7NEWS Young Achiever Awards - SA

2020 Finalists


Carclew Creative Achievement Award

Cyrus Nuthakki, 15 of Warradale is a talented pianist and burgeoning composer. He completed Year 12 (Stage 2 Music – SACE) at age 15, becoming the youngest South Australian to have studied a SACE subject in 2018. He completed Grade 8 in Piano through AMEB and Trinity College of London, with a high distinction. Cyrus won second prize at the 2019 Reimann-Robinson Scholarship under 18. He has performed a masterclass facilitated by Australian composer Steven Whittington and has participated in competitive performances. A new migrant from India, Cyrus hopes to get into the mentoring program of the Open Music Academy and become a Hollywood Film Score Composer someday.

Edwin Kemp Attrill, 29 of Brompton is a multi-award winning theatre director. At age 17, Edwin started ActNow Theatre, a company dedicated to creating social justice outcomes through the power of art. ActNow employs dozens of artists each year and is a major employer of First Nations and Culturally Diverse artists in SA. As Artistic Director and CEO, Edwin oversaw the establishment of ActNow’s MakeSpace, a rehearsal/performance space in Adelaide CBD. Edwin received a 2017 South Australian Geoff Crowhurst Memorial Award and a 2018 Australia Council Kirk Robson Award both for his community arts practice. He has worked and trained across Australia, in Canada, India, and Taiwan.

Shane Cook, 28 of Salisbury East is passionate about community arts. A proud Wulli Wulli and Guwa descendant, Shane Mankitya Cook is an Australian Aboriginal aerosol artist known for his graffiti-inspired street style art blended with indigenous inspired contemporary and traditional First Nations Australian art. He founded Street Dreamz, a community arts and mentoring service that focuses on mediums of street art and Aboriginal culture. Shane has collaborated with Ugandan and Kenyan artists to create a body of artwork exhibited in the United Kingdom. He has been competing and training for the Indigenous Marathon Project whilst in New York. Shane works part-time as a Youth Mentor.


Department of Human Services Aboriginal Achievement Award

Bryce Cawte, 17 of Mansfield Park has a passion for sharing Aboriginal culture and history. Bryce is a young Ngarrindjeri leader who takes lead roles that promote the richness of Australia’s First Nations heritage. He has performed in smoking ceremonies with Ngarrindjeri/Kaurna Elder, Major Sumner, and as part of the Tal-Kin-Jeri dance group. With his help, the Department for Education highlighted the Mathematics of Aboriginal Dance in its Aboriginal STEM congresses from 2017 to 2019. Bryce helps deliver ‘Aboriginal for a Day’ cultural workshops in schools and develops STEM workshops. He has helped set up the ‘Ringbalin-healing ceremony’ and the Adelaide Fringe ‘Dupang’ Festival in the Coorong.

Quinishia Skinn-Buzzacott, 17 of Port Lincoln hopes to be an inspiration to her community. Quinishia was a teen Tunarama Ambassador for 2018 and 2019, winning People’s Choice Award in both years. She went on a Year 7 China Exchange Program and participated in an Indonesia Learning Service Trip, where she shared Aboriginal art with Indonesian students. Quinishia has a C-grade netball umpire badge and regularly umpires and coaches netball. She has won the Netball Association Junior Umpire of the Year and Netball Club’s Junior Tiger of the Year awards and umpired her first A-grade netball game at age 16. She is currently completing Year 11.

Shane Cook, 28 of Salisbury East is dedicated to giving back to the community. A proud Wulli Wulli and Guwa descendant, Shane successfully juggles being an artist and a youth mentor. He runs Street Dreamz, a business that handles both spontaneous and scheduled art projects and provides mentoring by encouraging cultural exploration, expression of emotions without words and the processing of complex feelings. Shane is a Peer Mentor for Step Out program, offering valuable mentoring support to young people involved with the youth justice system to reconnect with the community and pursue positive lifestyles. He has helped co-design and facilitate a culturally specific men’s fitness and wellbeing program.


First National Real Estate Innovation Award

Jayden Strudwick, 15 of Tranmere has a passion for designing, building and competing with robots. Jayden has been participating in building combat robots, known as battlebots. At age 14, he was approached to build an educational program for secondary schools students. Over three months, he embarked on experimentation, training and early stage development to fulfil teaching, learning and curriculum goals. The resulting product is a combat robot assembly kit that would improve STEM education unlike any other. Jayden presented to 60 teachers at the Design and Technology Teachers Association of SA. It led to the development of the ARKO STEM Inter-School Robot Combat Cup 2020.

