Northern Territory Young Achiever Awards

2023 Finalists


Spirit Super Connecting Communities Award

Hajrah Kamran provides a safe space where young people can voice their opinions. Hajrah is the Youth Coordinator of the Nisaa Project, a program of the United Muslims of Northern Territory. The Project was made to increase awareness to reduce the rate of domestic violence in NT. Hajrah organises and facilitates fortnightly youth sessions, creating a safe environment to help address relevant issues.

Jacob Nichaloff pka J-MILLA aims to be a role model to the youth. J-MILLA is a rapper and a proud member of the Mak Mak Marranungu people. Since 2019, he has visited over 20 schools and remote communities across the country. J-MILLA has delivered workshops and performances to uplift students and help them understand the importance of choosing a healthy pathway and creating dreams.

Jaylene Friel is a proud Murrinh-Patha and Arrernte woman working at Menzies. She primarily works on the Aboriginal and Islander Mental health initiative (AIMhi) for Youth Project, which provides support for First Nations young people to address key risk factors for youth suicide through early intervention. Jaylene was involved in resource development and promotion of the newly developed AIMhi-Y app and support package.

The GG Social Club is breaking down the negative stigma that gaming and youth has. A Charles Darwin University student-affiliated group, they engage youth and the community through good gaming practices. Since its development, the Club has supported charities with their activities, raising over $2,000. They also support local businesses through sponsorship partnerships and work with government organisations to bring free events to their community.


NT Government Young Carers Award

Chrissie Taylor has been caring for Amanda, her sister with autism, since Chrissie was seven years old. She made sure to look after Amanda when they were younger as she would wander off. Chrissie now helps Amanda prepare meals and reminds her when it’s time for school and bed. Chrissie was also there for her sister when their mother had breast cancer.

Khalehla Cartwright cares for her younger sister, Emmeline, who is diagnosed with a rare chromosomal condition called Dup15q that leads to developmental and behavioural delays. As a carer, Khalehla reminds Emmeline to use hygienic products, washes her hair, and ensures to give her medications. Emmeline needs 24/7 supervision to ensure she is safe and well. Khalehla also cares for her three younger siblings.

Precilla Campbell has been caring for her mum Kate for the past 2 years. Kate suffers from a rare disease, Beurgers disease. This condition brings extreme pain to hands, fingertips and feet and is untreatable. Precilla has stepped up to all parent duties. Kate is unable to do washing, cleaning, preparing meals, grocery and anything physical. Precilla and her brother John help with Kate’s day to day Selfcare.

Uxel Mason cares for his brothers and father with varying needs. Uxel’s brother, Igen, has severe autism, while his other brother, Omri, has high-functioning autism. Uxel also assists his father who suffered an injury that reduced his ability to use his right arm and leg. He is very committed and has been involved in activities catered primarily for his brothers’ development.


Glencore McArthur River Mining Regional and Rural Initiative Award

Alexandra Craig is the acting Company Secretary/Legal and Governance Manager at Congress, one of Australia's largest Aboriginal community-controlled primary health organisations. She is a member of multiple tribunals, ministerially appointed committees, and organisations, including ASYASS Inc., which assists homeless youth in Alice Springs. Alexandra is pursuing a Master of Law and is dedicated to improving her central Australian community.

Bradley Hector is helping increase employment outcomes for young Indigenous people. Bradley works as a station hand at Brunette Downs Station. Through his employment with the Australian Agricultural Company, he is able to influence non-Indigenous workers by sharing cultural knowledge to improve respect. Bradley is also a participant and an ambassador for the Pastoral Real Jobs Program, which provides employment opportunities on pastoral properties.

Matthew Grant uses art to promote Central Australia’s landscape, art scene and economy. He enters and has judged the Advocate Art Award held at the Araluen Arts Centre annually. He’s held three solo art shows about Native Flora and Central Australian Conservation to promote land care. Matt was also on the board of Youth Action Group, where he facilitated art programs for the youth.

Ryan Cooney is always looking for innovative ways to give back to the community. Ryan works for Catholic Education NT as the Manager Human Resources and Safety. He leads a team of professionals to deliver essential services to the community. Ryan is the founder and sole director of Fair Go Association, an organisation dedicated to providing free legal services to those unfairly treated in the workplace.


