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Curtin graduate is Social Worker of the Year

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Michelle Charlton, from East Fremantle, who graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from Curtin University in 2007, has been announced as the 2012 Western Australian (WA) Social Worker of the Year, in recognition of her life-changing work providing meaningful connections between children in care and their families.

A team leader at the Department for Child Protection, Michelle works with around 90 children in the care of the State. She is described as calm and courageous, and as having a unique ability to reassure children and family members that they are being heard, and that there are better times ahead.

Another Curtin social work graduate, Ann O’Neill, was announced as the winner of the Leading the Way Award, which recognises excellence and innovation by a social worker in a leadership or management position.

Professor Robyn Martin, lecturer in the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work was also a finalist in the Leading the Way category.

Professor Beverley McNamara, Acting Head of the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, said she was proud of Professor Martin and of the Curtin graduate winners.

“The finalists and winners all exemplify the commitment and personal qualities that are required in the social work arena,” Professor McNamara said.

“Congratulations to Michelle and Ann, they are both incredibly hard working people who seek no recognition or reward, but are simply committed to making a difference.”

The WA Social Worker of the Year Awards recognise and reward social workers who display excellence within the sector, and were presented in front of more than 150 sector professionals from across WA.

The prestigious event was held at the University of Western Australia on 5 November.


Professor Beverley McNamara, Acting Head of the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work
Tel: 08 9266 3604, Email:

Hillary Lambert, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 9085, Email:  Web:
Twitter: @CurtinPR

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