Seven News Young Achiever Awards VIC

2017 Finalists

Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award

Hiba Abd El Hamed, 21 of ALTONA MEADOWS is a former refugee. She is a human rights advocate and co-founder and President of AfroCare, a youth led not-for profit organisation. AfroCare addresses mental health issues and education within the African community, in a culturally and religiously sensitive manner. As one of 10 UNICEF Australian Young Ambassadors, Hiba authored the “Things that Matter” report, consulting 1,500 children about things that mattered to them.

Laura Pintur, 24 of MOUNT ELIZA co-founded “What’s Normal”, a program to engage and educate young people about the issues related to pornography and how it impacts our society. Workshops, 'Living in a Pornified Culture', equip young people to be creators of culture, not just consumers. Laura spear-headed a campaign to remove Zoo Magazine from supermarket shelves, gathering 40,000 signatures and ultimately causing the magazine’s closure. She has numerous written media articles and has appeared on Radio and TV.

Nick Pearce, 23 of BOX HILL is CEO and co-founder of 'Homeless of Melbourne Incorporated' and has raised $100,000 for the homeless community of Melbourne. In 2015 the first HoMie Street Store opened. The store raises money through apparel sales and donations. It also provides a retail training and employment program for young people currently experiencing homelessness. The Homeless of Melbourne Facebook page has more than 30,000 followers. Nick was also the spokesperson for Headspace’s national ‘Tear Down the Stigma’ campaign.

Bartercard Online Achievement Award

Morgan Ranieri, 27 of BRUNSWICK EAST is the creator of YourGrocer, an online marketplace. It connects busy grocery shoppers with their local independent shops. YourGrocer delivers hundreds of orders across Melbourne every week and has also started deliveries in Sydney. 150 local businesses are involved to date, providing fresh, quality groceries delivered to the customer’s door. YourGrocer supports small businesses and is helping to revolutionise the way we buy groceries. Morgan was also involved with building Thankyou Water's online presence.

Josh Caratelli, 20 of SOUTH MELBOURNE is an award winning game developer. He has created Xbox, iPhone and PlayStation games including Don Bradman Cricket 17 and the eco-themed Smog Game, educating children about reducing their carbon footprint. Josh won the 2014 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Challenge and with his prize money, created a scholarship to assist women and disadvantaged youth get into game development. He lecturers and speaks on topics of coding, STEM diversity and education.

Richard Li & David Wei -, 28 of KEW co-created Brosa, an online retailer to revolutionise how people buy furniture. They use in-house built technology to power its entire supply chain including the design of furniture, manufacturing, storage, sales and delivery. Brosa is able to launch 50 new furniture designs each week, and sells its products online to consumers across Australia. Now with a team of 60, Brosa is planning international expansion for its Melbourne-designed products.

Victoria University Research Impact Award

Dr Amgad Rezk, 29 of MELBOURNE received the prestigious RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship and is a Winston Churchill Fellow. He co-leads the Micro/Nanophysics Research Laboratory. They develop and commercialise handheld mega-Hertz nebulisers, for needle-free medicine administration and lung disease treatment. This technology delivers sensitive bio-particles such as DNA, peptides, proteins and cells without detrimental effects to their structural and functional viability. Amgad has co-authored 20 leading journal papers and his research work has been featured nationally and internationally. 

Dr Katrina Witt, 29 of FITZROY is an international leader in suicide prevention research, mapping the trajectory from self-harm to suicide. She pioneered a unique analysis method to illuminate associated and cumulative suicide risk factors. Her research will provide world-first evidence for new risk assessments and management, showing a significant reduction in suicide risk by timely intervention and treatments. Katrina has published 21 papers and presented at ten international conferences. She was awarded the prestigious 2016 Rod Rickards Fellowship. 

Dr Lucie Bland, 25 of FITZROY NORTH is a Research Fellow. She develops process-based models to assess risk, focusing on functional declines in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. Her work will improve understanding of the risks to Victorian ecosystems, creating a path forward to sustainable management. Lucie’s work has been published in leading international journals and she has several papers in review and preparation. Lucie volunteers for the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, coordinating global ecosystem conservation research. 

Dr Sumeet Walia, 28 of MELBOURNE is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Engineering. He specialises in the use of metal oxides for the next-generation of nano-electronics. His research includes wearable electronics, artificial electronic memories and high-speed transistors. Sumeet has 34 peer-reviewed publicataions, presented his findings at prestigious international conferences and holds three patents. Sumeet was named in the top 10 innovators under 35 in Asia and one of his discoveries featured in the Top 100 innovations list.

