley, 23 of Arcadia are co-founders Aggie Global, an agricultural consulting business addressing food security and poverty in developing countries. Starting in Fiji, they are connecting smallholder farmers to resources and expertise to improve farmer income and ensure a consistent supply of quality food in a sustainable manner. One farmer had in just three months, increased his weekly crop income from $200 to $1,000. Lisa and Zoe are developing an application to connect farmers to buyers and suppliers, whilst providing tailored advice to farmers in remote areas. This will allow them to reach millions of farmers living in poverty around the world.

Aboriginal Education Council Aboriginal Education Award

Isaiah Dawe, 23 of Redfern is the founder of “ID. Know Yourself”, a mentoring initiative for young Aboriginal people in foster. ID. Know Yourself helps young people know where they came from, what they can achieve, and to know that they can be a solution to any problem. Isaiah is the ABSEC Youth Ambassador 2016-2018, representing and introducing recommendations on current policy and procedures to Government on behalf of all Aboriginal young people in ‘out of home care’. He has won many awards and been invited to the USA National Indigenous International leadership Exchange Program and the 2018 National First People’s Congress World Indigenous Business Forum.

Kayla White, 28 of Kew has a double degree of Diploma of Aboriginal Education and a Bachelor in Education. She is a proud Biripi women and is in her second year of teaching at Camden Haven High School. She is a strong advocate for Aboriginal Education and is the coordinator for the Aboriginal Education distance learning module. Kayla has implemented and led many programs including the “NAIDOC Road Show” which was a program taken to students allowing them the opportunity to celebrate their culture. She volunteers and is an active member of her local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and represents her community at the regional meetings.

Lily Ferres, 25 of Wilcannia has a Masters in Design Technologies and Visual Communication and is a teacher at Wilcannia Central School. She first started working across many subjects including mathematics where she devised a program based on cooking to engage the students. Through her efforts, the students learnt many practical skills. Lily empowered them to create art works for an exhibition in Broken Hill featuring photographs, landscape painting, textiles and jewellery. She helped the students establish a car wash day to raise funds for a trip to Sydney and taught practical skills such as sewing so they could make their own pajamas for the trip.

Tamika Worrell, 23 of Marayong is undertaking a Master of Research. Her thesis focusses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives being embedded in the English classroom. She is a published author, having contributed to Anita Heiss' 'Growing up Aboriginal in Australia' anthology, as well as various educational resources. She delivers Indigenous programs at the Australian Museum and as a Program officer at Reconciliation Australia, promotes the Narragunnawalli reconciliation program to schools. She is currently the Chairperson of Youth Action NSW's Board of Governors. Tamika is the Aboriginal Academic Engagement Coordinator at Macquarie University, engaging and assisting students on their tertiary journeys.

Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award

Mikaela Sutherland, 22 of Sans Souci volunteers for more than 300 hours a year. She is a regular blood donor and has organised fundraising initiatives for cerebral palsy and cancer research. She volunteers for the Mirabelle Foundation who assist children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental substance abuse. Mikaela also volunteers at ‘Plates 4 Mates’, providing food for the homeless. She is Director of Lifesaving for Wanda Surf Life Saving Club and the Youth Development Officer for Surf Life Saving Sydney. Mikaela has been an active member of Toastmasters International for two years and sits on the executive committee of the “Professional Women Sydney” club.

Annabelle Smith, 16 of Broulee volunteers with Moruya Special Nippers and Broulee Dolphins Access Rugby, both programs supporting children and adults with disabilities. She is the chairperson of the Moruya High School Student Representative Council and a member of the Eurobodalla Shire Youth committee. She also participates in Peer Tutoring, supporting struggling students to remain engaged in education. Annabelle participated in the NSW Youth Parliament, where she voiced her passion for youth with disabilities. As part of the Youth Frontiers Mentor Scheme, Annabelle created ‘The Inclusive Sports Day’, an opportunity for students with disabilities and mental illnesses to have fun, be involved and get active.

Brooke Murray, 21 of Narellan Vale supports multiple charities relating to women, children and mental health. Following recovery from mental illness, Brooke has dedicated herself to supporting others and raising awareness. She has raised over $2,500 for mental health charities to date. She started a social media campaign #whatkeepsmewellcampaign, aiming to flood social media with the various sources of support for positive mental health and wellbeing. Brooke speaks to students about mental illness and uses newspaper, social media and radio to expand on her advocacy. She is also an ambassador for The Crowned Journey Foundation, a nonprofit that helps raise awareness to stop sexual violence.

Meg Cummins, 21 of Avondale advocates for youth involvement and works towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The youngest State Commissioner for Scouts NSW, Meg is a strong leader and effective communicator, and quickly gains the respect of her peers and other youth members. She was instrumental in creating change in Rwanda as Assistant Project Manager to a Humanitarian Engineering project and lived in Borneo for a month to assist with maintenance in an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Meg volunteers with local Wildlife Rescue Organisations, hand-raising and rehabilitating orphaned Kangaroo Joeys. Meg is the youth representative on the University of Wollongong’s Global Challenge grant ‘Sustainable Development Goal’.