Inspiring women named Women of the West for 2015

Women of the west winners

Melissa Radjenovic and Grace Fava, the Young Women of the West and Women of the West for 2015.

The winners of this year's UWS Women of the West Awards have been recognised for their volunteer work to improve the health and welfare of their local communities. 

Grace Fava, Founder and President of the Autism Advisory and Support Service was named this year's Women of the West, while Melissa Radjenovic, Liverpool Hospital intern, UWS medical graduate and founder of the Rotaract Club of Western Sydney, took out the Young Women of the West title.

The women received their awards from UWS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Glover, at a ceremony held at the UWS Parramatta campus on Friday 6 March to celebrate International Women's Day.

Grace was chosen as the winner for 2015 for her tireless advocacy for those living with autism, and the incredible support and devotion she provides to both them and their families.

Her Autism Advisory and Support Service is a not-for-profit organisation staffed solely by volunteers, providing invaluable assistance to families living with autism by assisting with individual case management and running support groups, as well as other practical things like access to therapy play areas and a toy library.

Under Grace's leadership, the service has grown across Greater Western Sydney, and is now available in Liverpool, Bankstown, Campbelltown and Camden.

Melissa Radjenovic was named Young Women of the West for her exceptional work to improve the health and welfare of her community.

Through her Rotaract work, Melissa, devotes a lot of time to fundraising activities which are making a real difference to those who are less fortunate. Her exceptional leadership was recognised, along with her determination to ensure all people, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, have the same access to quality health care. 

Choosing a Women of the West winner is never an easy task, with three of the 15 other inspiring nominees – Karyn McNeill, Lila Mularczyk and Amanda Bowles –awarded Highly Commended prizes.

Karyn was recognised for her volunteering with Woodbury Autism Education and Research, Lila was recognised for her work as principal of Merrylands High School and her advocacy role as President of the Secondary Principals' Council, while Amanda was recognised for her care for grieving families through her 'Bears of Hope' charity, helping those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss.

The category winners of both the Women of the West and Young Women of the West Awards receive a grant of $5,000 to further develop their leadership and advocacy work in their local community, while the Highly Commended awardees receive a grant of $1,000.


6 March 2015

Tanya Patterson, Media Officer

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