7NEWS Young Achiever Awards - NSW/ACT

2022 Finalists

Spirit Super Create Change Award

Anhaar Kareem, 14 of Strathfield
offers free tuition in creative writing, public speaking and debating to help less fortunate members of the community who have no access to tutoring due to financial or cultural difficulties. Anhaar also runs Yellow Strawberry Earrings, a handmade earring business. She makes charity earrings, of which all proceeds go to charity. Anhaar recently received the Youth of the Year Award 2021

Angelique Wan – Consent Labs, 24 of Surry Hills co-founded a non-profit that revolutionises the discussion around sexual consent. From 2016 to 2018, Angelique and her co-founder focused on developing an evidence-based program, consulted and built relationships with experts and conducted focus group discussions for market research. In 2021, she left her corporate job to work full-time for Consent Labs. They have since reached 10,000 students and parents across Australia.

Lucy Fang, 19 of Marsfield founded KLAP, Australia’s first free online platform that directly connects urban high schools with primary schools having disadvantaged students struggling in reading. In 2017, Lucy lobbied the Federal Education Department to add community service-learning to the national curriculum. In 2020, she published an article to bring awareness to the public and government about the necessity of community service-learning, especially in times of crisis. 

Taylor Hawkins, 27 of Neutral Bay co-established Foundations for Tomorrow (FFT), an organisation on a mission to amplify the voices of young Australians to support the design of a more just, equitable and sustainable future Australia. Taylor led the single largest survey of young Australians, receiving over 10,000 responses. FFT also published the “Awareness to Action Report”, which articulated the future that young Australians want to see.



OSMEN Creative Design Award

Stephanie Weiss – Arula, 24 of Ultimo founded Arula, a social enterprise that designs 3D printed breast prostheses for women who have had mastectomies due to breast cancer. Stephanie has a background in product design and software development and is full-time biomedical engineer student. She has designed 3D printed breast prostheses custom fitted for weight, shape and movement for utmost comfort. The product is 100% rebated through Medicare.

Jordan Gogos, 27 of Elizabeth Bay is the founder and creative director of GOGOS and Iordanes Spyridon Gogos (ISG). ISG’s ‘Wearables for the imaginative’ is an experimental, non-gendered, innovative brand that approaches sustainability through practice-led design. GOGOS is the object-furniture brand that harnesses geometric and sculptural pieces crafted from aluminium. ISG is also an Australian Fashion Laureate Design Awards, Emerging Designer of the Year Awards 2022 finalist.

Esther Adeyinka - SHADIE BY EA, 25 of Sydney founded SHADIE BY EA, a black woman-owned small business that provides ethically made luxury intimates and essentials designed to match all skin tones and sizes. Products come with plastic-free packaging and are shipped using home-compostable bags. SHADIE BY EA has partnered with One Tree Planted, allowing customers to give back with every purchase. They have planted 35 trees as of 2021

Tania Zeine, 29 of Sydney founded Barja, an online capsule wardrobe catering for women size 12 to 26. Born to Lebanese parents and with Middle Eastern women as lifelong role models, Tania founded the label out of frustration on the lack of inclusivity in the mainstream fashion industry. Tania works with Brisbane-based wholesalers, selecting and modelling the clothes herself. She plans to design her own pieces soon.



Quattro Coffee Roasters Online Achievement Award

Isaiah Dawe, 27 of Darlington created ID Know Yourself, a not-for-profit mentoring organisation supporting Indigenous disadvantaged young people in the out-of-home care (OOHC) and Juvenile Justice system. They provide one-on-one mentoring support and group sessions. During the pandemic, they managed to keep all their young people engaged and connected to the culture via Zoom. They aim to reach 22,000 Aboriginal young people in OOHC across Australia.

Annabelle King, 19 of The Rocks is the social media manager of Sticky, her family’s confectionery manufacturer and retail business. After being hit hard by the pandemic, Annabelle created a TikTok account for Sticky to bring the art of candy-making to new platforms. They reached one million followers in the first month and now have over 5.6 million followers on Tik Tok. Annabelle also grew their YouTube subscribers close to over one million.

