7NEWS Young Achiever Awards - SA

2021 Finalists


Websters Lawyers Service to the Community Award

Emily Harman, 23 of Elizabeth Park is an ambassador and advocate for others with a disability. Emily lives with Cerebral Palsy. She is an active member of the Playford Youth Advisory Committee, the Salisbury City Rotaract Club, and the Helping Young People Achieve (HYPA) Youth Leadership Team. She overcame depression in Year 10, finished Year 12 and acquired a Certificate III in Disability Support with support from HYPA. She works at Novita, where she came up with the idea of transport training to allow clients to engage in the community more. Emily has received the 2018 Playford Young Citizen of the Year and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Wathnak Vy, 24 of Para Hills West is a counsellor, a student taking Master in Counselling, specialising in Advanced Practice, and a volunteer for the Cambodian Association of South Australia, Mental Health Foundation SA and Suicide Prevention Network. He is the youngest registered counsellor with the Australian Counselling Association. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he offered free phone counselling services, helping around 230 people. Wathnak completed double degrees of Bachelor of International Development and Bachelor of Social Sciences at the University of Adelaide. He received the South Australian 2021 Australian Day Award for Leadership and Cultures and the 2021 Young Citizen of the Year Award for the Adelaide City Council.

Dimity Bullen-Nicholas, 28 of Surrey Downs is an Ambassador, Board Member and Community Advocate for Cystic Fibrosis South Australia (CFSA). She has run 9 half-marathon to raise funds and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. She works with staffing teams to reduce the risk of complications and created a mentorship program for struggling teens to help them understand their illness. She has worked with committees to get life-saving treatment approved in Australia and get CF recognised by the NDIS. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she helped raise over $80,000 for CFSA. Dimity runs an online business, “Delivering Flowers”, allowing her to work from home and hospital due to having CF.


Worldwide Small Business Achiever Award
Daisy Smark - No. 1 Lady Tradie, 27 of Prospect 
is advocating for women in trades. Daisy is a General Builder who founded No. 1 Lady Tradie, which specialises in home improvements. They produce short videos to showcase their quality work on social media. Daisy originally wanted to become an engineer but found her passion for tools. She spent two years learning and practising her trade skills. She successfully took the license test and was registered for Painting, Tailing, Paving, Fencing, First and Second-fit Carpentry and more. Daisy has accepted an invitation from Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) and is working with young women at schools in bushfire-affected areas to promote trades.

Emily Condon - EC Advantage 22 of North Plympton is dedicated to altering the mindset of individuals through innovative training and realistic technical skill sessions. Emily created EC Advantage, with a focus on developing female athletes through strength and conditioning and soccer skill sessions. She offers personal training, injury prevention training, and specialised soccer skill sessions. She aims to understand the gaps and stigmas of female athletes not wanting to be viewed as ‘bulky’. Before launching her business, Emily completed Certificates III and IV in Fitness, Paul Chek courses and ASCA Certificate on Strength and Conditioning. Emily is a soccer player who has previously played for Adelaide and Australia

Marie-Jeanne Tuyisenge - Mazzprints 25 of Mitchell Park is committed to innovation, sustainability and putting customers first. Marie-Jeanne founded Mazzprints, a small African-owned clothing business. She imports vibrant African printed fabrics and personally designs and hand-make all pieces. Inspired by her late mother, who was a well-rounded businesswoman in a refugee camp, Marie-Jeanne learned how to sew by watching YouTube and websites of certified seamstresses. Marie-Jeanne personally finances the business through working other jobs. Before moving to Australia, Marie-Jeanne spent years in a refugee camp in Tanzania after her parents sought refuge from the Rwandan Genocide. She lived in Kenya for 11 years before receiving resettlement visas to Australia.


Carclew Creative Achievement Award
Grace Lam 19 of Somerton Park is a multi-discipline disabled artist and disability advocate. Grace set up Grace’s Handmade Cards, where she designs, makes and sells handmade bespoke cards, personalised candles, t-shirts and tote bags whilst providing employment for artists with disabilities. In 2020, she sold 500 candles and donated 10% of the profits to charity. As an artist, Grace is part of a theatre project called Unshackled and at Large, which revisits the history of disabled people in sideshows and circus. As a writer, Grace is part of a small group working to develop text and music for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Floods of Fire project.

Elsy Wameyo 21 of Newton is a writer and composer known for her single “Outcast”, which won an award at the 2019 South Australian Music Awards. She wrote Outcast as a 17-year-old confused young black girl who didn’t know where she belonged. Its music video included the African Community, showcasing the power, intelligence and beauty of black individuals. After receiving a grant from Carclew, she purchased a home studio and learned to produce tracks. She is currently working on her debut extended play. Elsy was named 2018 Young Kenyan of the Year. She won People’s Choice Best Hip Hop at the South Australian Music Awards.