The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award

Claire Goldsworthy, 27 of BRIGHTON is founder and editor of The Fashion Advocate, a digital magazine dedicated to Australian fashion and beauty. She also created The Dress Collective, Australia’s largest online store for Australian made fashion, featuring ethical and sustainable fashion. Claire was awarded a Fashion Scholarship and has worked with international labels in New York and Berlin. She planned and executed the Tenerife Festival Fashion Precinct and hosted the Fashion Advocate Runway in the 2017 Melbourne Fashion Festival. 

Isaiah Firebrace, 17 of ECHUCA won X Factor Australia in 2016 and secured a contract with Sony Music. He released his debut studio album “Isaiah” which peaked at number 12 on the Australian Albums Chart. Isaiah has been honoured with representing Australia in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with his song "Don't Come Easy". Isaiah gives his singing competition prize money to the family as the sole income earner. He would like one day, to buy them a house. 

Lisa Cheney, 29 of FITZROY NORTH composes contemporary-classical music. She has worked with The Australian Ballet and both the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. Lisa is completing her PhD in Music and has received numerous scholarships and fellowships. She is also the Faculty Academic Assistant and tutor in music composition and theory. Lisa is the founder of a Women in Composition group and co-curator of ‘Making Waves’, an online listening space dedicated to Australian composers and composition. 

Penelope Min Ferguson, 29 of UPPER FERNTREE GULLY is the creator of Min Pin, an illustration based design label, specialising in fine jewellery, ceramics and textiles. Penelope was a finalist in Yen Magazine’s Young Female Art Award and won the Art, Illustration and Paper Design category of the 2015 Etsy Design Awards. She was invited by The National Gallery of Victoria to create Min Pin based activities for their 2017 Kids Summer Festival. Min Pin is now stocked internationally.


The Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award

I CAN South West, 24 of WARRNAMBOOL is a subsidiary of Australia’s first social enterprise founded by people with Autism. They offer mentoring, social activities, advocacy and support to young people on the Autism Spectrum. Mentees have spoken to Members of parliament to promote Autism advocacy. The participants of I CAN South West work together in fortnightly mentoring sessions. They challenge traditional perceptions of Autism and drive a rethink of Autism from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’. 

Y-House Foundation Junior Committee, 25 of ELSTERNWICK assists ‘The Y-House Foundation’ to support young people who have suffered traumatic brain and spinal injuries and are living in aged care. The volunteer Junior Committee assists with the Y-House Foundation’s goal to build a transitional rehab facility for young people. They manage donations, fundraising events, awareness campaigns, marketing and social media. The committee created a successful partnership with burger franchise, Grill’d, holding ‘Grill’d Weekends’, raising $30,000. 

Happy Brain Education, 23 of ROWVILLE is a social enterprise for young people experiencing social disadvantage. They provide access to educational resources, mentoring, support, volunteering opportunities and life experiences. Tutoring is provided at a very affordable $10 an hour. After covering running costs such as rent and insurance, the profits go to causes that the students are passionate about. They raised $147,000 for a six year old to have heart surgery and $9,500 was raised for a CD4 machine.


CFA Volunteer Excellence Award

Alphonse Mulashe, 18 of NORLANE arrived as a refugee in 2010. He has completed Year 11 and as the eldest son cares for and supports his family. Alphonse voluntarily coordinates the Congolese Independence Day and Pako Festa, Victoria’s largest Multicultural Festival. He is a Lions Licola Camp youth leader, a member of his church choir and the Congolese Community Choir where he shares his culture through music. As a Youth Ambassador he mentors young people from refugee and CALD backgrounds.

Jake Nankervis, 17 of GROVEDALE has a strong commitment to community and social justice and volunteers for multiple groups. He is a leader in VIBE, a group of young people enhancing social connection and mental health whilst raising funds for various charities. Jake is also a leader in the Green Effect Movement and is passionate about the environment and sustainability. He recently travelled to New York and was involved in the Global Centre for the Responsibility Project. 

Nahkita Wolfe, 25 of ABBOTSFORD voluntarily organises and leads Camp Quality camps and is an advocate for people on the Autism Spectrum, at the ‘I CAN’ Network. She has spent between 20 and 70 hours each week over the past two years volunteering with many organisations, including Global Ideas, festival21, Torque, YEAH, AMSA, and the World Food Programme. She has undertaken these volunteer commitments whilst simultaneously completing full-time honours research, a medical degree, and working part-time. 

Wyatt Kilgower, 20 of PORT ALBERT is 4th Lieutenant and Education officer at Port Albert CFA. He has also volunteered for six years at Woodside Beach Surf Life Saving Club as club captain, patrol captain, first aid officer and is now second in charge. He will facilitate Bronze Surf Life Saving camp this year as Chief Instructor. Wyatt has volunteered in Cusco Peru to build greenhouses and has received community achievement Awards. He is also currently studying to become a paramedic. 

