Tag Archives: 2000

Simon Verdon

Times have changed.

For many, universities don’t hold the sobering gravity they once did. We enter as children. Joyful, as children. Naïve as children. Irreverent as children. And no one is instructing us in the transition to awareness. We are not aware that such transitions exist.

Yet La Trobe is offering something. It is quietly offered.

La Trobe is offering an opportunity to transit into awareness. We are exposed daily to great scientists – leaders in their fields. Men and women of great intellect and passion. Years pass and slowly arrives the dawning: we are here to learn how they see the world. To challenge ourselves into their world of intellect and passion.

Yes, times have changed.

The future is uncertain. Change is the norm.

We are children no longer. We challenge ourselves daily to understand the world we see. Discern rather than judge. The children we were are our foundations today. We do not regret our blindness in youth. Rather we celebrate the transition. The dawning.

Personally, I cannot regret the cyclic phases of cynicism, stoicism, masochism, beatnik pride and philanthropy. I cannot regret dancing wide-eyed through the night to take my place amongst the ancients, wondering at dawn’s beauty. I cannot regret the black-eyes and night time drive-bys to emergency wards for emergency relief from some such ailment or addiction. Unnameable then and certainly unnamed here. Because life is a string of experiences which grow if we pause to reflect on them.

Reflection is the alchemy between ourselves and our surrounds. Beauty is the alchemy between ourselves and our surrounds. Experience is the alchemy between ourselves and our surrounds.

Times have certainly changed.

Barbara Finlayson

I undertook a PhD (English), and I am proud that I was able to do so at 79.

When I left school in 1952, the assumption that one went to university was low, with Melbourne University being the only choice. La Trobe was not even a twinkling in the eye.

I am grateful that eventually I was given the chance to expand my mind, as a ‘mature’ student and as such made very welcome by La Trobe staff and fellow students.

Dianna Sorbello

La Trobe University will always hold a special place in my heart.

It was where I began my journey as a physiotherapist completing both my Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) in 2007 and, more recently, my Master of Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy in 2016. The degrees have enabled me to work as a Senior Physiotherapist in the Public Health system providing high quality and patient-centred care, a role which I thoroughly enjoy.

My time at La Trobe was also extremely special as it was where I met my husband, a fellow Physiotherapy graduate. We met in first year as fresh faced undergraduate students, and have wonderful memories of our time at La Trobe. From lectures, to prac classes, anatomy labs, Hot Jam Donut day (where the van was conveniently parked outside our lecture theatre!), coffee in the Agora, free noodle lunches, and all the amazing friends that we made; La Trobe is a truly a special place.

It was for this reason that in 2010, three years after we graduated that my husband chose to propose in the gardens between Peribolos East and West, where we had shared many a lunch together. We have now been married for five years.

This connection to La Trobe still continues today as my husband is now completing his PhD at La Trobe. He has recently produced a smart phone app, in conjunction with the University, to help people with lower back pain.

Thank you La Trobe for the many years of wonderful memories.

Trang Nguyen

A new chapter in my life filled with thrill and excitement was sparked the day I started the journey at La Trobe University as a freshman for the course of Bachelor of Business.

Looking back on those days, my university life still remains so vividly in my mind. After years of struggle coping with the usual mundane routine of high school, like countless other students entering their first year at college, I was both excited and anxious anticipating what was ahead of me.

Everything was so overwhelmingly different in terms of the freedom university life can bring. It is impossible to expect anyone here, especially the teachers, to spoon feed you and hold your hand along the way like in high school. Though bearing the responsibility to keep track of your own progress and balance the study load and social life can be daunting at times, the maturity in mindset that one can get was totally well worth the effort.

Trang at her graduation ceremony

For me, my university life at La Trobe would never be that colourful and rewarding without my great friends. It truly feels like it was only yesterday when all of us studied together stressing over an assignment, sitting in the Library until all hours of the day, digging through piles of papers constantly from frustration as deadlines approached or partying hard upon finishing an exam. After all, it is all much more enjoyable when you have someone to share the roller coaster of emotion with.

Simply being thankful for the opportunities and the lessons that shaped me into the person I am today will never be enough. Having completed the journey at La Trobe, I know that I am ready to take on any new challenges in life.

Suvan Naidu

Having done my undergraduate and Honours years at La Trobe University, I returned to go in the direction of marketing, entering the Master of Marketing Management program in 2013. This decision took me through to the best year of my life.

Entering the classroom again after three years, little did I know that some of my soon-to-be best friends were in there. Having recently been in a rut, this was a welcome sight. Amongst these people from different walks of life, Hernando S, Aamir M, and Paul C became my mates for life.

