2020 Young Woman of Distinction
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.
Hannah’s interest and passion for making contemporary jewellery was first sparked during her St Mary’s Year 11 Art class, when internationally renowned jeweller Christel van der Laan, presented a guest workshop, inspiring Hannah to create jewellery from recycled materials and found objects. Christel later became Hannah’s mentor and introduced her to the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia (JMGA) where Hannah is now the current volunteer WA President. Hannah will represent our state at the national JMGA conference in Canberra later this year, COVID restrictions permitting. Hannah’s jewellery has been featured in many local and interstate exhibitions, as well as some of her work being chosen to be exhibited in the Artistar Jewels exhibition in Milan, Italy.
Whilst at St Mary’s, Hannah completed her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver Awards, followed by her Gold Award through the Open Award Centre. In 2017, Hannah was the only female representative from Australia, and one of only ninety delegates from around the world, to be invited to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award Event held in Prague, where Hannah and her team won an award for their presentation, presented by HRH Prince Edward. This outstanding community initiative has been embraced by the Sparta Prague Football Club.
Since leaving St Mary’s, Hannah joined the St Mary’s Old Girls’ Association Committee, a position she has held for 14 years and she has been a recent judge for the Jane Gillon Arts Award. Hannah’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (Jewellery Design), Bachelor of Arts (Design and Art Honours) both from Curtin University, and a Master of Arts Management from the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). She is currently undertaking a PhD in museum and gallery education in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University.
Chanel knows it takes resilience, hard work and industry experience to be successful in the film industry. Management and business skills are often overlooked, but not by Chanel, who has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Film and Television) as well as a Bachelor of Commerce (International Business and Accounting), both from Curtin University. Chanel has worked on many film and television projects since completing her degrees and solidified her standing within the film industry in 2018 as a Third Assistant Director on the ABC series The Heights Season 1, and Assistant Director Attachment on feature film High Ground, which was shot in remote Arnhem Land.
Since 2015, Chanel has worked with CinefestOZ, today holding the title of Film Manager. She was a key player in the development of the Community Program, which includes the Cinesnaps Schools’ Program and IndigifestOZ. Between 2015 - 2019, Chanel assisted in the development of many of the wider CinefestOZ Film and industry programs, where she managed many staff and liaised directly with cast and filmmakers, giving her even more leadership experience. In 2019, Chanel joined the Committee for Women in Film and TV WA (WIFTWA) and was funded by Screenwest to attend a leadership forum in Melbourne, while continuing to work on internationally recognised projects including Mystery Road Season 2 and The Furnace.
2020 was gearing up to be just as busy for Chanel, with several internship opportunities, including with production companies WBMC (Son of Gun starring Ewan McGregor) and Animal Logic, when an acquired brain injury prompted a change in pace. The LA-based Animal Logic role will commence when international borders re-open and Chanel is proud to be starting back on her first feature since her injury, Blueback, which is currently shooting in the Great Southern.
Jemma is passionate about pursuing an academic career in science, where she can use psychological principles to make evidence-based decisions. Her academic achievements since graduating from St Mary’s are impressive. She has completed a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Psychology from the University of Western Australia and received a Research Training Program Scholarship worth over $75,000 to complete her PhD thesis in Psychology, which she submitted in December 2019. In 2020, Jemma worked as a post-doctoral research associate at UWA, leading her own research projects. More recently, inspired by her passion for applied research, she has taken on a role working in the Data Science and Analytics team for WA Police.
Jemma’s research has been published in various journals and she has received multiple awards for these publications, most notably an Excellence in Research Student Award from the Australian Research Centre, Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. She has led international collaborations on research projects (for example, with the University of Hong Kong) and was selected for a competitive industry internship, where she applied her scientific skills to work on a national project for the Australian Federal Government in Canberra. Throughout her academic pursuits, Jemma also worked as a research assistant in various studies and projects and was selected as a mentor for a female high school student in the national mentoring program, Curious Minds. Jemma credits St Mary’s for helping to establish the foundation for her passion in science and female education and is determined to encourage other girls to pursue STEM careers.
Stella is an ambitious young woman who has worked hard to reach a managerial position within one of Australia’s top wildlife conservation organisations at such a young age. She completed a Bachelor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2013, followed by a Master’s degree in Zoology in 2015 from the University of Melbourne. Her Master’s project with staff at Museum Victoria involved research into the current distribution of the broad-toothed rat, where she travelled extensively across Victoria conducting a re-survey of its historical localities.
Following her Master’s, Stella worked as a research assistant at Museum Victoria for two years, conducting fieldwork in the Grampians National Park, and then obtained a six-month internship with Australian Wildlife Conservancy in the Kimberley region. This led to a permanent field ecologist role, where Stella lived on a remote conservation reserve in the Kimberley for two years, working with traditional owners and scientists.
Throughout her study and work, Stella continued to volunteer at various wildlife sanctuaries and national parks which shows her dedication to her field. All these experiences have led directly to her current role of Healthy Country Manager at Bush Heritage Australia. Stella is passionate about her role working on science and land management projects and liaising directly with traditional owners of WA deserts and remote communities.
Julia has achieved much in the five years since she completed Year 12 at St Mary’s. At the end of 2019, she completed a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Western Australia in Political Science & International Relations and Economics, as well as a Diploma in Modern Languages. She also was a Fogarty Foundation Scholarship recipient (one of WA’s most prestigious scholarships based on academic excellence and outstanding achievements in leadership, community involvement and the arts and sport). During her four years at UWA, Julia volunteered in different university organisations including the Fogarty Foundation, where she was involved in securing long-term sponsorship and assisted in overseeing their activities and finances.
Between 2016 and 2018, Julia worked with United Nations Youth WA in various roles, including writing the content for state-wide school workshops and helping to organise UN Youth Australia’s week-long conference, where over 100 participants from across Australia and Asia-Pacific attended. She was the 2017 winner of the UWA Undergraduate Mooting competition and was selected to represent UWA at National Debating Championships in 2017 and 2018. Her degree has taken her to Sydney for the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships, to Japan to undertake research, and to Germany as a scholarship recipient studying politics and economics.
The future is bright for Julia, who is now living in Canberra and working as a policy graduate with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.