Kiah Gossner 28 of West Hindmash is exploring social and cultural issues in his music. Kiah is an award-winning composer, orchestrator, performer and producer for music, film, theatre and television. He has been on multiple national and international tours with various Australian acts. He is also a Producer/Engineer at Studios 301 and Producer/Mixer at Mixmasters Studio. His new work “CONTACT” uses the cathartic powers of music, poetry, film and design in a live theatrical setting to explore the cyclical nature of domestic violence. During Covid-19, Kiah co-wrote songs with musicians throughout Australia via Zoom and mobile phone. He graduated from Elder Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Music-Jazz.


Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Rural Health Award
Tessa Deak 21 of Mount Gambier is a passionate advocate for those chronically ill/disabled. In 2018, she hosted a Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) Awareness Night to spread awareness about her disease and what it’s like having them. She started the Chronic Illness Support Limestone Coast, which began a Facebook group. They hold catch-ups and coordinate events such as the Wellness and Wellbeing Festival. Tessa founded and chaired the Festival, which showcases local products, businesses and services to support different aspects of wellbeing. Tessa was Headspace Youth Ambassador for two years. She currently leads the “Just Relax: Let’s Talk About Disability” Project, focusing on disability awareness and education.

Trent Wingard 29 of Adelaide is dedicated to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people and communities. Trent is a proud Ngarrindjeri/Kaurna/Boandik Aboriginal man who works with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. He has developed a strategy for implementing a project that centres on Aboriginal culture and wellbeing. He focuses on improving recruitment and retention and building career pathways that champion the skills and experience of Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners. Trent was previously a Youth Project Officer in the Tackling Indigenous Health Program at the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia. He is currently completing his Bachelor in Social Work at Deakin University whilst working full-time.

Tyrene Gardiner 17 of Port Lincoln has a passion for giving back to his community. Tyrene is an active youth member of St John Ambulance SA within the Port Lincoln Cadet Division. He runs training sessions for cadets to enable them to provide service to the wider community at any time. In the past 12 months, Tyrene has raised $3,000 for a public access defibrillator placed at Drakes Foodland in Port Lincoln. He has educated students on the importance of defibrillators and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) through workshops at schools. He is also a trainer for the Tasman Football Club, assisting in taping/strapping, massage therapy and injury rehab.


The University of Adelaide STEM Award
Dr Rebecca Marrone 28 of Evanston hopes to lessen the gender gap in STEM. Rebecca has a PhD from the School of Engineering at the University of South Australia (UniSA) and a first-class Honours Degree in Psychology. She currently works as an academic for the Centre for Change and Complexity in Learning at UniSA. She runs the Epic Challenge Program, delivered on behalf of UniSA, NASA and The Epic Education Foundation. The Program presents un-answered space-based questions for students to solve. Dr Rebecca also volunteers for the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s CHOOSEMATHS program, mentoring Year 10 girls. She holds a professional development training series for school teachers.

Dr Sarah Bernhardt 26 of Clarence Gardens focuses on improving the treatment of young women with breast cancer. Sarah has completed a Bachelor of Science (Biomedical) at the University of Adelaide (AU) and a First-Class Honours within the Cell Signalling Laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Biology. She has researched why aggressive breast cancers become resistant to therapy. She received a Faculty of Health Science Divisional Scholarship from AU for her PhD. Sarah joined the Breast Biology and Cancer Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, continuing to research on improving precision medicine. She recently accepted a postdoctoral research position at a breast cancer laboratory in the United States.

Kate Secombe 28 of Norwood is in her final year of PhD in Medicine at the University of Adelaide (AU). She completed her Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science), receiving two Outstanding Academic Achievement awards. Aiming to improve the quality of life of people with cancer, Kate is working on a method to predict who will develop gastrointestinal toxicity from their treatment using the individual’s unique microbiome. This could help reduce the side effects of cancer treatments. Kate has completed a Postgraduate Research Internship at Bright Arena. She has published 11 peer-reviewed papers and won a Fellowship to do research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.


Department of Human Services Aboriginal Achievement Award
Shantae Barnes-Cowan 17 of Whyalla is a young Adnyamathanha woman. She has made her onscreen TV debut and was recognised as one of the Rising Stars for 2019 by the Casting Guild of Australia. She has served as Indigenous Literacy Foundation Ambassador for South Australia. In 2018, she travelled to Melbourne with other students to promote the importance of literacy to Aboriginal children. She was a guest speaker at the NUNGA Screen opening event. She has played netball and basketball at state level, has acted in a coaching capacity to support other local sportspeople and even received the 2018 NAIDOC Female Sports Person of the Year.

