At a recent luncheon meeting, Rotary Melbourne awarded three marvellous, inspirational young people a Young Achievers' Award 2019. Awards were presented by Rotary Melbourne’s former Governor of Victoria, Professor Hugh De Kretser. Seen here from left to right: Lachie Richardson, Isabella Kong, Nick Pearce and Professor Hugh De Kretser.
This annual Award recognizes up to three persons in the age group 18 – 26 who have achieved outstanding success in their education or training and who have also made a significant contribution in the form of service to the community. Thank you to Iqbal Reta for leading the Club's Vocation Committee and his work in the selection of these wonderful young people.
Isabella Kong is undertaking her PhD studies in Immunology at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Hawkins Laboratory. She was the President of the WEHI student committee in 2018. She has already made an immense contribution to her chosen field while still completing her PhD studies.
Significant portions of her research studies have already been published in three peer-reviewed internationally renowned scientific journals. This includes international collaborations with top ranking universities in the United Kingdom Imperial College London, where Isabella was solely responsible for the genetic analysis of blood cancer samples.
This work was also published in “Cell Stem Cell”, which is a top tier medical research journal. External to science, Isabella has been a long-term volunteer (2012– current) for the Community Friends Program at the Melbourne City Mission. She has also learned basic sign language and worked with Down Syndrome community funded programme. She has a passion for science.
Nick is CEO and co-founder of 'Homeless of Melbourne Incorporated 'HoMie’. At that time he was then only 21 years of age. HoMIe is a streetwear clothing social enterprise that uses 100% of its profits to provide brand-new clothing, training and job opportunities to young people affected by homelessness or hardship. They have a store based in Fitzroy.
HoMie also hosts VIP shopping days for young people experiencing homelessness and hardship. On these days,young people experiencing homelessness are invited through a partnered service to be our VIP customers, and receive five free items of brand-new clothing to choose at their own discretion, grooming, food/refreshments and a friendly chat with our team of staff and volunteers.
Apart from providing clothing, HoMie VIP Shopping Days aim to increase feelings of social connectedness, and also bring our VIPs into contact with the HoMie support network. HoMie has hosted 38 VIP days for 749 people experiencing homelessness, and given away 3369 items of brand new clothing.
Lachie has excelled in his academic studies at University. He completed a Bachelor of Science at Monash University, graduating with Distinction with a weighted average third year mark of 83. During his undergraduate degree Lachie was accepted in three highly selective undergraduate research projects, including a research scholarship to Leipzig University in Germany, and scored 89, 87 and 90 respectively.
Recently, Lachie was accepted into the highly competitive honours program at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research where he is conducting research on cures for malaria.
Lachie is currently a member of the local Kew - Box Hill hockey club, KBH Brumbies, a non-for-profit, community-based sporting club which accommodates all ages, skill levels and backgrounds. The club aims to encourage sport participation and enjoyment in the community to promote fitness and healthy living as well as community engagement. Hockey club has a good impact on the community. Lachie is passionate about community work and science.