A former Illawarra resident who aims to inspire indigenous children to believe in themselves and understand their environment has won a prestigious award.
The 2020 NSW Young Australian of the Year is indigenous mentor and fundraiser Corey Tutt, 27.
Mr Tutt now lives in Sydney, but grew up in the Illawarra and attended Dapto High School.
He said he hoped his win would inspire young people in Dapto, in particular Dapto High students.
"If it wasn't for the communities I work with and their love of STEM and science, it would be very hard for me to achieve anything," he said.
"So I want to acknowledge them. It's a great accomplishment for myself, (but) it's the community and also my family that have supported me."
Through his organisation, Deadly Science, Mr Tutt gathers donations of science resources and sends them to remote schools throughout Australia.
As well as receiving book donations from high-profile scientists such as Professor Brian Cox and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Mr Tutt has raised more than $33,000 to purchase books and equipment, and distributed more than 4300 books and 70 telescopes.
He is engaged with more than 90 schools throughout Australia.
Deadly Science has given 28 Deadly Junior Scientist Awards, encouraging young indigenous kids to follow their dreams.
Mr Tutt wants to ensure that every remote Australian school has a copy of Bruce Pascoe's book Dark Emu - a history of indigenous science and agriculture.
The 2020 NSW Australian of the Year Awards were announced on Monday night in a ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
The four NSW recipients will join those from the other states and territories for the national awards ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra on January 25, 2020 - the 60th anniversary of the awards.
"I feel it's a really good opportunity to represent the Illawarra - my former home, and also grow the program, and represent my people," Mr Tutt said of the national awards.
Mr Tutt is also part of the equity and diversity committee at Science and Technology Australia.