Nhu Duong

Nhu Duong

I’m a designer with a love for drawing and sustainability. I grew up in Vietnam, with parents who couldn’t understand why I ditched chemistry tutoring for art classes, or why I wouldn’t shut up about how bad plastic bags are for the environment. It wasn’t until moving to Melbourne and starting at BSC did I pursue these passions more seriously. My year 12 project – product design and branding for a staple-free stapler – got me a place in Top Design, an exhibition of the best works from Victorian school students.

From there I went to Monash University to study Industrial Design. This chapter saw me explore many creative directions, question and evaluate aspects of my life while working hard on my sketching skills. My favourite work is a recycled plastic gravestone, which was showcased at last year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. The piece speculates how a material made for a few minutes of convenience may survive on this planet longer than we do. What I love most is how this intriguing object draws you in to contemplate deeper questions. My second favourite thing is how it all started as a random comment and everyone kept asking if was mentally okay (answer: I was fine). Anyway, this is the kind of design I want to do: environmental projects that spark imagination.

I recently joined the design team at Melbourne-based start-up Returnr. Our aim is to eliminate single-use waste through a deposit-return system. To have your take-away coffee in a Returnr stainless steel cup, you pay an extra $6, which you can get back upon returning the container to any partner cafe. Design R&D at Returnr means teamwork and lots of trial-and-error. It is an environment where I continue to make mistakes, learn from them, be challenged and supported to grow as a designer.

With my career starting off very well I feel thankful for its stepping stone that is BSC. I’m still in touch with my teachers, some of whom have been mentoring me till today. Those years nurtured my creative spirit and the first few achievements really gave me confidence to chase my calling.

Michelle Melky

Michelle Melky

After graduating from Brighton Secondary College, Michelle went on to receive a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and Diploma of Languages (French) from RMIT University. Michelle produced the feature film length web series Feedback., which delves into the challenges young writers face in today’s culturally complex society. She co-produced and co-directed Love Songs (@lovesongsseries) with Hayley Adams, the world’s first narrative web series for TikTok. The series has over 150k followers, 8 million views and 2.4 million likes.

She has a strong understanding of young adult culture, as is reflected in her fan fiction focused podcast One Shot, which is distributed by female and queer focused podcast network Lipp Media. Her first short film Super Birthday won third prize in the Village Roadshow Unscene Film Festival in 2019 and is currently being screened outside of Village Cinemas across Victoria.

Her work has been accepted in local and international festivals. She is currently a producer at Balloon Tree Productions, and has several online projects in development.

Michael Evans

Michael Evans

I matriculated from Brighton High School in 1965. I enjoyed my six years greatly and it is probably because of this very positive experience that I applied for and received an Education Department of Victoria Studentship which was a scholarship with teaching at the end of tertiary studies being required and I started at Monash University in 1966.

I am grateful to my Mathematics teacher in Form 6, Mrs Freitag, who took me for both Mathematics subjects which were then named Calculus an Applied Mathematics and Pure Mathematics and fostered my interest in the subject. All of the students were fond of the Headmaster, Mr George Stirling and the Senior Master Mr Cyril Hallet who were both outstanding leaders and set up the school with academic purpose being central.

I completed a BSc (Hons) and a PhD and started teaching in 1973 at Moreland High School in Coburg. I continued to teach in schools including eighteen years as Head of Mathematics at Scotch College in Melbourne. In 2004 I joined the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute at the University of Melbourne and worked on developing curriculum materials as well as on the Australian Curriculum when contracted to ACARA. My love of teaching took me back to teaching part time from 2014.

I have been and still am a principal author with the Cambridge University Press Senior Mathematics series. These books are used nationally. I have worked with the Australian Mathematics Trust as a volunteer for the past thirty years and helped take the Australian Mathematics Olympiad teams to Hong Kong, Toronto and Mumbai in the mid-nineties. I also worked as a consultant for the Maldives College of Higher Education through the Asian Development Bank.

In 1999 I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Monash University, recognising my contribution to mathematics education.

Michael Artemenko

Michael Artemenko

I am Michael Artemenko and I am the co-founder and director of Melbourne based architecture practice, FIGR.

After graduating from Brighton Secondary College in 2002, I enrolled into RMIT school of Architecture and Design. Over a six-year period I dedicated all my effort and energy into my studies and graduated with Distinction in 2008. In my first year at RMIT I met friend and now business partner, Adi Atic, and we conjured a grand plan to start our own architecture studio.