Zip Print Sport Award

Carlito Dante Rodrigues was the first Territorian and Indigenous Kickboxer to represent Australia. He holds multiple Queensland and NT titles, was the first WBC NT champion, World Silver Medallist, Is the current Light Middleweight Australian Champion and from 2018-2022 was ranked #2 cruiserweight in the world. Dante is an advocate for mental health and continues to be a role model for other young people in his community

Clarence (CJ) McCarthy-Grogan is showing that anything is possible. CJ is a member of the Australian Rollers Squad, the national wheelchair basketball team. He was a student-athlete who played for the University of Texas in Arlington, 3x United States Intercollegiate National Champion, 2022 National Champion, and a Finals MVP. CJ has done much work with Darwin Basketball Association, Basketball NT, and Disability Sports NT.

Romone Lewin is a role model in the Indigenous and para-athletic communities. Romone has represented the NT in Athletics Sprinting and Long Jump at the Australian All Schools Championships, Australian National Athletics Championships, and regularly at the NT Athletics Championships. Romone survived a horrific accident in 2015 and was advised by a medical specialist to enrol in athletics for his health and well-being.

Thomas Owens is passionate about mentoring youth, with or without disabilities. In 2022, he competed in the Australasian Frame Running Camp and Cup, winning gold medals in the 100m and 200m. He also won gold in Seated Club Throw at the 2022 NT Championships. Thomas also volunteers as an assistant coach for the Darwin Buffaloes U16 boys team, his local AFL club.


McDonalds NT Career Achievement Award

Erika Mae Lu passionately pursues a career that serves others. Erika's a Data Analyst and Team Leader for the NT Government. She’s also part of the Public Sector Innovation Program. Outside work, Erika’s a volunteer mentor and leads YPRNT’s “Coaching for the Emerging Future” program. She raises funds for many not-for-profit organisations including Starlight Children’s Foundation and is Darwin’s Young Citizen of the Year.

Jade Hatt is assisting Indigenous people with compliance and governance of Aboriginal Corporations. Jade is the Coordinator of the Aboriginal Associations Management Centre (AAMC), a department of the Central Land Council. As Coordinator, Jade helps manage over 100 Aboriginal Corporations and Associations that receive royalty money, hold title to land or manage enterprises. Jade earned a business degree from the University of South Australia.

Sean Guy has been working at the Bookshop Darwin for over eleven years. In his time there, he has demonstrated creativity, innovation, and a genuine passion to support and engage with the community. In his career as an author/playwright, he has written four successful books, joined the Darwin Theatre Company board, and had plays performed around the country.

Shannon Kieran is inspiring young Territorians to consider a career in STEM. Shannon is a structural engineer at Aurecon, where she provides design, leadership, and construction support services. She was a primary/lead designer for the Banksian House Restoration Project and the CDU Education and Community Precinct Project. In 2022, Shannon received the National Young Designer Award from the Australian Steel Institute.


Colemans Contracting & Earthmoving Agriculture Award

Ali Quintana Manager at Allawah Station, is responsible for CPC's genetics program and main stud herd. She's a member of YLEN, Livestock Leaders, and Future NTCA and emphasises the importance of learning all aspects of the industry. Ali's passion, adaptability, and expertise in networking, genetic development, export, and to plate food production make her a valuable asset to the Agriculture Industry.

Chloe Grant is a driven advocate for the live export industry. Chloe works as NT Cattlemen’s Association Biosecurity Liaison Officer. She is an executive member of the Young Livestock Exporters Association and is the first and only female under 30 to obtain a live export license. Chloe also helped bring together the agricultural sectors to provide an “Ag Hub” at the NT Show Circuit.

Jeremy Scott is passionate about developing young staff. Jeremy has been working in the Northern beef industry for over ten years. Starting as a ringer, he now manages and trains a team of 40+ staff as Assistant Manager. His most recent responsibility is assisting in the ongoing planning and implementation of a 5-year multi-million-dollar CAPEX fencing and water infrastructure development program.

Sarah Hain has helped improve farmers’ access to industry support, production techniques and best management practices by developing unique business and client development, and tropical production agronomy skillsets. Sarah was the first Industry Development Officer for the NT/WA region for the Australian Mango Industry Association and is now the agronomist for Cotton Grower Services across the Northern Territory.


Aurizon Indigenous Achievement Award

Clarence (CJ) McCarthy-Grogan is breaking down social barriers for others. CJ is a wheelchair basketball player. He has worked as an athlete, coach, ambassador and role model for the Darwin Basketball Association, Basketball NT, and Disability Sports NT. IN 2021, he received the National NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year Award. CJ graduated with a Bachelor of Science in University Studies and Minor in Disability Studies.