Bryce Cronin, 23 of Belconnen created to promote tech events happening around Australia, with a focus on STEM education and creating social good. He has used his engineering skills to win several international hackathons by creating apps and websites to improve people's lives. In 2020 he began designing low-cost robotics for classrooms and 3D-printable accessibility tools for disabled people. In 2021, Bryce was a Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Finalist.

Hannah Beder, 26 of Randwick is a technology educator who researches, develops and facilitates online courses in coding and technology. Hannah is a software engineer who works full-time as Tech Lead and Learning Designer at Creatable. She teaches creative technology to high school students, creates engineering and entrepreneurship syllabuses and develops professional development courses for teachers. In 2020, Hannah was awarded NSW Young Woman of the Year.



First National Real Estate Leadrership Award

Mandy Dante, 29 of Sydney is the founder and CEO of Flourish Girl, a charity that builds self-awareness, self-confidence and social connectedness in teenage girls. After noticing a gap in addressing teenage girls’ mental health issues, Mandy decided to leave her career as a Paediatric Speech Pathologist. During Covid lockdown, Mandy launched a series of online programs for schools and program demand grew by 124%.

Taylor Hawkins, 27 of Neutral Bay is a co-founder and the Managing Director for Foundations for Tomorrow, an organisation on a mission to amplify the voices of young Australians. Taylor has engaged more than 20 prominent Australian political and business leaders to respond directly to the views of young Australians. She also holds leadership roles in the Global Shapers Community, a global youth initiative of the World Economic Forum.

Darian Brooker, 24 of Kirrawee founded ‘We, Future Leaders’ to lead Australian kids to their highest potential through 1:1 and group mentoring. Darian grew up in foster care and moved schools 26 times. She uses her platform to raise awareness on mental health, domestic violence prevention and education for students in juvenile detention. Darian is driven to educate and empower 1 million youth by 2041.

Angelica Ojinnaka, 23 of Beaumont Hills is a Board Director for One Eight Inc. and a youth leader within the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She is a founding member of the African Australian Youth Suicide Prevention Committee, where she coordinated mental health campaign. Angelica is a youth activist for Plan International Australia and has co-authored a report on the experiences of girls and young women globally.



NSW Ministry of Health Public Health Pandemic Response Award


Sonya Clarke, 13 of Beaumont Hills used art to promote positive well-being in response to Covid. Sonya participated in the 2021 Immunisation Coalition Party Art Competition, winning 1st prize for her mixed art that encouraged the use of healthy preventative measures to stop the spread of airborne diseases. Her entry to the Sydney Local Health District Photograph Competition also encouraged people to focus on their mental health. 

Bridie O’Kelly, 18 of Hebersham created a video entitled “The COVID Acronym” was awarded 1st place for the 2021 Youth Voices Covid-19 Video Competition organised by Western Sydney Health. Her submission addressed the topic of looking after your wellbeing during the pandemic. The video was published on various media platforms, including vaccination clinics, informing the youth to prioritise their holistic wellbeing during pandemic and beyond.

Josefine Andrei, 27 of Moncreiff is responsible for delivering the Covid Safe Check-in and the Covid-19 digital certificate in the Service NSW App. Both programs focused on providing a customer-centric experience to assist businesses and customers to comply with the NSW’s public health orders to move around in a Covid-safe way. Josie worked with industries, partner agencies and internal teams and assisted in re-opening of the state.

Christopher Weekes, 25 of Sutherland is an Intensive Care Nurse who has worked in St. George Hospital ICU for the duration of the pandemic. During the four months of the Sydney 2021 lockdown, Chris cared entirely for Covid-positive patients requiring intensive care and ventilation. He learnt the specialised process of intubating a patient with Covid and became a team leader of the hospital-wide Covid Intubation Team.