Melanie Fuller, 27 of Edwardstown has a passion for research. Melanie developed a bandage that releases antibiotics and gold nanoparticles over a two-week period to treat infections at the source. Through a process called electrospinning, a charged dissolved polymer is dispensed from a needle and pulled into a high voltage field to elongate into a fibre. Melanie learned electrospinning in Japan and nuclear physics at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology. The bandage will help treat infections in third-world countries, remote workers and defence personnel. She won the 2019 Kelly Services Future Scientist Award for SA and is a member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

Tom Welsby, 28 of Payneham strives to build communities. Tom founded ResVu in mid 2017 as a means to promote and build communities within residential sites and apartment buildings around Australia. Through capital raised from SA companies and individuals, the App provides multiple products. CommunitiLink engages residents to connect with management 24/7, report maintenance issues, and more. CommunitiLocal supports local businesses by promoting their product or service to residents within a one-kilometre radius. FMLink are for facilities managers of large sites while FMLink Inspector offers specific benefits to service providers. A finalist at Urban Developer Awards, ResVu won the Australian eChallenge 2017 and State Award 2017.


Minister for Innovation and Skills Outstanding Apprentice Award

Alessandra Modra, 26 of Adelaide has a passion for building things. Alessandra started a Carpentry Apprenticeship in 2016, working in commercial and residential sectors. In March 2019, Alessandra started with No. 1 Lady Tradie and has since moved into a cabinet-making apprenticeship where she installs cabinets, robes, bathroom vanities and more. A professional and quick learner, she is passionate about equality, promoting women in trades and encouraging customers to think differently about traditional expectations and services. Alessandra films and edits videos to showcase high quality work and attention to detail. She is a keen beach dweller, diver, snorkeller, surfer and a volunteer for Sea Sheppard. 

Oliver Horvath, 24 of McLaren Vale takes pride in his work ethic. Oliver completed a Certificate III in Carpentry in mid-2019 and works for Hocking Enterprises at Lonsdale. In the last 12 months, he was involved in the construction of the 2019 HIA Home of the Year where he was challenged to think outside of the box. Because of his determination, he was named HomeStart Finance Building and Construction’s Most Outstanding Student of the Year at the TAFE SA Building and Construction Awards 2019. In 2018, Oliver competed in the WorldSkills Australia and won bronze for carpentry. He has also been featured in the media. 

Tayla Carll, 18 of Gawler East is career-driven. Tayla is enrolled in a fabrication engineering apprenticeship at Stratco and registered with TAFE SA at Regency Park. She has completed Year 12 studies at St Patrick’s Technical College, specialising in the metals and engineering field. Her high-functioning Autism has made her a more visual person who excelled in the practical and technical subjects. Despite dealing with anxiety disorder and speech and learning delay, Tayla has completed work at Levett Engineering, Century Engineering, Air Force, and Defence, Science and Technology Organisation. Due to her determination, her employer enrolled her into extra courses with TAFE SA for additional qualifications. 


Multicultural Youth South Australia Spirit of Resilience Award

Adhel Lual, 23 of Paralowie moved from displacement, fleeing South Sudan at a very young age, then to living in a refugee camp in Kenya before migrating to Australia. Adhel returned to South Sudan, stayed there for three years, met her husband and had a daughter. In 2013, she had to leave her family behind but managed to return in 2015 to gather documents that would support the sponsorship of her family. In 2016, her husband’s and daughter’s visas were granted, reuniting her with her family. Adhel now works in Centacare, helping the homeless, mentoring the youth and helping young mothers at risk.

Alicia Beik, 29 of Gilles Plains is committed to giving back. Alicia fled from Iran to seek a better future and a safer place to live. She arrived with her mother in Australia in 2011, with little English, no work experience and financial difficulties. After volunteering for community and working with Anglicare SA, Humanitarian Housing Settlement, she started Rubies House Company to address the housing challenges of South Australians. Alicia developed the Affordable Sustainable Housing Program (ASHP) to assist lower-income locals to overcome housing barriers whilst providing job opportunities for newly arrived migrants. She was involved with not for profit organisation to educate and empower women and actively volunteering for her community.