Tiahni Jade Adamson 25 of Glenelg is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman who works full-time in the Marine Conservation and Compliance with Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA). She is employed under the Aboriginal Compliance Support Officer Career Program and is working towards becoming a Fisheries Officer through a traineeship. Tiahni works with the local SA Aboriginal communities to facilitate cultural events such as Narrunga country and Reconciliation and NAIDOC events across SA. A graduate of Bachelor of Science (Wildlife Conservation Biology), she hopes to marry her science-based education with traditional Indigenous knowledge and practices. Tiahni is currently studying a Masters of Environmental Policy and Management.

Trent Wingard 29 of Adelaide is a proud Ngarrindjeri/Kaurna/Boandik Aboriginal man. He currently works as an Aboriginal Health Workforce Coordinator where he scopes current workforce needs, with a focus on improving recruitment and retention and building career pathways of Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners. Trent previously worked as Youth Project Officer in the Tackling Indigenous Health Program of the Aboriginal Health Council of SA. He developed school-based programs committed to improving health prospects for young Aboriginal kids through education. He created the Puyu Blaster campaign, an engagement tool for educating young children on the health implications of smoking. Trent has Bachelor’s degree in Social Work.


First National Real Estate Innovation Award
Marion Vigot 29 of Adelaide is focusing on sustainability. Marion is a French serial entrepreneur who is the co-founder and CEO of Close the Loop Solutions. Her first sustainable portfolio brand is Mister RYE, the first rye-drinking straw to contribute to the circular economy. She recently launched Compostable Alternatives, a radically transparent platform supporting restaurants and cafés, introducing innovative and truly compostable solutions to single-use packaging and takeaway. Marion is the first international female entrepreneur to be granted a place in the Supporting Innovation in South Australia Entrepreneur Program. She is a Board Member of Startup Adelaide and Co-President and Coordinator for La French Tech Australia.

Nicholas Sanderson 24 of Adelaide graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from Adelaide University. He left his job as a cashier for seven years to launch Splose, a software for Allied Health practitioners and NDIS service providers. Splose is an all-in-one tool that integrates with Xero, Stripe, MailChimp, Medicare, Google Calendar, Zoom, LanternPay and more. Splose developed an app for the University of Adelaide. With enough demand, Nicholas hired two software engineers and started building a practice management software. Nicholas has raised close to $250,000 from private investors in South Australia and Melbourne. Splose is on track to having thousands of users in 2021.

Patrick Payne 25 of Adelaide founded Pitter Pattr, which was originally launched as a Facebook extension in the Facebook Messenger keyboard. Within seven days of launching, Facebook discontinued the technology that the extension used to integrate into the Messenger draw. This led to Patrick turning Pitter Pattr into a web platform ( and later mobile application (Pitter Pattr Custom Keyboard iOS App). Pitter Pattr allows users to become a sound snippet creator, find sound snippets for any context, and share them with others. Patrick works as Home Innovation Manager at the Royal Automobile Association, where he leads, launches new businesses and advises the company on innovation.


Multicultural Youth South Australia Spirit of Resilience Award
Qasem Bahmanzadah 24 of Pooraka is passionate about youth empowerment and development. Qasem arrived in Australia from Afghanistan, not knowing a single word of English. He worked hard, overcame obstacles, got out of his comfort zone and completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation. He is a coordinator for RYLA and RYPEN, youth leadership programs that aim to empower and develop leadership in youth. He is an Event Responder with St John Ambulance and mentor for Spire Coaching, a youth development program that teaches high school students leadership skills. Qasem is a SAPOL Diversity Inclusion Group team member, advising on strategies to better serve the community.

Tamanna Bakhtyari 18 of Paralowie spent her childhood experiencing the daily trauma of life under the Taliban in Afghanistan, where education was a learning crisis. Her family escaped to Pakistan and spent three years there before arriving in Australia and starting school only at age 9. Tamanna has a reputation for “getting things done”, with a willingness to become involved and take action. In her Research Project, she looked into domestic violence among traumatised Afghan refugee families in her community. The project provided female participants with a formal forum to speak about their experiences, to realise they were not alone and become involved in positive change.

