7NEWS Young Achiever Awards - SA

2019 Finalists

Websters Lawyers Service to the Community Award

Cyanne Westerman, 27 of Whyalla is fighting for the rights of people living with disability. As a founding member of the Whyalla Youth Advisory Committee she suggested to hold an event to acknowledge the International Day of People living with Disability. Cyanne is member of the Whyalla Beach Access Group and been actively pushing for an accessible beach for all people, fundraising for Beach Wheelchairs, and educating locals on the shift to accessible beaches. Cyanne was an advisor on the local Disability Advisory Group formed by the Whyalla Council and Regional Development Australia and helped develop the “Living Well, Whyalla’s Masterplan for Disability & Ageing"

Kaila Harris, 15 of Moana aims to inspire young people and lend a hand to the less fortunate. As head junior swim coach at Moana Surf Club, she trains juniors to be better swimmers and provides tips on technique and endurance. She is also a co-social coordinator at Youth Christian Students. At Cardijn College, she was captain of the Southern Blue Cardijn College’s pedal prix team. For nine years, Kaila has volunteered in her school community and helped raise awareness and funds for organisations like RSPCA, Fred’s Van soup kitchen and CanTeen. She received the Mackillop House Spirit Award and the Youth Christian Students Commitment Award.

Shamsiya Mohammadi, 21 of Parafield Gardens has a passion for helping others, particularly women and refugees. She arrived in Australia ten years ago as a refugee from Afghanistan. Shamsiya has volunteered for Welcome to Australia, the Australian Refugee Association, the Australian Multicultural Foundation, the City of Salisbury and the Association of Australian Tertiary Students from Afghanistan. As an active member of her high school Student Representative Council, she lobbied for better services. Shamsiya is currently completing a double degree in Law and Journalism. She received the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Leadership Award and is the first Afghan-Australian recipient of a Charles Allan Seymour Hawker Scholarship.


Department of Human Services Aboriginal Achievement Award

Iteka Sanderson-Bromley, 18 of Grange is committed to Aboriginal community involvement. Representing Port Adelaide Athletics Club, she spoke at the Women in Sport Summit and joined the Aboriginal Athletics Squad, to encourage others to get involved. A qualified Surf lifesaver and member of the Grange Surf Club, Iteka was engaged by Surf Lifesaving SA as an assistant instructor and mentor to students from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands. An Aboriginal student mentor at Seaton High School, Iteka received the Leila Rankine Award for Academic excellence in SACE Aboriginal Studies. She is also involved with Kurruru Youth Performing Arts and the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience.

Mikayla Hudson, 22 of Port Augusta has a passion for aboriginal health. She worked as Aboriginal Education Secondary Transition Officer and school services officer, tutoring aboriginal students. Mikayla won the 2017 NAIDOC Youth of the Year award in Port Augusta. She was also an Aboriginal Youth Representative at the Standard 2 ‘Partnering with Consumers’ Workgroup with Country Health SA. In 2018, she joined the Indigenous Allied Health Australia mentor/mentee program and was keynote speaker at the SA Department of Rural Health conference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Mikayla has a Psychology degree and is expected to become a registered occupational therapist in 2020.

Otis Carter, 27 of Port Lincoln is an advocate for a healthy and active sporting lifestyle. He is a proud Aboriginal who has successfully recovered from ice addiction. In 2018 Otis graduated from the Indigenous Marathon Foundation, participating in the New York marathon, Sydney City 2 Surf and the Gold Coast Marathon. He achieved a Running Leader Level 1 Coach Qualification, Aboriginal mental health first aid and CPR qualifications. Otis is a support worker for the Aboriginal Families Support Services, inspiring children in the Port Lincoln community to become future marathoners. He plays A grade football and is a 2x Premiership player, competing in the Midwest Football League.

Zaachariaha Fielding, 28 of Adelaide utilises his gifts as singer and musician to share his culture. He is a proud Anangu and Torres Strait Islander man from the remote SA community of Mimili. At 17, he was chosen by Baz Luhrmann to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the Yolngu language for the movie “Australia”. In 2014, Zaachariaha made it to the grand finals of The Voice as part of the duet ZK. He then formed the duo Electric Fields whose music combines cultural material and electronic music and was signed by SONY. Electric Fields also became a finalist for Eurovision – Australia Decides.


