2023 Wattle Fellows announced
The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Fine Arts & Music are pleased to announce that six students from across the two faculties have been awarded 2023 Wattle Fellowships.
The Wattle Fellowship is a year-long co-curricula program for students to foster leadership on global sustainability.
(L-R) Top row: Zodie Bolic, Radhia Abdirahman and Kaavya Jha. Bottom row: Olivia Sutherland, Darcy Hammond and Clare Steele.
Clare Steele (They/Them) - Bachelor of Arts
Clare is studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in gender studies and creative writing. They enjoy writing for theatre and working as a drama teacher mentoring high school students.
Clare is interested in the impacts of the fast fashion industry on the climate and how to create more sustainable alternatives. Their interest in this space has led them to learning how to knit and sew in an effort to make their own garments.
They are also confronted by the climate anxiety that those around them are faced with and hopes to explore ways in which one’s climate anxiety can be manipulated into empowerment and action through the Wattle Fellowship.
For the past four years, Clare has been a part of the Scrambled Prince Theatre Company as a director for groups and people aged between 13-16 years old. Clare works alongside members of the group to create their own theatre performances including a recent effort with LGBTQIA+ young people to write a queer musical.
Darcy Hammond (She/Her) - Bachelor of Arts
Darcy is studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in geography, politics and international relations alongside a Diploma of Languages in Russian. She is passionate about climate justice and Australia’s waterways as well as the intersection between health, geography and politics. She is interested in combining her passions for health and the social sciences to have an impact that is truly multidisciplinary.
Darcy is currently a science communicator at Science Gallery where she works within a team to develop and deliver Indigenous STEM workshops. As a proud Gunaikurnai student, she is also a Student Ambassador at Murrup Barak.
At the age of 15, Darcy was a panel judge at the ‘Lush Spring Prize’ which allocated £200,000 to environmental organisations working towards a better future. She also presented panels and workshops about young people and climate change. This made Darcy the youngest judge to ever be involved in the showcase.
In her spare time, Darcy likes to keep active by playing netball and umpiring in the University of Melbourne’s Sport competition.
Kaavya Jha (She/Her) - Master of Public Policy
Kaavya is pursuing a Master of Public Policy, specialising in climate finance and the energy transition. Prior to this she completed a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in economics and marketing. Her career aspiration and focus during the Wattle Fellowship is to enhance transparency in public policy by advocating for greater accountability for fossil fuel lobby groups.
In 2023, Kaavya represented Australia in Kuala Lumpur at the ASEAN-Australia Young leaders Forum. She shared the challenges faced by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities.
Outside of her studies, she is a policy intern at Tesla and works as a research assistant at Monash University, helping to compile the Australian government’s first National Climate Risk Assessment (NCRA). As a volunteer, Kaavya sits on the executive committee of Earthcare St Kilda and on the Youth Advisory Committee of AMP Limited.
Kaavya can often be found enjoying the outdoors through scuba diving, rock climbing and overnight hiking.
Olivia Sutherland (They/Them) - Bachelor of Arts
Liv is completing their Bachelor of Arts with an Honours thesis in sociology. They are a proud mental health and climate justice advocate, having facilitated high school incursion workshops in these areas.
Liv has been working in the sustainability and climate justice space for five years where they specialise in grassroots community engagement and youth activism. They have been involved in numerous organisations including the Victorian Parliament and the Department of Education. Liv is currently the volunteer National Schools Team Leader at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
Liv is enthusiastic about accessible and engaging ways to bring sustainability into our everyday lives through art, education, and political engagement. From the Wattle Fellowship, they hope to gain a deeper exploration into developing networks and incorporating Indigenous knowledge around caring for country as a settler-colonist.
Outside of these commitments, Liv can be found working on their art projects. They are currently working on knitting a pair of socks and making a corset out of a novelty tea towel.
Radhia Abdirahman (She/Her) - Master of Public Policy and ManagementRadhia graduated with a Bachelor of Human Biology and International Studies, with a minor in African and African diasporic studies from the University of Kansas, USA. Radhia is in Australia as a Fulbright Anne-Wexler Public Policy Scholar pursuing a Master of Public Policy and Management.
Radhia served as the executive director for the Centre for Community Outreach student organisation that facilitated community-based initiatives. She has completed an internship at the White House with the Gender Policy Council.
Radhia also worked alongside her faculty to assist the University Honors Program in developing its social justice and racial equity programming, Common Cause: An Honors Series on Social Justice and Racial Equity.
She is interested in the intersection of sustainability, the social determinants of health, and the ways in which non-medical forces affect health outcomes among marginalised population groups. Radhia hopes to draw upon her previous work and knowledge during the Wattle Fellowship to explore solutions for climate through community engagement.
Faculty of Fine Arts & Music
Zodie Bolic (She/Her)
Zodie is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance). She is excited to explore the relationship between sustainability and the arts through the Wattle Fellowship, with a focus on educating both audiences and creative practitioners. Her passion for sustainability stems from her experiences growing up in regional North Queensland and seeing the impact of industrial farming and mining on local environments.
Zodie is the Co-Chair of the Victorian Government’s Youth Congress, where she works to embed young voices in government decision making systems and processes. She is also the Southbank (Education) office-bearer at the University of Melbourne Student Union, supporting 2,500+ students every day.
She is the recipient of the Agnes Robertson Undergraduate Entry Scholarship, a Winchester Foundation Scholarship and was a finalist for the 2023 7 News Victorian Young Achiever Awards. Zodie volunteers at Run For It and is a member of the Y Victoria's Youth Board Sub-committee.
In 2022 as Cultural Director at St Hilda’s College, Zodie led an overhaul of the institution’s arts and cultural program. As a result, the college finished second when competing in the intercollegiate Arts Shield, the highest place held in the last 20 years.