Community engagement


Ricci Marks Award winners

Ricci Marks Award winners 2018

Rising Star recipient Mikayla George, Ricci Marks recipient Jedda Costa , Aunty Annita Marks and Ricci Marks recipient Amber Barker-Lovett

Rising Star recipient Mikayla George, Ricci Marks recipient Jedda Costa, Aunty Annita Marks and Ricci Marks recipient Amber Barker-Lovett.

Amber Barker-Lovett – Ricci Marks Award recipient

Amber Barker-Lovett is a strong and proud Gunditjmara and Wemba Wemba young woman who is committed to making a difference in her community. Amber is actively involved in Koori youth programs in Ballarat and has been a mentor for the Ballarat to Sydney Koorie Youth Leadership Trip, the Dungulayin Mileka Team in the Massive Murray Paddle, AIME as well as the Koorie Academy of Success.

Amber is passionate about keeping Aboriginal culture alive in the Victorian community, reviving an Aboriginal women and girls dance group called the Namarilly Bagarooks (‘Dancing Daughters’) in 2014. In 2015, Amber was named Ballarat’s Miss NAIDOC and also received a City of Ballarat Youth Award. This year Amber was nominated to be the youth representative for the Ballarat City Council’s Koorie Engagement Action Group. As a member of this group, Amber ensures that the voices of Koori young people in the community are heard and taken seriously by the council.

Amber’s current role as a Koorie Youth Engagement Officer at Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-Operative has enabled her to mentor and advocate for Koori young people. She recently coordinated and delivered a campaign focused on the issue of the drug ice and its impact on the community.

In the future, Amber aspires to work with disadvantaged Aboriginal young people, particularly in the justice system. She has a vision to see young peoples’ rights valued and their voices heard.

Jedda Costa - Ricci Marks Award recipient

Jedda is a proud Wemba Wemba, Yorta Yorta and Mutti Mutti woman, born and raised on Wurundjeri land. Jedda is in her final year of a journalism degree at RMIT and is passionate about fair and balanced media, especially regarding the reportage of Indigenous affairs.

Throughout her studies Jedda has attained a number of amazing internships including SBS-NITV and ABC. These internships offered Jedda hands on journalistic experience where she was able to showcase stories from different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It is her dream to travel around the world to share stories about her culture: the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

In addition to her tertiary studies, Jedda was elected as the first ever Indigenous officer at the RMIT student union where she helps to voice the needs and concerns of Indigenous students to the wider university.

Jedda was also a communications officer at Culture is Life, a not-for-profit organisation that supports and promotes Indigenous-led solutions to strengthening culture in order to prevent youth suicide. During her time at Culture is Life, Jedda became a co-founder of the Culture Squad, a collective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who give voice to the views and cultural expression of our young people by producing strength-based content for their social media channels.

Jedda acknowledges the beautiful and strong Matriarchs who have come before her and continue to guide her on her journey.

Mikayla George – Rising Star Award

Mikayla George is an elite athlete determined to represent Australia internationally. Mikayla has a full scholarship in the Australian Aerial Skiing program at the Victorian Institute of Sport. She is one of the first Aboriginal aerial skiers in the program and is on a journey to compete at the next Winter Olympics in 2022.

Mikayla is a great role model for her community, demonstrating what can be achieved through commitment and determination. She is the 2016 Australian and Victorian Tumbling Champion and the 2017 Australian and Victoria Double Mini Trampolining Champion. In 2017, Mikayla was named Victorian NAIDOC Sports Person of the Year.

In addition to her dedication to sport, Mikayla maintains and grows strong connections to her community. Mikayla is a member of the Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Dance Group and is actively involved in community programs with the Koori Youth Group, Koori Holiday program, and Aboriginal Gathering Place in Doveton.

Mikayla is currently in her first year of a Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) at RMIT, and already aspires to complete a Masters in Physiotherapy.

Past Ricci Marks Award recipients


Jedda Costa
Amber Baker-Lovett
Mikayla George (Rising Star)


Tahlia Biggs
Zoey Marks
Natasha Reid (Rising Star)


Dylan Clarke
Taneisha Webster
Elise Muller (Rising Star)


Keyanna Hood
Shannon Ryan
Cameron Balcome (Rising Star)


Lucy-Rose Doolan
William Austin
Ngaree Blow (Encouragement Award)


Bronwyn Mongta
Nayuka Gorrie
Mason Peter (Encouragement Award)


Benson Saulo
Vehonda (Bonnie) Smith
Edward Bryant (Encouragement Award)


Greg Kennedy
Samantha Walker
Tamika Hayes (Encouragement Award)


Lowell Hunter
Clarisse Slater
Sarai Atkinson (Encouragement Award)


Sherylee Welsh
Allan Miller
Zack Green (Encouragement Award)


Leigh Saunders
Troy Walker
Kasey Edwards (Encouragement Award)


Dorothy Bamblett
Jamie McConnachie


Allan Murray
Isaac Haddoc


Joleen Ryan
Nayuka Hood


Dixon Patten


Tracey Rigney
Alister Thorpe


Jirra Lulla Harvey
John McGuiness


Peter Shane Rotumah
Eileen Harrison


Ricci Marks
Kwaii Sinclair


Jody Ryan


Nicole Cassar
Jeremy Clark


Yolanda Walker