Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) has announced the winners of the 2023 Audi Foundation – CEF Alumni Awards, with five very deserving recipients claiming the honours in their respective categories.
The excitement to celebrate the achievements of regional youth this year was clear with 56 nominations received.
While the Alumni Awards were judged and announced virtually this year, winners will be celebrated in person at CEF’s 30th anniversary gala event at Printhie Wines, Orange, NSW, on the 18th November.
CEF CEO Juliet Petersen said the response to this year’s event was overwhelming.
“We are humbled that the opportunity we provide to recognise our past and present recipients has been so well received. Our alumni are truly inspirational. Their strength of character and commitment towards their educational and career goals is worth celebrating. Congratulations to each winner,” she said.
The following alumni have been named as the winners:
Audi Foundation – CEF Alumnus of the Year
Inga Neilsen, Braidwood and District Education Foundation
Audi Foundation – CEF Community Alumni Champion
Lochie Ramm, Braidwood and District Education Foundation
Audi Foundation – CEF Young Achiever
Chloe Wilson, Country Education Foundation of Grenfell
Audi Foundation – CEF Launching Star
Heather Walker, Country Education Foundation of Grenfell
Audi Foundation – CEF Rising Star
Ilona Gray, Shoalhaven Education Fund
This year’s recipients have been supported by CEF Local Foundations from across the country and represent the best of our regional youth pursuing education and careers across a range of industries, from trades to teaching and psychological science. This highlights a breadth of post-school educational endeavours and the contributions our young people make to our communities.
Alumnus of the Year Winner, Inga Neilsen, has accomplished so much already.
She completed her Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degrees at the University of Technology, Sydney, with a distinction average.
Whilst studying she was able to find part-time work in communications, including as a Media Advisor for the Minister for Regional Roads and the Deputy Premier, and as a digital journalist for the Nine Network which saw her cover US President Joe Biden’s inauguration and the storming of the US Capitol in Washington DC.
She also worked as a producer on the Today Show which saw her write scripts for the likes of Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon, as well as pitching stories for the Morning News and arranging interviews. Her high-quality work has resulted in her being nominated for the Rural Press Club of Victoria Awards.
She now finds herself working full-time as a Chief Police Reporter at Nine News, Adelaide.
CEF have partnered with the Audi Foundation since their establishment in 2017, supporting rural and regional youth to access post-school education and were thrilled to have the Foundation sponsoring the Alumni Awards again.
Head of Audi Foundation, Hayley Nissim is a true advocate for the work of CEF and said Audi Foundation was proud to support CEF.
“Having seen the incredible achievements of the winners and the passion they inspire in their communities, we are proud to support CEF in not only delivering its alumni awards, but also in our scholarships for rural and regional students studying STEM. Congratulations to each award winner,” she said.
Each winner will receive a cash prize as well as access to a free mentor program, with a minimum of three sessions with a reputable mentor assigned by CEF, which is a first time offering for our award winners.