Worldwide Sports Award

Carlos Maya Koch, 27 of Broadview
is a dedicated athlete, karate instructor, and community volunteer. Currently ranked 38th in the world, Carlos moved to Australia from Mexico for a chance to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He works as a fulltime assistant manager and part-time karate instructor. Despite being mostly self-funded, Carlos is a dedicated volunteer who works with children groups to teach conflict resolution, coordination, discipline and respect for others. He runs school seminars to reduce conflict between students and improve their discipline and focus. Carlos also teaches adults and has worked with women groups on self-defence, confidence and building strength and focus.

Lucy Doney, 15 of Colonel Light Gardens is committed to helping her community through sport. Lucy is the number one triple jumper in the world in her age group. She is currently Australian Junior Champion for triple jump Under 16 and Under 17, winning at the age of 14 only three months after coming back from a 9-month injury. She trains five times a week and competes weekly in the Athletics SA Saturday afternoon meets. Lucy volunteers her time in events such as the City to Bay, Red Shield Appeal, Walk a Mile, Kick Start for Kids, and Legacy where she supports participants along the way.

Dr Victoria Cox, 28 of Adelaide is a medical doctor who became the first person from South Australia to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and the 7th person in the world to achieve this feat within one season. She wishes to promote open water swimming to young female athletes and mentor channel swimmers across the world. Victoria volunteers with at-risk youth through Operation Flinders Foundation and established a national charity that raised almost $40,000 to support a community healthcare program in rural NSW. Victoria aims to use her medical background and knowledge to influence major policy changes to improve the delivery of healthcare.

Connor Hogan, 19 of Bangor is proving that hard work and sacrifice pay off. Connor competes for Moto Trials and is ranked 2nd in Australia. He is the only rider from the Southern Hemisphere to compete in the World Championships for the last three years. Because Moto Trials is a relatively unknown sport, Connor deals with many hardships, including lack of high level competitions and viable training partners, and costly overseas training. He has completed his Level 1 Coaching Course for motorcycling. In 2018, he organised for two foreign riders to run clinics, resulting in one local female rider qualifying for the World Championships.


Multicultural Youth South Australia Spirit of Resilience Award

Asma Safi, 20 of Flinders Park
is an ambassador of hope and inspiration to oppressed women. She is a young Afghani refugee who initially faced constant gender oppression and associated cultural barriers, which caused her to move out of her home into a youth shelter. Her perseverance allowed her to negotiate with her family and follow her own trajectory. She played an active role in “Through Our Eyes,” an influential film that included stories of young, local refugees which aimed to challenge stereotypes through honest and objective facts. Asma has undertaken a certificate in policing and hopes to be a police officer someday.

Mahyar Raezaei, 25 of Parkside arrived in Australia in 2012 as an asylum seeker with his family. After five months spent in detention centres he was given a bridging visa and in 2016, he and his family were granted a 5-year safe haven visa. Mahya has gained his Bronze Medallion and volunteers at the West Beach Surf Life Saving Club where he is an inflatable rescue boat driver. He volunteers at Welcome to Australia and is on the steering group for the Supporting Social Cohesion Project. He helps in his families café and has started Pizza Mizza which serves pizza made from only local produce.

Rahima Wahidi, 24 of Salisbury wants to see cultural change for women in her community. Rahima is a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan who came to Australia to escape persecution. Despite not speaking English, she persevered to improve her language skills and worked hard to complete Year 12. She went to University, receiving the Dean of Law Grant and completing her Bachelor of Laws and International Relations. Now a junior solicitor, Rahima has been delivering presentations to various community groups to explain how Australian law works. She assists individuals impacted by domestic and family violence and has given many women a voice and a choice.


Minister for Industry and Skills Outstanding Apprentice Award

Harry Sanders, 21 of Willaston is a skilled craftsman, builder and fixer. He began his apprenticeship in 2016 after completing a Certificate II in Construction and a partial Certificate III in Carpentry. He undertook several work placements and received rave reviews from his employers. He likewise excelled in his role at Hoffman Building Services, where he demonstrated great leadership and work ethic. A former State Champion BMX racer, Harry has received a community service award for his participation in three Relay for Life events in the Barossa Valley. He has received two community achievement awards and aspires to give back to the community someday through teaching.

