From filmmaking to mental health, this year’s finalists in the Channel 9 Young Achiever Award are working with young people and helping the community in many ways.
People’s Choice voting is underway ahead of the awards night in Adelaide on 11 May, with several Flinders University students among an impressive line-up of young achievers.
They include film director and producer, Flinders graduates Simon Williams (BCreatArts), whose career includes creating social-awareness commercial and corporate films for clients including Alzheimer’s Australia and the Equal Opportunities Commission.
The 28-year old’s production company, Gravity Films, is now working on two international feature films, building on the success of the recent ABC iView series Goober which won the Best Australian Comedy at the 2017 Melbourne Webfest.
Nelson Hedditch, aged 27, is another contender in the Coffee Club Arts and Fashion award category.
He commenced international studies at Flinders University before going fulltime into a career as a DJ, MC, songwriter, live performer and spoken word poet – including an six-month residency and internship in New York after winning the 2018 Carclew Fellowship.
One of the STEM Award finalists is Flinders PhD candidate Matthew Iasiello, 26, who is based at the SA Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) this year after graduating with high grades from the University of Adelaide.
He has recently coordinated the Resilient Futures project, targeting the wellbeing of hundreds of youths disengaged from mainstream education. The project was recognised by Philanthropy Australia with further funding.
“It aims to give more than 1,000 at-risk young people a set of resilience skills with the aim of improving their wellbeing and goal achievement,” Matthew says, adding his PhD (supervised by Flinders Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane) is investigating the relationship between mental illness and wellbeing.
Other Flinders connections among the award finalists are 16-year-old Lachlan Etherton, whose startup GetMoova – an electronic smart wrist device for children – showcases his enthusiasm for computer programming and coding. Lachlan has worked with the New Venture Institute at Flinders to build his entrepreneurial skills.
Another former Flinders student, Christine Glenn, 29, is a finalist in the Department of Human Services Aboriginal Achievement Award. Christine studied social work for two years before concentrating on her mentoring role in netball.
Through the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy, Christine coaches young netball players, having helped to establish the SA Aboriginal Junior Football Carnival.
This year she is implementing the Netball SA Inaugural Reconciliation Action which she worked on throughout 2017 after winning the 2016 Australia Post One Netball Community Award.
Winners of the Aboriginal Achievement, STEM, Innovation, Arts and Fashion and other Young Achiever awards will be made at the gala presentation dinner at the Hilton Adelaide on Friday 11 May.
The twelve category winners are:
• Jordan Gruber – Frontier Microscopy, 25 of Seacliff – WFI Insurance Small Business Achiever Award and 2018 Premier’s Channel 9 Young Achiever of the Year.
• Christine Glenn, 29 of Elizabeth North – Department of Human Services Aboriginal Achievement Award
• Lachlan Etherton, 16 of Greenwith – First National Real Estate Innovation Award
• Mimona Abdalla, 19 of Salisbury East – Multicultural Youth South Australia Spirit of Resilience Award
• Sarah Hammond, 24 of Echunga – Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Rural Health Award
• Emily Rawlings, 18 of Whyalla – Santos Regional Service Award
• Lauren Heddle, 17 of Upper Sturt – Scouts SA Leadership Award
• Daniel Thorpe, 26 of Bowden – The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award
• Franke Agenbag, 18 of Marananga – The University of Adelaide STEM Award
• Thomas Brown, 26 of Mylor – University Senior College Create Change Award
• Kira Bain, 18 of Ingle Farm – Websters Lawyers Service to the Community Award
• Kurtis Marschall, 20 of Happy Valley – Worldwide Sports Award