Grace Paye, 22 of Manningham strives to help others. Grace arrived in Australia in 2016 after experiencing adversity, grief and challenges in Liberia. She spent most of her childhood during the Liberian Civil War. After experiencing mental health related issues and watching someone go through something that could break a person, she decided to create a girls’ group to provide a safe space for young women to create and build strength. The group aims to build friendship among the vulnerable by helping one another and discussing life problems. They meet every weekend and have started to volunteer at local community centres and run empowerment workshops.


Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Rural Health Award

Tessa Deak, 20 of Mount Gambier is committed to creative leadership. As Youth Ambassador for Headspace, Tessa helps destigmatise mental health and spread awareness. She visits educational facilities, gives presentations on depression, anxiety and more, and volunteers in events like the Amazing Race and Youth Week activities. Tessa is the founder and leader of the Chronic Illness Support Limestone Coast, which started as a Facebook group and now has over 100 members who meet and run events. She is the founder and chairperson of Wellness and Wellbeing Festival 2019 and 2020, which showcases local products, businesses and services that support every aspect of wellbeing.

Tyrene Gardiner, 16 of Port Lincoln has a passion for giving back. Tyrene successfully led a fundraiser that raised $3,000 to fund a public access defibrillator. He has dedicated over 650 volunteer hours to St. John Ambulance SA in the last year, where he conducts training to cadets and teaches the importance of defibrillators and how to give effective CPR. Tyrene is also a trainer at Tasman Football Club. He has helped raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctors Service and worked for Port Lincoln Tunarama Committee as volunteer site manager and designated First Aider. In 2020, Tyrene won the Port Lincoln Young Citizen of the Year Award.

Zibeon Fielding, 26 of Mimili is instilled with positivity and boundless energy. Zibeon is an Aboriginal Healthcare Worker at Mimili Clinic where he promotes healthy lifestyles to Indigenous Australians. He ran an ultra-marathon through his homelands on APY Lands and raised over $50,000 to open a dialysis clinic and over $40,000 to build a gym. Although rejected three times to get into the international marathon run, he trained hard to realise his dream and ran his first marathon in New York City. Zibeon is dedicated to helping close the gap in Indigenous health whilst battling systematic racism. He has been awarded SA Young Australian of the Year.


Santos Regional Service Award

Blake Brougham, 18 of Whyalla is the Deputy Mayor of the Whyalla Youth Advisory. He has been doing community work since he was eight years old, when he started playing guitar with a local music tuition school. Blake has raised funds through events and concerts such as Jeans for Genes Day, The Whyalla Tappers benefit concert for cancer and The Whyalla Carols in the Park. As a head youth leader at Whyalla Music Association, he mentors young people and organises events. He became Publicity Officer of COMET, a not-for-profit that targets original musicians from the region to put on a free concert for the public.

Sallee Shepherd, 17 of Tailem Bend champions excellence. Sallee is the Mayor of the Murray Bridge Youth Council, representing the Coorong District at the Youth Suicide Prevention forum. She participated in the Coorong Connection Youth Network and attended a Unity College community service trip to Indonesia. Sallee has participated in activities like Music Hall, Pedal Prix and Christmas Parades, volunteering hours to create media and marketing videos. Sallee initiated a Mem Fox Green Sheep art installation. She has been a leader at the Tailem Bend Netball Club as captain and umpire received a Shirley Stephenson sporting award and an Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award.

Tessa Deak, 20 of Mount Gambier demonstrates her leadership to her community. A Youth Ambassador at Headspace, Tessa helps destigmatise mental health and spread awareness by visiting educational facilities to present about depression and anxiety. She volunteers for Headspace events like the Amazing Race and Youth Week activities. Tessa founded the Chronic Illness Support Limestone Coast. Now with over 100 members, the Group enables those with chronic illness to connect with each other. She is the founder and chairperson of the 2019 and 2020 Wellness and Wellbeing Festival, which showcases local products, businesses and services that support wellbeing. Tessa attended the 2019 Regional Youth Leadership Forum.


Scouts SA Leadership Award

Anna Phan, 13 of Prospect is committed to lead by example. Anna is the co-founder of Synergetix FIRST LEGO LEAGUE robotics team at Prospect North Primary School. She led her team to success at the National Championship, winning seven championships in three years. She developed excellent project management skills and promoted and connected her team to the wider Australian Lego Robotics community. Anna mentors younger students particularly girls with English as a second language. Anna helped forge a partnership between her team and the Rotary Club of Prospect. She was part of her school’s STEM Ministry and was their representative at Kids Teach STEM conferences.

