Put your hands together and welcome our 2018 STARS. This year's scholarships have been awarded across sport, science, art, music and entertainment, environment and sustainability plus business, leadership and community. CONGRATULATIONS to these amazing young women!
Arts, Music and Entertainment
Edwina Green I Victoria
Edwina’s dream is to establish her practice and collaborate with other female artists around the world. She dreams of having exhibitions internationally, showcasing her art, culture and by doing so, empower other women around the globe.
Edwina is a proud Palawa woman, from North-East Tasmania. As an Aboriginal woman, culture, identity and connecting roots is a vital part of who she is and her practice.
Growing up in a low-socioeconomic background significantly impacted Edwina’s ability to produce art and has prevented her ideas from ever getting off the ground. After the death of her Grandmother figure and then her father in 2017, Edwina at 18 years of age became the primary carer of a younger brother who is non-verbal autistic. This put incredible financial and emotional strain on Edwina and her creativity.
Edwina will use her grant to undertake ‘The Seven Dresses project’, in her hometown of Queenstown, Tasmania. Queenstown is a mining town and the only gallery in the town which holds a residency program, which is rarely taken up by women. She is looking forward to being provided with guidance, support and everyday advice from her Aim for the Stars mentor.
Sandra Guzzi I Western Australia
Sandra is an intensive care nurse who is committed to reducing mental health problems in the Kimberley, a region which has the highest suicide rate in the world, and the largest percentage amongst Indigenous youth.
Sandra’s dream is to launch the Unframed Project, an interactive 12-week mental health program for teenage youths - utilising photography as a medium to express thoughts, feelings and experiences that may be too difficult to put into words. This initiative will focus on learning positive strategies to build resilience, self-acceptance, gratitude, empathy and emotional health and wellbeing.
Sandra is keen to learn from her Aim for the Stars mentors experiences, how they overcame challenges to expand their career, network and business. Her scholarship will fund a website that includes resources, images by the participants and a blog that features good news stories. The website will also include interviews with members of the Kimberley community who have struggled with mental health, to demonstrate how they managed their challenges and highlight good things happening in their lives.
Tanya Silveira I New South Wales
Tanya is a Registered Music Therapist and PhD candidate based in Sydney. Her dream is to give ALL stroke survivors with hand impairment (starting with Australia) the opportunity to access a music therapist during their hospital stay.
According to the Stroke Foundation of Australia, the estimated number of new or recurrent strokes in Australia was to be 55,000 in 2017 alone. About 80% of people who survive a stroke are left with some sort of motor impairment resulting in difficulty with walking, using their hands and/or speaking, and, about one-third of stroke survivors experience post-stroke depression.
Through her experience as a music therapist, Tanya has learned that individual music therapy can address both motor recovery and depression for stroke survivors. Her Layne Beachley Foundation grant money will go towards her PhD research into this area and learnings from her mentor will help to keep her on track.
Business, Leadership and Community
Grace Mugabe I Western Australia
In 2015, Grace left her corporate job to start a purpose-driven business called Financially Empowered. Her business provides financial literacy workshops and resources for women, girls and the greater community.
Grace’s dream is to create a world in which all women and girls have access to resources and tools to enable them to be more financially literate, independent and sustainable. She is determined to ensure that women who stay in unhealthy relationships for financial reasons or end up being financially abused, have somewhere to go to find the information and resources they need.
Grace will use her scholarship to create and implement free online financial literacy resources, which can be accessed globally as well as facilitating face-to-face workshops for migrant mothers on Centrelink. She will use the mentoring opportunity provided through the scholarship to help strengthen her confidence and leadership skills.
Joanna Williams I Victoria
Joanna dreams of a world where young women feel comfortable talking about all things sex, bodies and relationships; a world where women do not feel ashamed of their sexuality.
As a passionate public health advocate, Joanna believes her high school sex education did not provide her with the tools and knowledge that she needed to have honest conversations about sex, bodies and relationships with friends, health practitioners and partners. This caused significant trauma, particularly while she was struggling with being bisexual and coming to terms with being a survivor of sexual assault.
Two years ago, Joanna began working on Bits and Bods (BB), an upcoming web series that talks to teens about sex, bodies and relationships. BB aims to tell the untold stories about sex, bodies and relationships.
Joanna’s grant money will allow Joanna to complete the BB website and develop a create a pilot episode. These resources will be used to attract further funding and explain to potential partners why a sex ed web series is so important for teens. Joanna plans to lean on her mentor to assist in building her business acumen skills.