Transgrid Indigenous Achievement Award


Corey Tutt, 29 of Port Macquarie founded DeadlyScience, a STEM charity that works with over 100 youth organisations and schools. He has created STEM resources, including books like First Scientists and a DeadlyScience series with cultural experiences that help young people understand Australia’s true history with science. Corey often travels to communities to mentor young people doing it tough whilst helping elders and raising money for families.

Lachlan Skinner, 26 of Coffs Harbour volunteers as a mentor to young Aboriginal children in a Goori Radio Program for teenagers aged 13 to 18. He volunteers for NAIDOC Week in Coffs Harbour, acting as Chairperson for the NAIDOC Planning Committee in the last three years. He recently supported the Aboriginal Community LGBTQI Group. In 2019, Lachlan was nominated for the Aunty Grace Roberts Community Development Award.

Isaiah Dawe, 27 of Darlington founded ID. Know Yourself (IDKY), a not-for-profit mentoring organisation supporting Aboriginal children in Out of Home Care. Isaiah is a proud Butchulla and Garawara Salt Water Aboriginal man who grew up in foster care. IDKY has supported 70 disadvantaged young people in the last three years. Their mission is to break the cycle by empowering culture, life skills, employment and education opportunities.

Seaneen Wallace, 26 of Caringbah joined the NSW Health Aboriginal Population Health Training Initiative at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network in 2020. She has since led the development and implementation of an Aboriginal Health Impact Statement, which ensures that new or existing policies considers the context and implications for Aboriginal people and help identify and improve barriers. In 2020 and 2021, she undertook case management and contact tracing.


Western Sydney University Academic Achievement Award

Avinesh Chelliah, 26 of Randwick graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine with Distinction and a Rural Clinical School Citizenship Prize. An aspiring surgeon, Dr Avinesh is currently a Craniofacial Research Fellow at the Sydney Children’s Hospital. He is also pursuing a Masters of Philosophy investigating Head and Neck Cancer Surgery. He has published research into paediatric cystic fibrosis-related diabetes in an international journal.

Matilda Harry, 23 of Kurrajong Heights is a high achieving doctoral research student in the Graduate Research School. Matilda is a proud Wiradjuri woman who graduated with Distinction from a Master of Teaching (Primary) in 2021. In 2020, she graduated with Distinction and a Dean’s Medal for being in the top 2% of the School of Education from a Dean’s Scholar Bachelor of Arts (Pathways to Teaching)

Shokofa Karimi, 25 of Chester Hill is a refugee from Afghanistan who is the first person in her family to attend university. In 2020, she attained an ‘A’ in all her subjects despite not having English as her native language. She is enrolled in a Bachelor of Biotechnology but will switch to Nursing to follow her passion for helping people and to contribute directly to the community.

Kasimir Gregory, 29 of Braddon performed during his PhD studies research that involved using Quantum Chemistry to quantify a 130-year-old problem on why different salts behave as they do. The parameter he developed can revolutionise the field of specific ion effects that applies to biological systems. Kasimir has presented his work at over 30 local, national and international conferences in the course of his PhD.


Aborginal Education Council Aboriginal Education Award

Oliver Pike, 22 of Kensington has worked closely with Indigenous uni students as a tutor at UNSW, where he studies Fine Arts and Secondary Education. Oliver was an executive member of the UNSW Indigenous Students Association. He holds roles such as director of Arc, an organisation that aims to provide the best student experience, and Student Fellow and Undergraduate representative on the NSW Academic Board.

Tyarna Larkin, 26 of Tweed Heads West created Currie Country Education programs in 2020, applying her passion, skills and talents at a critical time. She has been developing and improving Currie Country Indigenous education online programs, making them accessible, available, and easy to use for families and communities. Her effort led to Currie Country being 28/100 in the state within the Good Food Guide 2020. Tyarna graduated with a Bachelor in Social Work (Honours).

