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National Council of Women winners
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National Council of Women awards three future leaders

8 February 2018
Students making an impact in music, law and pharmacology
An experimental composer, a social justice advocate and a chronic pain researcher: meet three students recently recognised by the National Council of Women NSW for their significant achievements.

Each year the National Council of Women (NCW) of NSW works with universities across the state to identify high achieving women from all areas of study. University of Sydney students Alexis Weaver, Madeleine Causbrook and Casey Gallagher were three of twelve women awarded for their academic industriousness, resilience and dedication at the 2018 National Council of Women of NSW Australia Day Awards. In her address, NCW NSW President Annie Kiefer said, “we stand in awe of the exciting achievements, the dedication and devotion shown, as well as the diversity of their chosen fields”.

Students were nominated for the award by academic staff and, once selected, invited to attend a lunch at Parliament House, Sydney with their academic mentor.

“Having encouragement and mentorship is vital for women at the beginning of their career,” Alexis Weaver said.

“It is essential that young artists and creators see people like themselves in the field, and that only happens through having accessible, visible female role models.”

Writing the future of music

Alexis Weaver is an electroacoustic composer, manipulating recordings to create music and soundscapes. Having finished her Bachelor of Music (Composition) with honours in 2017 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Alexis is looking forward to commencing her Masters this year.

“This award, sponsored by the Women's Club, is a vote of confidence in the work I have done in my honours year and of what I will do in the future. It will take some of the financial pressure off while I commence my studies and could allow me to buy sound equipment, study resources, or support travel,” Alexis said.

Alongside her creative pursuits, Alexis is an advocate of gender equality in the music industry. Under the supervision of Professor Liza Lim, she undertook a study which delved into gender visibility within the field of Australian electroacoustic composition. She plans to continue this research project in her postgraduate studies to address the gender imbalance across the music industry and to generate a greater awareness of the contributions of female composers.

Creating a safer world

Madeleine Causbrook is passionate about social justice. The law student is set to finish her Bachelor of Laws (Honours) this month and has already secured a graduate job at multinational law firm, Ashurst, in Sydney. Whilst studying and working, Madeleine also volunteers at St Barnabas Church, Broadway with Sydney's refugee community where her greatest joy is seeing refugees receive permanent protection visas.

“Winning the award was an honour,” Madeleine said. “The day itself was a great opportunity to network with the sponsors of the awards and other inspiring awardees. I look forward to becoming involved with the National Council this year and learning from its experience, having over 122 years in working towards gender equality and equal opportunities for all.”

Madeleine’s specific areas of interest in law include preventing domestic violence and working with domestic violence affected communities. She hopes to undertake a PhD in the future after gaining some commercial experience and continuing her passion for helping vulnerable people.

Relieving chronic pain

Casey Gallagher graduated with First Class Honours in pharmacology in 2017. Her research into the treatment of chronic pain has been considered so significant that it has been decided to wait until the discovery has been patented before its publication in a prestigious journal.

This year Casey will commence her PhD studies, furthering her honours research into ‘Lipid modulators of glycine receptors and their potential use for pain therapies’.