Kirsty Penney, 27 of Kilburn advocates for alternative pathways to fulfilling a successful career. Kirsty started her traineeship, hosted by Telstra and provided by Comtech Training, without any background in telecommunications and technologies. Not wanting to give up her fulltime job, she strived to use her traineeship to further her education. Her role involves planning and performing the installation of telecommunication technologies and will eventually lead to a Technical Designer role in the Radio Design Team. Kirsty was awarded the 2018 South Australian Trainee of the Year and was a finalist in the Australian Training Awards. She is an ambassador for Vocational Education and Training.

Luke Hentschke, 21 of Gawler South has a passion for finding solutions to problems. Luke studied applied engineering with a goal of gaining an apprenticeship. Eventually, an opportunity with PEER opened up which led to Luke completing a data and communications apprenticeship. This was followed by a work placement as a qualified Data and Communications Technicians with Apex Energy Australia. In 2018, Luke was recognised as Australia’s Communication Apprentice of the Year at the National Excellence Awards. He was also a finalist for the Apprentice of the Year award at the PEER graduation and awards night. Luke hopes to become a mentor for rising apprentices.


Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Rural Health Award

Mikayla Hudson, 22 of Port Augusta is dedicated to improving rural health outcomes. As an Aboriginal Youth Representative on Standard 2 Consumer Workgroup meetings with Country Health SA, she provided feedback and ideas from the consumers’ perspective. As keynote speaker for Solid Start – Pathways to a Brighter Future Conference hosted by University of South Australia Department of Rural Health, she encouraged Aboriginal students to become health professionals. She also attended the first International Indigenous Allied Health Forum. Mikayla was awarded 2017 NAIDOC Youth of the Year in Port Augusta. She has a degree in Psychological Science and is currently taking her Master’s in Occupational Therapy.

Zelma Tolley, 26 of Port Lincoln is raising awareness and reducing stigma about perinatal mental health. She founded The Postnatal Project during the final stages of her first pregnancy. Zelma built the website and collated all professional service connections in Australia to support mums, dads, families and their village, in their journey to healing. She volunteers for the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia Community and connects rural communities that are otherwise isolated. She has written an eBook and published articles that bring a rural voice on rural issues. In 2018 Zelma wrote and launched "Mama, Let's Be Honest" - an eBook that has sold internationally.

Zia Westerman, 27 of Whyalla is an advocate for young people with a disability. Born with Muscular Dystrophy, Zia is a founding member of the Whyalla Youth Advisory Committee which ensures young people are provided with a voice in the Whyalla City Council. Through her, the Advisory Committee was able to understand the journey of a regional young person living with a disability. Zia is a member of the Disability Advisory Group and worked on Whyalla’s Masterplan for Disability & Ageing. She advocated for the Changing Places toilet system which led to the Government giving Council a $100,000 grant to provide the best practice system.


University Senior College Create Change Award

Amber Cronin, 28 of Stepney was co-founder and Artistic Director of The Mill from 2012 to 2018. The Mill is a multi-artform creative incubator that aims to bring together arts practitioners from every imaginable background to work alongside one another under one roof. Amber focused on creating a space for dialogue between visual arts and performance. Since opening, The Mill has stayed at 90% capacity and showcases bespoke shoemakers, art exhibitions, jewellery and fashion shops, photography studios, to name a few. Amber has developed innovative programs and events for The Mill and has accomplished its transition to a fully managed, sustainable operation.

Lauren Crago, 25 of Panorama is a textile designer helping people in developing countries whilst advocating for sustainable fashion. She founded Solomon Street, a slow fashion label with a core aim of giving back to the local and international community through a loan scheme funded by the sale of ethically-made and eco-friendly garments. All garments are made in Adelaide, by an ethical clothing Australian-accredited manufacturer and prints are hand-drawn and created by Lauren. The shop also provides a workshop for women. The loan scheme is made available in developing countries, covering a range of causes including eco-friendly start-up businesses, education, food and clean water.

Mark Neville Franklin, 16 of Camden Park planned and coordinated an environmental camp for 11 scouts and five adults to plant over 200 hand sown seedlings in Iron Knob for the Iron Knob Progress Association. A member of the Youth Environment Council, he has grown over 2,200 seedlings for the Trees for Life volunteer growing scheme in the last five years. Mark works with Trees for Life and Scouts SA and community groups to implement larger scaled planting projects. Mark built ‘Grow Free’ cart and planter boxes, planting vegetables so people can “take what they need, leave what they can”, creating a sustainable living, community platform.