Patricia Martin I New South Wales
Patricia is a youth advocate, actionist and founder of Australia’s fresh and real world-based teen program SHE CAN. Originally from Newcastle, Tricia created SHE CAN to support young women, encouraging them to take charge of life by fulfilling their own potential through practical and tangible real-life skills relevant to the 21st century. With the ultimate goal being that they become self-reliant, self-guided and 'self-made'.
Patricia plans to use her grant money to create an ‘online’ sisterhood. A ‘place’ that connects girls by providing tangible skills, resources and access to mentors. Patricia is keen to have honest and hard conversations with her mentor to pinpoint obstacles, challenges or mistakes so a solution and way forward can be achieved.
Samantha Heron I New South Wales
A mum of three with an honours degree in Psychology and a postgraduate certificate in Social Impact, Samantha Heron is the founder of ‘Heart and Soul Story’ a social enterprise with a vision to connect people through the sharing of life stories to build resilience and overall well-being within society.
In 2017, Samantha piloted a program she had carefully researched and designed based, to bring together teens and residents in aged care over a 6-week period. The findings of this have formed the basis of her first program STEP - Senior and Teens Empathy Program, which aims to improve mental health through intergenerational connectedness.
Figures show, that 40% of residents in aged care have no visitors and that on the other end of the spectrum, there is a concerning decline in life satisfaction, which starts in early teen years. Samantha believes that having strong between these two groups can result in psychological, social and economic benefits for our community.
Samantha will use her grant funding to further this program with the long-term aim being to roll it out nationally. The offer of a mentor within the scholarship was of particular interest to Samantha. She wants them to challenge her to consider different strategies and perspectives.
Environment and Sustainability
Eva Mackinley I Tasmania
The Founder of The Last Straw, a campaign to end the use of plastic straws in venues around Australia, Eva’s dream is to see an Australia that is environmentally and socially sustainable.
For the past two years, she has worked on The Last Straw to engage venues and community members to change their habits around plastic use, using drastically fewer straws in service and changing to reusable alternatives. So far, the initiative has stopped over 4 million plastic straws being used and entering our waste system or ending up in our waterways.
Eva is a Tasmanian based young woman who has faced significant barriers in the realisation of her desire to live a purposeful life. She comes from a single parent family wrought with mental health issues which forced her to move from home at 17 and take on a carer role for her younger sibling. Since then, Eva has become the first in her family to go to University and has dedicated herself to a making a difference.
Eva is developing and launching another equally as impactful social project - Ushr, an event certification system for ethical and sustainable practices. Ushr’s objective is to provide a guide to creating an ethical and sustainable event from planning to evaluation. The idea is to eliminate plastic waste from large-scale events, replace speaker gifts with items from social enterprises in Australia, and encourage events to employ caterers with a community training edge to them.
Eva’s grant will assist with the launch and initial rollout of Ushr and contribute to The Last Straw operating costs. She believes a mentor will be invaluable support providing a sounding board and guide.
Sahira Bell I Western Australia
PhD student Sahira Bell’s dream is to minimise the impact we are having on our marine environment through the inappropriate disposal of plastic pollution.
Raised just outside Perth city, where coastlines are virtually uninhabited, the waters are crystal blue and wildlife is waiting for you around every corner, Sahira jumped at the opportunity to complete undergraduate and Honours studies in Marine Biology. She is now working towards her PhD (looking at climate change impacts on West Australian reefs) whilst also conducting projects on the side studying plastic pollution in our oceans.
Sahira will use her grant to conduct research which specifically examines the type and abundance of plastic debris distribution along beaches in Western Australia, and to determine the physical processes facilitating their accumulation. She believes the real advantage of the scholarship will be her mentor and would value any advice regarding making herself a more approachable and functional leader, particularly whilst working in the environmental conservation industry which is typically dominated by men.
Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths
Zoe Condliffe I Victoria
In March 2018, Zoe made a huge leap into the unknown. She quit her full-time job to pursue big impact in gender equality through the tech start-up industry with the launch of her company, ‘She's A Crowd’.
‘She's A Crowd’ is building a global dataset of women's stories of sexual assault and gender-based violence. It will allows women to tell their stories and change the way our cities are designed and safety systems are structured.
At age 21, Zoe started her own non-profit organisation in Cambodia. She was a successful, educated young woman running her own organisation, but living a life of terror and violence behind closed doors in an abusive relationship. After escaping by moving country, Zoe decided to dedicate her life to ending gender-based violence so that no more women go through the same experience.
Zoe is a participant in the She Starts accelerator program at Blue Chilli and a Young Social Pioneer at the Foundation of Young Australians. She was named one of the Top 100 most influential, creative and provocative people in Melbourne by The Age in 2011 for her work co-founding Move Cambodia.