Zahra Bayani 24 of Salisbury is dedicated to helping those in need. Zahra fled Iran, where she faced discrimination, bullying, harassment and racism. She arrived in Australia with no grasp of English but turned her life around. Zahra currently studies Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) at the University of South Australia. She has been President of the Rotaract Club at Thebarton Senior College and has been a Mentor/Director at the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment. She is a Mentor at Spire Coaching, developing leadership skills for students to become valuable members of their communities and a First Aider at St John Ambulance.


Scouts SA Leadership Award
Mahendra Chitrarasu 24 of Royston Park is striving to effect social change by helping young people flourish. Mahendra is a national Young Ambassador for UNICEF Australia, advocating for children’s rights, mentoring vulnerable children who’ve experienced abuse, neglect and disadvantage, and training next-generation youth leaders in social justice advocacy. He hosts a community youth program on Radio Adelaide and serves people experiencing homelessness through St Vincent De Paul. Mahendra is a long-serving volunteer and board member for Edmund Rice Camps, where he fulfils every role on camp, from planning programs building resilience, hope and confidence to coordinating and leading entire camps as camp manager to feeding the masses.

Nathan Lam 29 of Rosslyn Park believes in leading by example. Nathan is a GP doctor-in-training who has been working at a GP clinic in Athelstone at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. He came up with the idea of converting an unused hall of the Athelstone Uniting Church into a Covid-19 testing centre. He took the initiative and contacted the Church and Federal Government. Soon, the Athelstone Respiratory Covid Clinic was opened to patients for free Covid-19 testing and assessments. Nathan designed the website booking system, worked as the sole doctor on-site daily whilst leading a small team of nurses and assessed almost 1,000 patients.

Sam Capurso 29 of Glandore is passionately promoting inclusivity in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Sam ceased offering accelerated classes and instead introduced an Extension Class in Years 7 to 10 for students with high potential. The restructure required Sam to undertake an extensive change in management process with staff, students and families. He is also thinking of offering senior mathematics as aspiration-focused, reducing the stigma associated with taking courses for students with vocational aspirations that are viewed as ‘lower end’. Sam is on the Executive Committee of the Mathematical Association of South Australia (MASA), where he writes resources and facilitates workshops at conferences nationwide.


University Senior College Create Change Award
Dr Brianna Le Busque 27 of Prospect passionately applies psychological theories to conservation and promotes the importance of understanding human behaviours. Regarding her Conservation Psychology work, Brianna has published academic manuscripts, assisted schools in setting up small-scale sustainability projects, taught students how their behaviours impact shark conservation, and inspired future conservationists to consider the importance of psychology theories. Briana runs a personal blog and social media platforms called “dr.ofwhat”. Her blog reaches postgraduate students across the globe and provides camaraderie, resources and a source of motivation with her genuine and authentic reflections. Briana has completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) degree and a PhD in Conservation Psychology.

Zoe Thomson 25 of Salisbury has been a volunteer for Talk Out Loud for five years, where she has been a leader at six Youth Empowerment Camps and planned fundraisers and social events. She has performed in a Fringe production called 41 Seconds. In her most recent initiative, Camp Tembo, Zoe facilitated the 2-day camp to inspire, empower and start conversations of girls aged 11 and 13 to reduce the stigma of mental health. Zoe is currently a Support Services Officer at Headspace Adelaide whilst studying a Bachelor of Social Work. She was previously employed at Helping Young People Achieve (HYPA) as a Young Employment Consultant.

Zibeon Fielding 26 of Mimili raised funds towards providing a dialysis machine for The Purple House and having a gym built in Mimili. He did this by becoming a marathon runner and marathon bike rider, running 62kms and riding over 700kms through APY Lands and raising $90,000. Zibeon has previously trained and competed in three major international running marathons. He has a Certificate IV in Primary Health Care and works as an Aboriginal Health Worker. He runs health checks, encourages and supports people to attend health clinics and educates people to recognise symptoms and diseases. Zibeon has been recently accepted into a Bachelor of Medicine course.


Santos Regional Service Award
Jack Gill 21 of Evanston Park is focused on promoting sustainability, arts and civic involvement. Jack has been involved in the Gawler Youth Advisory Committee, providing youth-based insights to Gawler Council and ensuring that the town has the younger population and future residents’ concerns in mind. He is running a Bike Month Campaign in April to engage residents in the benefits of carbon-neutral transport. Jack was one of the Youth Representatives on the Gawler Climate Emergency Action Plan Working Group and a Gawler Delegate to the National Climate Emergency Summit 2020. Jack has commenced his Master of Science (Environment and Sustainability) at the University of Adelaide.

