This award acknowledges an Old Girl, aged 30 or under, who has demonstrated outstanding initiative and drive in their chosen field. Nominees should demonstrate a focus on leadership, professional commitment and personal achievements such as community service and other personal contributions.

The nominees are:

Kirsty Kuo (Newton ’01)

Rebecca Smith (’06)

Amy Stenning (’07)

Jonté Pike (’07)

Natasha Pritchard (’08)

Natasha Harrison (’11)


Kirsty Kuo (Newton ’01)

Kirsty always aspired to a career that would improve the lives of those around her, but initially she was unsure of which path to take.  She had many talents and interests and soon discovered that she could combine her passion for science, mathematics and music to forge a career in engineering and specifically acoustics and vibration.  Kirsty has received many academic awards since graduating as the 2001 Dux of St Mary’s, including the JA Wood Memorial Prize for the most outstanding graduate of UWA in 2007, and the prestigious General Sir John Monash Award which enabled her to undertake her PhD studies in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cambridge.  Following her PhD, Kirsty was employed by the University of Cambridge as a member of a research team investigating the feasibility of artificially cooling the earth’s climate and her work was awarded the best paper presentation at the 2012 Climate Change Conference.  Kristy and her family now live in Belgium where she is a postdoctoral researcher at a leading research university. In this position she will investigate a new method of predicting railway vibration levels using a combination of experimental measurements and state-of-the-art computer models.   
Kirsty is passionate about enthusing and empowering the next generation of engineers to change the world.  Over the past eight years, she has given over 1000 hours of supervisions (small-group tutorials) to University of Cambridge students in engineering foundation courses and specialised dynamics and vibration subjects. She has received excellent feedback regarding her supervisions, and her students have consistently achieved above average results. She is an enthusiastic and committed teacher and it is this love of learning and discovery that forms her desire to continue her career in engineering research.

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Rebecca Smith (’06)

Rebecca has forged a very successful path in music, an industry that is often under-represented by young women.  She has spent the last two years pursuing a Master of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York (MSM), one of the world’s most prestigious conservatories.  This opportunity comes at a significant cost, so in a little over a year, she applied and was awarded with over US$150,000 in scholarships to fund her studies, including the Fulbright and Young People and the Arts International Scholarships, both exceptionally competitive awards with rigorous application processes.  She was honoured to receive the Nicolas Flagello Award upon her graduation from MSM.  Now back in Western Australia, she has created her own ensemble GASP which creates performance opportunities for herself and other emerging WA composers, especially females.  Rebecca actively contributes to the WA arts scene through her work with the Western Australian Youth Orchestras Association as a mentor and composer, and currently as their Operations Manager. She is also continuing to lecture at the Western Australian Academy for Performing Arts and is a very vocal advocate for composition at schools and institutions where previously there was none.

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Amy Stenning (’07)

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Nursing from Curtin University, Amy’s goal has been to inspire young nurses to work hard and to recognise that nursing can be a challenging and rewarding career.  She has mentored students at Royal Perth Hospital, in championing the importance of nurses in our society.  Throughout her nursing career, Amy has worked in various fields including drug and alcohol addiction, spinal injuries and psychiatric nursing. She has always had a keen interest in volunteer and community work, and travelled to Kenya in 2011 to help educate nurses there.  The trip was very successful and subsequently she was invited to speak at various professional development events about the importance of community contribution, including the prestigious “Careers Without Borders” event.  In 2013, Amy was awarded a scholarship by the Royal College of Nursing to undertake a two month clinical placement in Derby, where she helped to provide medical services in this remote community.  This awoke a keen interest in indigenous health and social justice which she hopes to pursue throughout her future career.  Most recently, Amy has relocated to Sydney, where she is working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit which will also allow her to complete her Masters in Intensive Care Nursing, which she intends to commence in 2016.

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Jonté Pike (’07)

Jonte is well on her way to achieving her dream of developing her own recognisable brand of edgy young women’s clothing in the hugely competitive industry of fashion.  Her talent was evident from a young age, when she had two textile outfits showcased at Perspectives in the Art Gallery of Western Australia whilst still a student at St Mary’s.  In 2007, she was awarded the Apex WA Teenage Designer of the Year and won categories in the state finals in Melbourne.  After finishing her schooling, she studied at Polytechnic West TAFE where she received the Vocational Student of the Year and the Australian Runner-Up Vocational Student of the Year.  She now has her own business and clothing label, “Jonte”, which is currently available in stores in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.  Her clothing was accepted to show in this year’s Perth Fashion Festival and she was also a finalist in the “Designer for Tomorrow” category.  She hopes to showcase her label at the Sydney and Melbourne Fashion Weeks within the next two years.  Despite being busy with her own business, Jonte takes time to mentor current students from St Mary’s and Polytechnic West.

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Natasha Pritchard (’08)

Looking back, Natasha feels she was always destined for a career in women’s health.  Her belief that youth or gender should not be a barrier to success has had a huge impact on her medical career and her life in general.  Whilst completing her medical degree at Monash University, Natasha took on the challenging task of combining her degree with a research project in antioxidant therapy and IVF outcomes. This research was accepted for presentation at medical conferences in Sydney (where she was awarded the prestigious prize for the Best Clinical Paper) and Boston. She created the Firefinch Project which raised awareness of the importance of educating women in Africa and raised funds for scholarships so that young women in Sierra Leona can attend secondary school.
Natasha worked full time in rural Victoria whilst simultaneously studying a double Masters in Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health as well as taking on mentoring roles for students.  This dedication was recognised by the AMA with an award for the greatest commitment to medical education of any Victorian doctor in training.  Currently, she is one of the lead researchers on a couple of projects in women’s health, in Australia.
In the future, Natasha intends to complete a PhD in reproductive medicine at Harvard University and then work with Doctors Without Borders to train local citizens in basic obstetric care and improve maternal outcomes.

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Natasha Harrison (’11)

At first glance, Natasha appears like any other university student studying a Bachelor of Science degree at UWA.  What distinguishes Natasha from most, however, is her extensive volunteer community work both in Western Australia and overseas.  It was during 2013 that she first dipped her toe into community work, spending most Saturday mornings at the Balga Community Centre, tutoring Sudanese school children.  In the same year, she spent her July holidays in Kenya tutoring students and helping to prepare meals at a children’s charity which provided schooling and care for children from a nearby slum.  Although this was confronting at times, it fuelled Natasha’s desire for volunteering and she has since gone on to volunteer in many countries including Mexico, Morocco, Kenya and Zimbabwe, in projects from teaching English to animal and plant conservation.  What is most impressive about these achievements is that these trips have all been self-funded by Natasha from savings from her part time work.  Her most recent experience has been in June/July of this year, where Natasha has been working as a volunteer at a cheetah rehabilitation project in South Africa, providing general care for cheetahs and other African wild cats at risk.  Natasha also plans to spend part of August this year planting trees at Rottnest Island.

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