The Rowdy Group Creative Achievement Award

Georgina Chadderton, 27 of Adelaide is a passionate comic creator and illustrator and arts workshop facilitator. Her comic books and graphic novels have been published locally and internationally. Georgina has worked with organisations like Carclew, Writers SA, Autism SA, Centre of Democracy and Salisbury Writers’ Festival and hopes to open a studio space for children someday. Georgina is currently working on her full-length graphic novel memoir about growing up alongside a brother with severe autism. It is supported by the Colin Thiele Scholarship for Creative Writing and Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship. Her comic ‘Harry Potter and My Childhood Obsession’ was shortlisted for a 2017 Ledger Award.

Rachel Bruerville, 27 of Clarence Park is a talented composer, cellist, singer and writer and is a core member of the Adelaide Chamber Singers. Rachel has played as cellist for Patch Theatre Company and has sung solo with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Paul Rissman. She was recently awarded a 2019 Carclew Fellowship worth $12,000, supporting her role as Young Adelaide Voices’ new composer in residence. Rachel will be mentored by internationally acclaimed composers and will tour her new work to choral festivals in Sydney and Alice Springs. She was awarded first class honours at the Elder Conservatorium of Music and the 2018 Alex Burnard Scholarship.

Zaachariaha Fielding, 27 of Adelaide uses his musical talent to share his culture and inspire young people. He is an Anangu and Torres Strait Islander man from Mimili. He came to Adelaide as a student under the Wiltja Program and studied at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music. At 17, he was chosen by Baz Luhrmann to sing a song in the Yolngu language for the movie “Australia”. He was a finalist in The Voice in 2014 as part of the duet ZK. In 2015, he formed the duo Electric Fields. They signed a deal with SONY ATV and has since received six music awards.


First National Real Estate Innovation Award

Amber Cronin, 28 of Stepney is committed to building a strong arts community. She was co-founder and Artistic Director of The Mill, Adelaide, a multi-artform creative incubator where art practitioners from any background can work under one roof. With co-founder Erin Fowler, Amber wanted to help local artists establish sustainable career pathways through arts programming by creating a space for dialogue between visual arts, performance and dance. She successfully developed the project into a viable business offering affordable tenancies. It has stayed at 90% capacity since opening and houses bespoke shoemakers, art exhibitions, Adelaide’s fashion and jewellery labels, dance studio, and a photography studio with dark room.

Joel Ransom, 15 of Mitcham is devoted to finding solutions. He suffers from Sever’s Disease, a condition characterised by inflamed and painful heels. This inspired him to design a supportive ice-pack orthotic that supports and manages adolescent heel injury. The ‘I-sic-heels Project’, focuses on helping young people maintain physical activity when dealing with diseases like Sever and assists in reducing childhood obesity due to injury and frustration. Joel has so far invented a solar plant lamp that teaches students about photosynthesis and a board game with a sustainability theme. He was chosen as Safety Ambassador and given a merit award by the SA Government.

Sean Grealy, 23 of Morphettville is committed to improving aged care services. He founded Care Konnect, a suite of software enabling better communication and service quality in aged care, to solve his family’s own problem when his grandfather entered aged care services for the first time. Care Konnect brings together vulnerable people, their families, and care providers therefore reducing social isolation and promoting healthy ageing in care. It receives funding from investors and partnership deals with aged care providers. It expects to connect over 3,000 families in 2019. Sean contributes to his community by working on start-ups like the University of Adelaide ThincLab and Hacker Exchange.

Tahnee Dening, 29 of Robe is dedicated to pharmaceutical research. She completed her PhD at the University of South Australia researching on new drug delivery strategies that can improve the efficacy of orally administered medicines. She was also recognised for her research on the use of nanostructure clay particles to treat obesity. Tahnee was awarded the Australian Government Endeavour Scholarship, allowing her to study in Belgium, Denmark and the U.S. for 12 months. She was also awarded PhD Student of the Year in 2018. Tahnee has published 13 research papers and is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Kansas Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.


Santos Regional Service Award

Alecia Sheedy, 22 of Mount Gambier is a leader for St. John and her community. She volunteers for St. John Mt. Gambier Cadet Division and stepped in at the Division’s lowest point when it lost three divisional leaders in a tragic accident. She quickly learned the role of Officer Administrating Command and was then appointed as the Leader of the Cadet Division. She grew the numbers by providing greater opportunity for the cadets to attend events and learn new first aid skills. She also set up community fundraising events. Alecia has won several leadership awards, the latest being the 2018 National Norma Bell Youth Leader Award.