Chanceline Kakule 22 of Worrolong is inspiring young people of refugee/migrant backgrounds. Chanceline started a branch of the E-Raced Program in Mount Gambier, which aims to combat or minimise racism one story at a time. She trains young refugees and immigrants in storytelling. Once they are confident, they share their stories in schools to tackle the issue of racism and build understanding to those without refugee or migrant experiences. E-Raced has started an initiative called “Healing Conversations.” Chanceline moved to Australia when she was 9 years old. Her family fled Congo during a time of war and spent 7 years in a refugee camp in Zambia.

Renee Chamberlain 17 of Gawler East has been volunteering with the Town Of Gawler, attending events such as skatepark competitions, whole town events and Fringe events. She is a mentor at the Gawler Youth Space. She has taken a role as chairperson of the Gawler Youth Advisory Committee, which will see her sit on various committees and meet and update their Mayor. Renee has represented Gawler Youth at the Silo’s to Symphony’s State Symposium. Renee founded the Gawler and District College B-12 Interact Club, with a goal of teaching younger generations the importance of community service. In 2020, she became Interact Club President for the second time.


Minister for Innovation and Skills Outstanding Apprentice Award
Karmin Poulish, 18 of Gawler South is an apprentice at Hentley Farm Restaurant. Karmin experienced mental health issues and bullying that led to her transfer to St. Patrick’s Technical College, where she completed SACE and Certificate II in Cookery. She has completed extra work experience in the hospitality industry, a Beginner’s Cake Decorating Course, and Le Cordon Blue’s French Breakfast Pastry Course and Career Residential Course. She has volunteered in the kitchen of Tasting Australia. Karmin won a place in the Proud To Be A Chef competition and will travel to Melbourne in September 2021 to learn from Australia’s best chefs and compete for an international scholarship.

Kobey Knight, 20 of Christie Downs is an eager and determined learner. Kobey overcame many learning difficulties to become a qualified horticulturalist after completing a traineeship with the Botanic Gardens of South Australia (BGSA). He commenced a Vocational Education Training pathway and completed Certificates I and II in Conservation and Land Management and Certificates II and III in Horticulture. With the help of Michael Jenkinson, a teacher struck by Kobey’s enthusiasm, Kobey connected with the BGSA Traineeship Program becoming one of its youngest trainees. He was awarded the Gwen Thomas Scholarship and represented BGSA at the Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand Congress in Wellington, NZ.

Kelsey Wade, 21 of Renmark undertook VET in SACE and completed a Certificate III in Media, leading to graphic design, which is her primary career goal. She has pursued subjects in the Arts to gain solid foundation for knowledge and skills. She undertook a part-time traineeship at a local agency whilst studying Certificate III in Business. She was approached for apprenticeship at Print DNA, a local printing firm, being the only graduating student interviewed for the position. She started her Apprenticeship as a Certificate III in Print Communication and is now in her last year. Kelsey was a 2020-2021 LIA SA Graduate of the Year finalist.


Qoin Career Achievement Award
Dr Trudy Lin 28 of Kensington Park is one of only five registered specialists in Special Needs Dentistry in Australia, providing oral healthcare to people with disability, psychiatric illnesses and complex medical issues. A graduate of Bachelor of Dental Surgery, Trudy became a Senior Dental Officer at the Special Needs Unit, Adelaide Dental Hospital in 2017. She completed her Doctor of Clinical Dentistry in Special Needs Dentistry Program and Advanced Diploma in Nutrition in 2020. During Covid-19, she self-funded the establishment of a Supported Independent Living facility for people with disability to live in the community. Trudy will be receiving an honorary title with the University of Adelaide.

Louise Kyriaki 27 of Newton is an academic researcher at Flinders University. She took her PhD in Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience) at the University of South Australia, which kickstarted her career investigating the neurobiology of how humans understand and use language. As researcher and PhD student, she held several positions, including as student body representative of Magill Campus at the University Student Association Board, Postgraduate Student Representative, Vice President of the Student Association Board and University Council member. She was also a Higher Degree by Research Representative for Psychology. Louise hopes her career will have a meaningful contribution by developing new interventions for people with language-related disorders.

Dr Sachin Kulkarni 27 of Berri graduated in Dentistry from Griffith University and returned to Adelaide to work as a General Dentist. A first-generation immigrant, he has served as a Dentist in outreach programs in South Australian schools and aged cares. He teaches Neuroanatomy for dental students at the University of Adelaide and serves on the Australian Dental Association SA’s Environmental and Sustainability subcommittee. Sachin is completing his Masters in Orofacial Pain Management and is due to begin his PhD candidature in Pain Management and Lasers. He previously won the Engineers Without Borders Challenge, acknowledging his contribution to rural communities in the Tamil Nadu region of India.