Jacob pka J-MILLA Nichaloff is committed to inspiring the Northern Territory youth. J-MILLA is a proud Mak Mak Marranungu man. He has mentored four boys who needed guidance. Together, they wrote, recorded and produced a song and film clip. In 2022, he won the NT Music Youth Song of the Year Award. In 2023, NT News named him among the NT Most Powerful Social Media Influencers.

Jaylene Friel is helping improve youth access to health and social care. Jaylene is a proud Murrinh-Patha and Arrernte woman who works as a Youth Project Officer at Menzies. She was a co-lead at the 2021 Menzies Youth Health Summit, which sought to highlight key issues of young people. Jaylene has a Certificate II in Community Health Research and Certificate III in Business.

Kirra Voller is an advocate for Indigenous Youth. Kirra helped develop the Desert Divas Program after realising that she wanted to help make the program available for generations to come. The Program offers Indigenous women a platform to sing, song-write, collaborate, connect with others, and pursue their dreams in music. Kirra advocates for youth in detention or at risk of being incarcerated.


Minister for Youth Excellence in Youth Leadership Award

Hajrah Kamran is passionate about addressing issues impacting young people. She is the Youth Coordinator at the United Muslims of Northern Territory, where she organises fortnightly youth sessions and assists in the Nisaa Tackling Domestic Violence Project. Hajrah is the president of the CDU Student Council for 2023. She previously served as secretary alumni of the 2022 NT Youth Round Table.

Izzy Craven is a dedicated youth advocate who has been volunteering for eight years. Izzy is a member of the Palmerston Local Drug and Action Team, where she created and managed “let’s talk about it”, an informational booklet that provided information on things like types of abuse, cyberbullying and understanding pronouns. She is currently a Headspace Ambassador and LAUNCH Media Team member.

Jordon Humphreys Is a strong advocate for disability, mental health and prevention of bullying. He is Vice Captain of McKay House at St Philip’s College, where he presents House Meetings, and mentors and coaches younger students. He was a member of the 2022 NT Youth Round Table and is the current co-chair of the NT Youth Strategy Project Reference Group

Shanae Kuo Science Teacher by day, Founder and President of The Good Games Social Club at night, Shanae aims to make both in and out of the classroom fun and inclusive for all. She also creates connections between not-for-profit, government and community groups to increase engagement and breakdown the negative stereotypes of NT youth, through good gaming practices and through sharing positive youth media stories.


NT Government Small Business Achievement Award

Ebony Anderson founded Ebony Rose Hair Design in 2019 with a holistic vision that goes beyond hairdressing. Her sustainable salon recycles products and donates to local women's shelters. Profits also go to sponsoring local non-profits like Paws Darwin and Palmerston Women's AFL team, as well as supporting four children in Uganda. Ebony's positive impact has been felt both locally and globally.

Royal Existence Dance Academy was launched in 2018. The studio now impacts the lives of over 360 students and their families, and represents the NT at National Competitions. Royal Existence offers the largest schedule in the NT with over 70 classes each week including recreational and performance streams. Samantha is a regular sponsor of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries and two Compassion children.

Shauny Edwards is a proud Larrakia man who founded House of Darwin, a social enterprise where all the funds raised are used for social programs in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. They sell unisex tees, caps that read “Respect Your Elders”, and an Outback coffee roast. Their current initiative is Hoop Dreams in NT, where they refurbish community basketball courts with murals.

Tamika Galea founded Top Corner Psychology in November 2022 to provide psychological intervention and assessment to vulnerable individuals, couples and families in Arnhem Land. The organisation also offers specialised forensic assessments and interventions. Top Corner Psychology has traveled to remote communities in Arnhem Land and the Groote Archipelago, helping clients gain access to psychological services on country.


Somerville Community Service Award

Amy James is a proud Warumungu women, living with cerebral palsy, investing her huge heart and endless enthusiasm in connecting people, changing perspectives and making the Barkly better for all. As an advocate, educator and lobbyist Amy is ‘Famous’ for her big personality and literally leading the parade. Amy’s ‘quieter’ contributions include Women With Disability Australia and the NT Disability Advisory Committee.

Chloe Ferguson has been volunteering with St Johns for ten years. She earned an advanced first-aid certificate and has passed on her knowledge to the next generation of St John cadets. Chloe was one of the 2022 NT Youth Week Ambassadors, where she helped planned activities. Chloe was also elected one of the Palmerston Youth Festival Ambassadors, where she helped orchestrate youth events.