Baihe Butcher, 25 of Scone a proud Kamilaroi Wonnarua woman is an Aboriginal Education Teacher, who works closely with First Nation students building a strong connection to culture. Baihe runs cultural sessions teaching the Gamilaraay language, weaving, dance, art, dreaming stories yarning. Baihe provides professional learning to staff to build their confidence to deliver quality and culturally authentic lessons and incorporate Aboriginal Perspectives into everyday teaching.

Zoe Allan, 26 of Quirindi has been the Aboriginal Education Officer at Walhallow Public School for six years. She has taken many certificates at TAFE, including Certificates 1, 11 and 111 in Aboriginal Languages (Gamilaraay) and Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid. She is currently completing a Certificate IV in Education Support. Zoe has obtained a traineeship as an Early Childhood educator and worked as preschool coordinator.


Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award

Jasmine Seidel, 12 of New Lambton Heights is a Year 7 student who has raised over $8,000 for the John Hunter Children’s Hospital Oncology Ward and other charities in the last five years. She has undertaken physical challenges, run cake stalls, created online social media awareness campaigns and performed odd jobs to raise money. She has organised gift collection campaigns to provide Christmas gifts for local disability organisations.

Sarah Williams, 20 of Cookshill established “What Were You Wearing” (WWYW), an organisation aiming to give voice to survivors of sexual assault, create further awareness and make a legal change. In 2021, she developed a form to allow survivors to tell their stories anonymously and received 9,678 stories. Through WWYW, Sarah developed Australia’s first-ever exhibition on sexual assault. She currently studies a Bachelor of Law and Communications

Mariam Mohammed, 28 of Sydney co-founded MoneyGirl - a financial literacy social enterprise that delivers Australia's first, and only, evidence-based financial education course for women. MoneyGirl has educated over 250 young women across the country, reinvesting profits to create scholarships for First Nations and refugee women. Having moved to Australia as a 19-year-old escaping gendered violence, Mariam is dedicated to uplifting women and empowering other changemakers to do the same.

Heidi Stewart, 22 of Port Macquarie is a Headspace Youth Reference Group Member and Psychology Masters Student who has supported the youth community of Port Macquarie throughout 2021. Through Covid-19 lockdowns, she assisted in the development of an online social interaction program, to assist young people in isolated situations. Despite the workload of university studies, she volunteered her time wholeheartedly throughout the year; never missing headspace youth advocates meetings, youth forums or community events. She is passionate about changing the lives of others and encourages others to step up and speak out.

Qoin Small Business Achiever Award

Ryan Lecchi - Type Strong, 24 of Mayfield East founded his business in 2020 after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Type Strong sells an adhesive patch that covers and protects diabetes sensors and Constant Glucose Monitors. Ryan worked with Hunter Diabetes Centre to get feedback to optimise the design. Type Strong donates $1 from every online sale to an Australian diabetes foundation. Their products are also sold in the UK.

Angelique Wan – Consent Labs, 24 co-founded a not-for-profit that revolutionises the discussion around consent. Angelique and her co-founder Dr Joyce Yu developed an evidence-based and intersectional consent education program for young people in high schools and tertiary institutions, their parents and educators. In 2021, Consent Labs reached 10,000 students across Australia. Angelique has also been recognised as 2022 NSW Young Women of the Year.

Emma Peat - Daily Dough Co, 20 of Tumbi Umbi started her doughnuts business after losing her jobs at the start of the pandemic. She has opened a second store and pop-up stores in shopping centres. From eight staff, Emma now employs 38 people in total, all from the local community. She has invested all profits back into improving the business. Emma was an Australian Small Business Awards 2021 finalist. 

Karla Jacob - Storybook Party Co, 23 of Lake Haven is the owner and managing director of a kids’ party venue and entertainment company that is allowing young performing artists an opportunity to work in a professional environment with paid work. From being run out from a garage, Karla has transformed her business to having custom kids party venue that offers immersive theatre style parties, including a speciality Dinosaur Experience.