WFI Insurance Small Business Achiever Award

Anna Ross, 29 of COLLINGWOOD founded Kester Black, a nail polish line and an ethical cosmetics company with a positive social impact. Her product has Australian Made, Vegan Society, and Cruelty Free accreditations and is the first cosmetics company in the world to become B Corp certified. Kester Black has grown from and $18,000 to $470,000 annual turnover in just three years. Anna has donated $76,000 to charities and was named 2016 Telstra Australian Young Business Woman of the Year. 

Dale Barnett, 29 of DANDENONG SOUTH is the founder and Director of Biofuel Innovations, where he has created a sustainable biotechnology process to turn waste cooking oil into biodiesel. A chemical engineer by trade, Dale learnt basic welding and electrical work to assist with the plant construction. Biofuel Innovations generates $2.4 million revenue annually. Dale provides a course-accredited internship program for university students. Biofuel Innovations was selected as the Face of Small Business in the 2016 Small Business Festival. 

Mark McDonald, 24 of MELBOURNE co-founded Appster, a multi award winning mobile app development company. Appster is a market leader in Australia and is fast expanding in the USA. They have 350 staff and are on track to achieve $100m a year in revenue by 2018. The Appster University in India puts graduates through an intensive six month course, upskilling them for roles in Appster’s development centre. Appster has developed apps for more than 200 companies and brands.


Bart 'N' Print Health and Wellbeing Award

Amy Whitten, 23 of ECHUCA volunteers as the co-director, program designer, dance teacher and coordinator at BEAM All Abilities Dance and Fitness. Amy also teaches and supports people with disabilities in public shows, activities, and concerts. She is a strong advocate for creating an inclusive community where all feel empowered and valued. Amy volunteers at University events, is President of the Occupational Therapy Student Association and is in the final year of her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy. 

Jessie-Anne Kenworthy, 23 of GEELONG is in her final year of Medicine. She volunteered for several months in a Ugandan health centre, with no electricity or running water. She assisted with delivering babies, vaccinations and helped set up a HIV clinic. Jessie-Anne and her sister created the ‘Light up Mannya campaign’, raising $40,000, and sending 4,000 solar lights to a Ugandan Village. These lights help improve education through home study, reduced costs and stopped fires and burns from kerosene lamps. 

Nikolina Mabic, 22 of WILLIAMSTOWN is a graduate filmmaker. Her film “Unspoken”, about parental abuse won Best Film at the Hobsons Bays Project Film Festival. Her documentary, "The First Giant Hurdle" about mental health will premier soon. She has also created ‘Spare Capacity’, a website and workshops to give young women holistic tools to combat mental illness. Nikolina was selected into the Foundation for Young Australians YSP program and won the 2017 Hobsons Bay Young Citizen of the Year. 

Vi Tran, 27 of FOOTSCRAY is a psychologist who volunteers for many organisations. She volunteered at SHINE for Kids, facilitating programs in prisons, and assisting vulnerable young people with a relative in the criminal justice system. Vi is currently psychologist for Jennings Street School, Doncare Community Services and The Oaks Psychology. She has co-developed two creative group programs for children and adults, developing innovative ways to educate about stress management strategies, anxiety management, strengths and mental health resilience. 

First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Chris Varney, 29 of KEW is the founder and CEO of the ‘I CAN’ Network. The Network is a mentoring and training social enterprise run predominantly by people on the Autism Spectrum with 50% of its Board and team required to be on the spectrum. He created ‘AWEgust for AWEtism’, raising $80,000 to support the mission of the ‘I CAN’ Network. Chris speaks at forums and created the TEDx talk, ‘Autism – How My Unstoppable Mother Proved the Experts Wrong’. 

Hunter Johnson, 25 of MELBOURNE is the CEO of ‘The Man Cave’, a preventative mental health and emotional intelligence program for young men. He has designed and delivered youth and leadership programs and social entrepreneurship incubator programs. As a keynote speaker, Hunter speaks about philanthropy, social enterprise, and what it takes to raise healthy contributing young men. Hunter co-founded Kids in Philanthropy, a not‐for‐profit organisation, focusing on building children’s social awareness, social conscience and the practice of giving. 

Nick Pearce, 23 of BOX HILL has raised $100,000 for the Melbourne homeless community. As CEO and founder of the HoMie (Homeless of Melbourne Incorporated Enterprise) Street Store, $600,000 income has been generated under his leadership. HoMie is a social enterprise creating pathways out of homelessness. The Homeless of Melbourne Facebook page has been heralded as the “most influential social movement in Melbourne”. Nick won the 2015 Big Gun Media Award and the 2016 Australian anti-poverty Award. 