Fletcher Austin is a passionate advocate who takes pride in his community involvement and values giving back to the broader community. Over the past nine years Fletcher has served his community as a volunteer with Bushfires NT and NT Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services. Fletcher has contributed more than 950 hours supporting operations across the Territory and Australia in the last twelve months.

Izzy Craven is a local youth advocate and artist who has been volunteering for currently eight years. Izzy is currently apart of multiple volunteering groups such as the NT Youth Roundtable, Headspace as an ambassador, City of Palmerston, LAUNCH Darwin, and is apart of the Art Jam project that supports artists to work in a free shared space for all ages.


NT Government Young Aboriginal Educator Award

Leela Kruger believes young Aboriginal people need and deserve quality education. In 2021, Leela applied for and won the role of School Based Engagement Officer at Gillen Primary School, a school with historically declining attendance. Leela built a strong understanding of the community, barriers to engagement and links between families. Leela’s calm, consistent and culturally safe support helped students become happy regular attendees.

Shane McAuliffe advocates for Aboriginal students. Shane has established and maintained strong links with Aboriginal families of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic College. He is sought by students having home issues affecting their learning. Shane works closely with teachers to give a clear understanding about Aboriginal and Islander culture and ways to best support students.

Shania Armstrong is a passionate language teacher and activist. Shania is a Pertame Southern Arrernte woman who has been learning and teaching her endangered Indigenous language, Pertame, as part of the only active Master-Apprentice Program in Australia. In 2022, Shania became an official part-time employee of the Pertame School, a community-led language revival program, through the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics.

Tassi Blair is giving children a real confidence boost in and out of school. Tassi helps children learn new things and look after themselves. She also brings out their artistic sides and explores their creativity. Tassi has helped the school win the $1,000 End Trachoma art prize by designing the poster. She is currently enrolled in a Certificate III in Education Support.


Mindil Beach Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Award

Jarrod Everett puts his heart and soul into his food, job and industry. Jarrod started at Berry Springs Tavern as a casual dishwasher six years ago. He has since completed his Chef Apprenticeship and has become a valuable Sous Chef. Jarrod has competed in the AFC Apprentice of the Year Competition and the World Skills culinary competition, where he won multiple awards.

Matthew Grant is committed to promoting Central Australia’s hospitality industry. Matt has worked as a food and bar attendant at Overlanders Steakhouse and as events manager at the Alice Springs Golf Club and Alice Springs Cinema, hosting a wide range of events. He has created a lasting impact on state, interstate and international visitors of the NT by delivering high-quality customer service.

Michael Foster is a true leader. At 29 he is one of the youngest chefs to achieve the prestigious “Chef Hats" awarded by the AGFG. His role of Executive Chef, presiding over two world class restaurants, defined by his compassion he shows for his team. Working his way up the ranks he blends classic cooking techniques with world class leadership.

Shelby Long is the 26-year-old Operations Manager of The Milestone Group and oversees all aspects of their nine award-winning hospitality and tourism venues in Darwin. Shelby is committed to providing quality food and beverages and genuine hospitality in her venues. Her depth of experience, tenacity, and connection with her staff and guests make her an innovative leader in the industry.


Charles Darwin University International Student Award

Anna Permenter has rational compassion for people. Anna is taking a Bachelor of Arts at CDU with double major in Languages and Linguistics and Indigenous Governance and Policy. She moved to NT to study human rights and systematic inequities related to colonisation. Anna is also a Program Coordinator at a not-for-profit, where she spearheads cross-cultural training efforts in West Arnhem Land

Niju Ale a third-year Bachelor of Information Technology student, is dedicated to making a difference and giving back to her community. She helped organised GovHack NT, which provides valuable industry skills and professional connections. Additionally, Niju is an executive member of WCIC who's a voice for many youngsters and genders which advocates for women's rights, mental health, and gender equality with a focus on the STEM industry.

Niki Chen Previously working as a cabin crew at Singapore Airlines to save up enough to study at CDU. Now, Niki is both working and studying at CDU full-time. As a NAATI Certified translator, a StudyNT Ambassador, a CDU Senior Buddy, a dance teacher and a performer of the Australia-China Friendship Society, Niki has well and truly demonstrated her love for the Territory.

Yuqing (Crystal) Zhao is in her last year of Master of Teaching at CDU. She has had teaching placements in various schools, resulting in her improved communication skills, teaching competence and classroom management. Crystal volunteers for The Kindness Shake Inc., a not-for-profit that supports international students. In 2022, she was one of the key facilitators in delivering their International Student Days Out program.