Meika Liveris, 22 of Walkerville is an emerging leader in sustainable development. Meika co-founded Ixo Waste Analytics after being hand-picked to represent Australia at the UNLEASH Sustainable Development Lab in Shenzhen, China. The company aims to solve landfill problems and change the perception of waste in Australia. Meika was selected for the Ecoversity Award in New York and represented Adelaide at the International Conference for Sustainable Development. She volunteers with the Adelaide University Engineering Society and the Debating Society, and works on a project named “RESPECT”, to bridge Australia and Timor Leste. Despite having anxiety disorder, Meika still manages to study Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.

Sallee Shepherd, 17 of Tailem Bend is passionate about achieving great things and is the Mayor of the Murray Bridge Youth Council. She participated in the Coorong Connection Youth Network and volunteers for the Tailem Bend Community Centre, providing administrative, marketing and fundraising support. Sallee has participated in Music Hall, Pedal Prix and Christmas Parades and initiated a Mem Fox Green Sheep art installation in the community playground. Sallee received the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award. In addition to running a business called Sallee’s Cupcakes, she leads as an umpire and captain of the Tailem Bend Netball Club.


The University of Adelaide STEM Award

Dr Lauren Meyer, 29 of Bedford Park is committed to sustainability. Lauren investigated the impacts of wildlife tourism for her PhD at Flinders University, particularly the effects of cage diving on white sharks. Her work contributed to the implementation of new regulations and new tourism assessment frameworks used by the Department of Environment and Water. She also innovated the field of biochemical ecology and detailed the diet of endangered top predators. Lauren has published three papers whilst undertaking her PhD. In June 2018, she co-founded Otlet, a global platform that enables researchers to source scientific samples from colleagues to minimise wasted samples and redundant and costly resampling.

Jayden Strudwick, 15 of Tranmere has created a revolutionary approach to STEM education. At age 14, Jayden created an educational program for secondary school students in the southern suburbs. The goal is to educate and engage middle school students on the interactive design processes and design skills involved in creating combat robots. After several months of product and materials development, design, tests and feedback from students and teachers, the result is a programmable version of the combat robot kit. He presented it at the Design and Technology Teachers Association of South Australia. In 2017, Jayden won the Flinders University Best Student Engineered Robot Award.

Luisa Maria Panuccio, 23 of Hectorville is passionate about making a difference as a female role model in STEM, using her voice and social media platforms to promote STEM Careers. In 2017, Luisa completed her Honours in Civil and Architectural Engineering and currently works as a Project Manager in the Major Projects Congestion Busting Team for the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. As an Ambassador for Engineers Without Borders Australia, Google, Children’s University Australia and the National Association of Women in Construction, Luisa speaks regularly at schools, careers expos and industry events about her role as a STEM professional in an effort to change the negative stereotypes associated with STEM careers.


University Senior College Create Change Award

Jessica Dobrovic, 29 of Reynella is committed to improving the homelessness sector in Adelaide and across Australia, through her PhD studies and employment. Jess is an analyst for Aspire Social Impact Bond at Hutt St Centre, the first bond in Australia to focus on homelessness. Through research, she helps build understanding of the impact homelessness has on the individual and systems. Jess also works within the Adelaide Zero Project in collaboration with other services, aiming to achieve functional zero rough sleeping by end of 2020. Jess also volunteers for the Hands on Project, providing prosthetic hands for people who have lost hands in developing countries.

Luisa Maria Panuccio, 23 of Hectorville is a Project Manager for major infrastructure projects in South Australia and uses her position to be a role model for young girls looking to pursue a career in STEM. In 2019, Luisa received the National Association of Women in Construction Graduate of the Year Award for her role in managing a complex program of works involving the construction of 20 civil projects across the Adelaide metropolitan area. As an Ambassador for Engineers Without Borders Australia, Google and Children’s University Australia, Luisa speaks regularly at schools, careers expos and industry events about her role as a STEM professional in an effort to change the negative stereotypes associated with STEM careers.

Zibeon Fielding, 26 of Mimili is an Aboriginal Health Worker with a Certificate IV in Primary Health Care. After completing three international marathons, he initiated and completed two solo marathons in the APY Lands, running 62 kilometres and riding 700 kilometres. Zibeon raised $90,000 to provide a dialysis machine for The Purple House and to build a gym in Mimili and works to address the lack of healthy food available in remote communities. In 2016, he was selected for the Indigenous Marathon Project, a health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate Indigenous resilience. He dreams of running an ultramarathon through his homelands.