Thomas Banks, 26 of GEELONG WEST wrote and published “Through the eyes of a person with a disability” when he was 16. He will be touring nationally with his one man show, “Someone like Thomas Banks”, and is working on an autobiographic film “The Power of Love”. Thomas is the creator and director of the Centre for Access, a specialised training service to businesses who employ people with a disability. Centre for Access also facilitates disability awareness workshops.


2016 Finalists

CFA Young Volunteer Excellence Award

• Khurram Khan, 21 of WERRIBEE
• Sarah Kenworthy, 18 of GEELONG
• Ryan Wheeler, 24 of MAFFRA

Bart 'N' Print Health and Wellbeing Award
• Jeremy Samson, 28 of VERMONT
• Michelle Connell, 27 of SUNBURY
• Jamin Heppell, 25 of BRUNSWICK EAST

The Victorian Government Small Business Achievement Award
• Shannan Gove - Event Workforce, 26 of RICHMOND
• Aimee Marks - TOM Organic, 29 of ST KILDA
• Kristy Sellars - PhysiPole Studios, 29 of BALLARAT

Victoria University Research Impact Award
• Georgia Atkin-Smith, 23 of QUANTONG
• April Philpott, 28 of ARMADALE
• Briony Murphy, 27 of SOUTHBANK
• Dr Francois Petitjean, 28 of CARNEGIE

The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award
• Joshua Muir, 24 of NAPOLEONS
• Lilikoi Kaos, 27 of COLLINGWOOD
• Fablice Manirakiza, 26 of NOBLE PARK
• Tristan Lucas, 26 of BELMONT

The Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award
• Unite Alliance Program - City of Greater Dandenong Youth Services, of Dandenong
• Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC), of Melbourne
• Indigenous Group, of Whittlesea

Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award
• Dean Cohen, 24 of ELSTERNWICK
• Thomas Banks, 25 of GEELONG WEST
• Robert Gilies, 25 of CANTERBURY

The University of Melbourne Science and Technology Award
• Dr Vi Khanh Truong, 29, SUNSHINE
• Dr Julia Marchingo, 27 of SURREY HILLS
• Christopher Baker, 26 of NORTH MELBOURNE
• Kyra Schwarz, 28 of BRUNSWICK

AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award
• Julia Truong, 22 of ST ALBANS
• Sarah Leung, 28 of BRIGHTON
• Kristy Sellars, 29 of BALLARAT


2015 Finalists

The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award

• Rebecca Clark, 28 of Collingwood
• Bek Berger, 26 of Brunswick
• Gemma Topliss, 19 of East Kew

BASF Science and Technology Award
• Timothy Crouch, 28 of Hawthorn
• Adam Kessler, 26 of Malvern East
• David Riglar, 28 of Melbourne
• Jacqui Delaney, 27 of Greensborough

Victorian Government Innovation Award
• Elsje Jordan, 25 of Fitzroy
• Alastair Pryor, 25 of North Fitzroy
• Meera Fernandes, 21 of Ashburton
• Northern Grampians Shire Youth Action Council of Stawell

Academy Graphics Regional Achiever Award
• Htoo Kolo, 18 of Corio
• Chelsea McGhee, 24 of Sorrento
• Jacinta Masters, 24 of Ballan
• Jessi McEwan, 21 of Morwell

Bartercard Online Achievement Award
• Tzvi Balbin, 27 – DataSauce of Caulfield North
• Andrew Armstrong & Long Zheng, 27 of Melbourne
• Lewis Romano, 28 – of Melbourne

First National Real Estate Leadership Award
• Jacqueline Teh, 19 of Glen Waverley
• Georgia Retallick, 23 of Elsternwick
• Ngaree Blow, 25 of Parkville

Victorian Government Small Business Achievement Award
• Lisa Du, 27 – ReadyTechGo of Forest Hill
• Michael Bird, Andrew Archibald and George Glover 26 - Social Garden of Richmond
• Caitlyn Calder, 25 - Coco Red Hair & Beauty of Maryborough
• Paul O’Shea, 28 - CS Town Planning Services of Glen Iris

AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award
• Julia Doeven, 27 of Wantirna South
• Kate McLean, 25 of Reservoir
• Lara Mayze, 24 of Geelong

Saward Dawson Community Service and Volunteering Award
• Mark Green, 24 of Wodonga
• Jessica Barlow, 23 of Knox
• Daniel Kuzeff, 25 of South Melbourne
• Morgan Cataldo, 27 of Footscray