After working at some of Australia’s most respected architecture practices an opportunity in 2012 came up to design my first solo project. A decent size family home in Beaumaris. Like most architects doing their first PJ (private job) this required a lot of after hours work in addition to my day job. To assist with the demands of the project I called in a favour from my old university pal, Adi. It was our first project together and it could not have gone better. The house became the stepping stone for what is now our business and studio, FIGR.

Our first project led to several more commissions. Soon we were at the point where we made the call to go out on our own. We founded FIGR in 2015 and have never looked back.

The two of us started out working out of a friend’s freezing warehouse around a meeting room table that was made from a sheet of plywood and 4 tyres. Today we employ 8 people and our projects are diverse, spanning large education, infrastructure, commercial projects as well as residential typologies. Our work has attracted industry awards and been published in magazines, books, and digital media all over the world. We continue to enjoy the opportunity to work with amazing clients and collaborate with interesting people.

Image: Michael Artemenko (R) & Adi Atic (L)

Meg O’Leary

Meg O’Leary

I graduated from Brighton Secondary College in 2011. Throughout my time at Brighton Secondary College I always wanted to pursue my dream of becoming an airline pilot. I did my first trial flight at Moorabbin Airport in 2009 as part of the Royal Victorian Aero Club Young Eagles program. The teachers at Brighton Secondary College assisted me in choosing the relevant VCE subjects and applying for appropriate tertiary courses to best place me to kick start my career.

Following Year 12 I commenced a Bachelor of Aviation at Swinburne University and concurrently I became a qualified Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor. I worked as a Flight Instructor training airline cadet pilots and domestic student pilots at Moorabbin airport for just over four years. In 2018 I began my first airline pilot job as an Airbus A320 First Officer flying domestically around Australia. I now have over 4000 hours of flying experience.

Unfortunately due to the COVID 19 pandemic I have recently been made redundant, however I am eager to return to flying! In the meantime I have commenced a Master Degree in Aviation Management at UNSW as I continue my search for a new Pilot job.

Dr. Marnique Basto

Dr. Marnique Basto

Dr. Marnique Basto graduated from Brighton Secondary College in 2001 and completed an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science at Monash University. After developing a keen interest in anatomy during this course, she subsequently gained entry into a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 2009.

Marni’s completed her intern year (1st year as a junior doctor) at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. That year she had a personal experience with surgery, and her surgeon who was one of the first female urologists in Australia inspired her interest in the field. While being determined to follow this path, she had planned a sabbatical year to appreciate life outside the books, and travel the world. This 11-month adventure took her backpacking all through South America, Europe and Asia. “I knew I had to step off the treadmill and get some balance into my life given all the solid years of study” Marni commented.

During this time, she also explored her interest in Urology by attending conferences in Europe and visiting Urologists to gain a better understanding for the types of surgery they performed. Marni said “When I came back to work in Australia I was refreshed and more driven than ever to become a Urologist”.

Over the next few years she worked as a junior doctor in various hospitals in Victoria, including a year of full-time research at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre where she started her Doctorate in Uro-oncology, specifically looking at the effectiveness of robotic surgery to treat prostate cancer in the Victorian public health system. Marni said “Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, so doing cancer research in this field was extremely rewarding”. 

After starting her training in Surgery, she took three years’ maternity leave and juggled the birth of her two children and her husband’s surgical fellowship in New York City. During her time in the United States, she gave birth to her second child who had a congenital heart defect and required open heart surgery at birth; The very surgery her husband was learning to do himself. Her son’s surgery was performed by his mentors in New York, and Marni supported her son through his successful recovery. She also completed her doctorate during this time and graduated on return to Australia.

Marni explained that she was very fortunate to be coming through surgical training in an era where there has been a huge cultural shift towards flexible surgical training options for men and women. This allowed me to come back from an extended maternity leave in a part time capacity. My first year working flexibly in surgery was in Victoria and this year has been in New South Wales. She is currently half way through her surgical training.

Marni is a keen advocate for women in surgery and truly believes that “You can’t be, what you can’t see”. She hopes she too will someday inspire other young women into surgery or other professional careers knowing that you can balance a family, travel, research and work.

She leaves us with this final comment, “It is important to have a long term destination in mind, but you don’t win any medals for getting there first. Enjoy the journey and be flexible as opportunities arise, these small deviations off the path can be the most rewarding”. When asked about her biggest achievement, Marni said it was “being a Mum to Emmy and Seb without a doubt”.