Websters Lawyers Service to the Community Award

Grace Fuller, 11 of Kidman Park runs fundraising and awareness activities that impact minority groups. She managed an event to raise money for the purchase of a “Shelter Box” to assist a family displaced by the Syrian War. She helped raise funds to help eradicate polio through a mini education program within her school. She raised $430, which was matched by the Rotary Club of Prospect and doubled by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, resulting in 11,000 vaccines being acquired. Grace volunteers with the Henley Beach Surf Life Saving and Prospect Rotary Clubs and received the Paul Harris Fellow Award in recognition for her volunteering.

Monu Chamlagai, 19 of Salisbury hopes to gives back to the community that welcomed her. Monu is the Deputy Chair for Salisbury Youth Council 2019, having been a Council member for three years. She is a member of Every Life Matters Salisbury Suicide Prevention Network – Youth Focus Group, which aims to reduce suicide rates among young people. She is part of the SA Youth Junior Parliament and SA Youth Parliament. Monu volunteers in her Bhutanese Community, assisting young people to learn about their culture and language. She is studying Psychology at the University of South Australia and was named Salisbury Young Citizen of the Year 2020.

Stacey Mousley, 26 of Wynn Vale is committed to empowering young people. For over six years, Stacey has been a volunteer at Talk Out Loud, a youth empowerment and suicide prevention group, where she speaks in community meetings and schools and conducts empowerment workshops and programs. She also volunteers at Red Frogs, which aims to look after people who are intoxicated at sporting events, music festivals and uni parties. At Victory Church, she is involved in running youth and children’s programs to guide them on life’s journey. Stacey volunteers at Adelaide Zoo and in bushfire relief operations. She was named 2019 Westfield Local Hero Winner.


Worldwide Small Business Achiever Award

Branden Kentish & Nathan Peters - Adelaide Bar Boys, 26 of Adelaide are committed to showcasing the best of Adelaide. Adelaide Bar Boys was inspired by their European adventure where Branden and Nathan experienced the best bars. With a focus on walking bar tours in the Central Business District, Adelaide Bar Boys provides custom, high-end experiences that showcase a locals’ perspective of SA. Each tour comes with two guides to ensure maximum value for the customer whilst revealing Adelaide’s best bars and experiences. Adelaide Bar Boys participated in the Fringe Festival and won Best Fringe Event in 2019. Active across all social media channels, they have been featured on TripAdvisor and The Advertiser.

Daisy Smark - No. 1 Lady Tradie, 27 of Prospect is a registered General Builder for Painting, Tiling, Paving, Fencing, First and Second-fit Carpentry. In 2016 she founded No. 1 Lady Tradie, which specialises in home improvements, including bathrooms, kitchens, painting, and carpentry work. Now with the help from an apprentice, No. 1 Lady Tradie works in commercial and residential sectors and they produce short videos and use social media to showcase their quality work. Daisy has accepted an invitation from SALT (Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen) to work with female students in bushfire-affected areas to promote trades. She spent three weeks supporting women in trades and the fire recovery efforts.

Luke Gray - Periscope Media Pty Ltd, 25 of Adelaide has unstoppable determination to succeed. Luke is co-founder of Periscope Media, a 7-digit full-serviced digital marketing company that serves 100+ clients across Australia, New Zealand and the United States. To learn Search Engine Optimisation in a $12,000 mastermind class, he got a full-time job at Flight Centre. Working full-time while building his business, he overcame being broke and founded Gray SEO Global from his parents’ spare room. The company evolved to become Periscope Media. Together with his business partner, Carradean Farley, they now have four offices in Adelaide Arcade, a team of five Adelaide-based employees and more than 10 based overseas. 

Sreymom Lund - Little Khmer Kitchen, 25 of Adelaide owns and manages Little Khmer Kitchen, the only Cambodian eatery in the CBD. Born in rural Cambodia, she was adopted when she was eight with no English or schooling. Sreymom completed an International Baccalaureate in Phnom Penh, before moving to Australia to study Anthropology, Development Studies and a Masters of Clinical Nursing. Through Uni, Sreymom started a catering business and with her own funds created Little Khmer Kitchen. The restaurant has a five star rating on Trip Advisor and received much media coverage. Sreymom received the 2020 Young Citizen of the Year Award for City of Adelaide.