Young people in Richmond will be recognised for their outstanding contributions to the community at the 2017 Victorian Young Achiever Awards gala presentation dinner on Friday, 26 May.

The awards acknowledge and celebrate the leadership, skills and contribution of young people aged between 11 and 29 in a diverse range of fields across Victoria, with one of the category winners to become the 2017 Victorian Young Achiever of the Year.

Dr Katrina Witt, 29, of Fitzroy is a finalist for the Victoria University Research Impact Award. Katrina 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 also a finalist for the Victoria University Impact Award, and 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.

Lisa Cheney, 29, of Fitzroy North is a finalist for The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award. Lisa 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.

Nahkita Wolfe, 25, of Abbotsford is a finalist for the CFA Volunteer Excellence Award. Nahkita 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.

Anna Ross, 29, of Collingwood is a finalist for the WFI Insurance Small Business Achiever Award. Anna 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 $18,000 to $470,000 annual turnover in 3 years. Anna has donated $76,000 to charities and was named 2016 Telstra Australian Young Business Woman of the Year.

The Andrews Labor Government is a proud supporter of the Victorian Young Achiever Awards and has provided $16,500 to sponsor the Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award. This award recognises young people who have worked together to provide a service, program or project for young people that has resulted in positive, youth-led changes in a local community

Awards Patron, Minister for Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos will present both the Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award and the 2017 Victorian Young Achiever of the Year Award at the gala dinner on Friday, 26 May.

The nine award categories include:

  • The Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award
  • Bart ‘N’ Print Health and Wellbeing Award
  • Bartercard Online Achievement Award
  • CFA Volunteer Excellence Award
  • First National Real Estate Leadership Award
  • Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award
  • The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award
  • Victoria University Research Impact Award
  • WFI Insurance Small Business Achiever Award

Quotes attributable to Member for Richmond

“These awards give us an opportunity to celebrate the incredible ways that young people in Richmond are giving back to the community, and continuing to inspire others.”

“Good luck to Katrina, Lucie, Lisa, Nahkita, Anna, and all the other finalists for this year’s Victorian Young Achiever Awards.”

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