Suzanne Cory High School student Aakriti Malhotra has been recognised for her leadership and community work.
Aakriti, who lives in Seabrook, is in year 10 at the Werribee school.
Aakriti said it was an “absolute honour” to receive the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award at a recent school presentation night.
“The thing I really value from the award, it’s a leadership and teamwork award in recognition of the extracurricular activities I continue to do locally and globally,” she said.
At 15 years old, Aakriti has an impressive portfolio of volunteer work under her belt.
She is an editor and project manager at Girls in STEM, an international student-run organisation that promotes science to girls and women.
Aakriti is also a member of The New York Academy of Sciences, a program for high-achieving students.
Within the same New York organisation, she is part of the 1000 Girls 1000 Futures Mentees program, which encourages girls to take up leadership, communications and advocacy roles.
“I think what I enjoy is really just to be able to make a difference in my community,” Aakriti said.
“It’s important to empower other girls and women around the world and let them know not to stop due to gender barriers.”
In addition, Aakriti is co-chair at the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC), as well as being a member of its executive advisory committee.
In her VicSRC role, she has spoken at summits held by the Victorian Council of Social Service and other organisations, and met Education Minister James Merlino.
“Students are a major stakeholder in education, we need to be involved in the conversation,” Aakriti said.
As well, she volunteers in aged care centres and as a tutor with Equal Ed for refugee and disadvantaged students.
At Suzanne Cory, Aakriti is the Rothwell House initiatives captain.
Her hobbies include debating, singing in choirs and ensembles, dancing, netball and playing the piano and clarinet.