Her scholarship and mentor will assist with the development of a pilot product for ‘She's A Crowd’ and help Zoe manage change and grow her business.
Corena Harrison I Australian Capital Territory
Corena is a Boccia athlete with International classification under BC2, (a Paralympic boccia classification which is open to people with several different types of disabilities, including cerebral palsy) and the only Australian female athlete in her classification at the national level. Boccia is Corena’s life. She has been playing the game for the last 10 years and is the current President of Boccia in the ACT.
Corena is working hard towards her dream of becoming a part of the Australian Boccia Team in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games. To be a part of the Team, members must have participated in Regional, State and National classification assessments and need to attend at least 3 International classifications. While Corena has been to State and National Classifications, attending international competitions has been a huge challenge. Corena also lives alone with no financial support from family and is dependent on her Disability Pension and NDIS individual support package.
Corena plans to use her grant money to pay for herself and a Support Worker to attend international competitions, therefore qualifying her to represent Australia at the next Paralympic Games. Her mentor will assist in understanding the goals Corena has set for herself and a better understanding of not only her sporting goals but also her other goals in life.
Grace Cochrane I Tasmania
Grace is a 15-year-old skateboarder from Hobart, who took up the sport a little over 3 years ago. Her dream is to compete internationally in skateboarding and then pass that experience and wisdom onto others. Her aim is to win medals at the Olympics, the Girls Combi Pool Classic and X-Games.
Grace plans to use her grant money to participate in major Australian skateboard competitions in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle. She would like to contribute $1,000 from this scholarship to She Shreds, a not-for-profit all-girl skate crew in Hobart, where she hangs with others young women who live, sleep, eat and dream about skateboarding. She would also like advice from her mentor on different ways to balance schoolwork with long hours of training and working to earn money to put towards achieving her dream.
Hannah Kuhar I Victoria
Hannah’s dream is to play netball professionally. She currently juggles being a member of the Victorian Mixed state team and a premier league player with her studies at the University of Melbourne. Hannah is also the Junior Captain of the South Melbourne Lifesaving Club, and an active committee member for the Collingwood All Stars Basketball Association. Hannah’s achievements have not come easy, but she is inspired by the fact that “a diamond is merely a lump of coal under pressure”.
Hannah will use her grant money to assist with participation, accommodation and travel fees associated with her netball commitments. Hannah is looking for a mentor who can help her digest and analyse the way in which she deals with various situations.
Lidiia Lakovleva I Queensland
Lidiia is the Australian Junior International Rhythmic Gymnastics Champion for 2016 and 2017. At just 14 years-old, this pint-sized pocket rocket has won 24 national medals and 45 state medals.
Lidiia will use her grant to travel to Argentina to represent Australia at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG). She’s aiming to achieve a top 10 ranking and become the first ever Australian Rhythmic Gymnast to accomplish this result.
Lidiia will use her scholarship funds in the lead up to YOG for preparation with travel, specialist coaching and leotards. She hopes by easing the financial pressure, Lidiia will be able to fully embrace her passion and fly high on the international stage. Her mentor will help Lidiia to overcome the various challenges she will face in the next 12 months and to explore other opportunities.
Since applying for her scholarship Lidiia:
Won the all-around Junior Championship Title at the Australian Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, making it 3 titles in a row 2016/17/18
Won the Rhythmic Gymnastics Junior Oceania Continental Championships and secured Australia their quota place at the 2018 YOG Buenos Aires Argentina
Awarded Junior International Gymnast of the Year by Gymnastics Australia
Received a silver and two bronze medals at the Singapore Rhythmic Gymnastics 2018 open
At the Aquatic Cup, Baku in Azerbaijan. won gold
In Tbilisi Georgia came third overall with Bronze and in the final won bronze in the ball apparatus
Ningali, Forrest-Freeman I New South Wales
Ningali is an Indigenous tennis player who dreams of joining the pro-tour and winning a Grand Slam. Her talent has been spotted by Aussie legend John Newcombe, who agrees she’s got talent. Having just returned from Newks International Tennis Academy, USA, after receiving a scholarship, Ningali’s focus is to work on her National and International rankings.
Ningali is from a loving family, her dad just completed a PhD in Aboriginal Art and is an Indigenous student support officer at a Sydney university and her mum is a casual teacher. They want to see her achieve but know at present living off two part-time incomes means their finances are constantly stretched.
The Foundation’s grant money will help get Ningali to the 8 International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments held in Australia for her grade. Most of these are interstate, so the funds will assist with travel and accommodation. Ningali’s mentor will help her prepare mentally for competition, cope with disappointment and losing and work out how to improve and re-set.