Caitlin Polack, 25 of Renmark has a flair for engaging others in science and ecology. She is an educational ecologist employed by the Australian Landscape Trust at Calperum Station. Caitlin leads the development of Calperum Station’s education programs, which paving the way for South Australian students to learn about ecology, Aboriginal culture and the unique landscape. Calperum’s education program has involved over 250 students of all ages. Caitlin is the Renmark Scout Group Assistant Scout Leader and has recently completed her Baden Powel Scouting Award. She has been a CFS member for over two years and is a volunteer worker for children with a disability.

Zia Westerman, 27 of Whyalla is an inspirational leader and advocate for young people with disability. Having born with Muscular Dystrophy, Zia is no stranger to the challenges faced by disabled persons. She is a founding member of the Whyalla Youth Advisory Committee, a member of the Disability Advisory Group and was recently elected as a Councillor for Whyalla City Council. As part of these organisations, Zia provided insights on her struggles so that they could better understand the journey of people who have a disability. She helped organise events such as Australia Day Events, National Tree Day and Clean Up Australia Day.


Scouts SA Leadership Award

Aimee Brownbill, 26 of Adelaide has a passion for social justice and has displayed leadership at the local, national and international level. She was Social Justice Leader at her high school and volunteered with Edmund Rice Camps, Smith Family After School Learning Club and as an advocate for Oaktree Foundation. Aimee has directed her passion into pursuing a career in public health, undertaking a PhD in Public Health at the University of Adelaide. She has been Vice President of the Australian Health Promotion Association SA Branch and is currently on the National Board of the Public Health Association of Australia.

Kelsey Piltz, 24 of Broadview is a leader in Australian Lacrosse. She plays, coaches at multiple clubs, coached the U15 boys State team, and has represented Australia in an Asia Pacific competition. Kelsey is the co-ordinator of junior Lacrosse at two separate clubs, sourcing coaches, managers, uniforms and equipment. She umpires, runs school clinics and is a role model for young Lacrosse players and all young women in sport. Kelsey’s leadership and the 'delivery of training' learnings through her physical education studies, has seen her reshape training to a vastly improved and more engaging level in the 10 junior teams she has worked with.

Sam Weavers, 11 of Wayville is the founder of Sam’s Popcorn, a successful online business selling and delivering flavoured popcorn to customers all over Australia. Sam created a fundraising program called Kids4Kids, giving students an opportunity to help children with cancer, by selling Sam’s Popcorn with the profits going to the Childhood Cancer Association. In 2018, Sam was awarded the Fred Hollows Humanity Award and was announced as the Junior Ambassador for South Australia for his selfless charity work. Sam gives presentations to inspire and motivate people in businesses, networking groups and school students about how they can make a difference in the community.


The University of Adelaide STEM Award

Annabel Sorby-Adams, 27 of Malvern is currently completing her PhD in Medicine. Having suffered a minor stroke when she was 19, she became fascinated by neurological diseases and their repercussions. Her research has the potential to be impactful in terms of outcome and survival for patients, by advancing the treatment of brain swelling following a stroke. Annabel has developed a novel method to assess functional recovery following stroke using motion capture. This was extremely challenging, requiring her to learn comprehensive techniques in biomechanics and kinematics. She volunteers extensively to communicate, educate and promote the importance of STEM to the future generation.

Arna Smith, 26 of Adelaide is a dedicated civil engineer who has been involved in delivering key infrastructure for the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. She has had roles in road, rail, and public transport projects and played an important role in delivering the State’s first rail level-crossing removal project. Arna recognises that there are opportunities for young people to have STEM careers in South Australia and is currently completing a Masters in Applied Project Management. As the Departments Youth Connect’s Vice-President, Arna strongly supports the young professionals’ development and networking opportunities. Arna aspires to continue promoting engineering and STEM as a career for women.

Tahlia Perry, 25 of Mount Barker has completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology and Genetics. Her PHD research focuses on understanding echidna biology and distribution Australia wide in order to better protect them. Echidnas are ecologically and evolutionarily important but conservation efforts are limited by a lack of knowledge. She has developed molecular tools to provide high quality data for wild echidna conservation and captive breeding programs. Tahlia runs a successful project called EchidnaCSI where the community submits sightings of wild echidnas through a dedicated App and Tahlia collects echidna scats for molecular analysis. Tahlia is a passionate science communicator and women in STEM ambassador.