Going through the marketing program, I was being equipped with knowledge of a totally different field to my previous studies thanks to my newly found friends as well as from outstanding lecturers like Stephen Singaraju, Clare D’Souza, and Christopher Hodkinson. This led to positive results for myself through both semester one and two. Also key to mention is my Honours supervisor John Balachandran who was one of the most accommodating and helpful staff members I’ve ever met.

I’ll never forget the experiences I had, like late nights with my mates in the Library, lunch in the Agora, table tennis at the sports centre and drinks at the Eagle Bar. These moulded my university life and re-energised my overall life again. These experiences have put me on the marketing career path, which I am extremely happy to be on, while now working overseas. I still keep in touch with these mates despite being in different parts of the world and this will never stop happening.

I am forever grateful to La Trobe University for offering me this experience which changed my life for the better by providing a high standard of education, wealth of knowledge by lecturers, a classroom full of people that just got along so well, and, lastly, the facilities to cultivate those friendships into beacons of strength in my life.

Thank you!

Siddhartha Ghosh

After working for the first six years of my professional career in India, I decided to join La Trobe University for my postgraduate degree in IT. I joined La Trobe in July 2002 for Master of Information Technology course. The flight to Melbourne was my first international flight and I was a little nervous. I landed at Tullamarine airport late at night. My brother, who is a resident of Australia, picked me from the airport. When I woke up the next morning, I found myself in a new world. I was in a foreign land for the first time and I was amazed by the surroundings. Later in the day I went to the University and completed the admission formalities. I liked the campus very much and felt very excited to be a part of the University.

The classes started after a couple of days. I was very impressed by the infrastructure and the academic staff of the department and, within few weeks, I realised that my decision to join La Trobe is indeed the right one. The multicultural environment on campus enables the students to prepare themselves for global roles in the industry. Studying together with students from different countries and cultures gave me an opportunity to understand the larger frame of life and has certainly broadened my horizons.

Siddhartha and friends

One of my favourite places at campus was the Academic Lawn near the lake opposite to the David Myers Building. I still vividly remember the hours I spent studying in the lap of nature next to the pond. The Agora used to be the favourite hangout place during lunch. I have formed many friendships at this location and I am still in touch with a few of them even today though we have become scattered in different parts of the world due to our professional lives after completing studies.

The days spent at La Trobe are an inseparable part of my life and I will cherish my memories of La Trobe forever. I yearn to become a part of the La Trobe family sometime in the future again, and add more memories to cherish forever.

Simon Frisby

It is sometimes hard to envisage that what felt like a small decision, made in early 2003, would later have major life implication. That decision was during La Trobe’s Orientation Week to continue with my Japanese studies from high school, and include it as a second major in my Business degree.

I was fortunate enough to receive a grant from La Trobe to participate in an exchange in Japan in 2004, which resulted in many friendships that I still maintain today. It also ensured that not just Japan, but Asia as a geographical region, would form part of my future plans. At this point however, I was not sure how, or even when this experience would bear fruit.

Completing my Business degree with Honours, majoring in Financial Management and Japanese, steered me into financial services straight away back in 2006 working for a US, but global investment manager. After a few years though, I needed a change of scenery, specifically where I worked, lived, and experienced life.

My firm happened to then open a subsidiary in Hong Kong in 2010, which, after visiting while backpacking in 2009, was a place I wanted to return and further myself. I was then fortunate enough to land a role in Hong Kong. So in 2010, as a 26 year old with no extended family outside of Australia, I headed to the former British colony and began my new life.

Now in 2017, I have worked professionally in Hong Kong more than I have in back home in Melbourne. I completed my Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification here, made many friends from across the world, including other fellow La Trobe alumni (conveniently from the La Trobe HK alumni event!), and also married a Hong Kong-born Australian.

Whilst acknowledging that my primary major of finance has been the main driver of my career, who would have thought that selecting Japanese as a major, and then taking up an exchange opportunity would weave its way into my life so significantly whilst opening my eyes to what exists outside of Melbourne.

Paul Brosche

After a few false starts at tertiary study, and ten years in the workforce, I was invited to start a Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology) at La Trobe.

Luckily, we were encouraged to take electives outside the discipline and after one tutorial I was hooked on Philosophy. So much so that I graduated BA Hons 1 Philosophy.

The analytic and critical thinking skills I gained during the course at La Trobe served me well as I balanced work in the Victorian welfare system with sessional work in the Philosophy department at La Trobe.

I fondly remember flying up to Mildura once a fortnight during semester to facilitate tutorials and workshops for enthusiastic regional students. In fact, the call of the regions was so strong that I jumped at a teaching fellowship in Albury-Wodonga when it was offered. I’m still living in Albury-Wodonga, and work as an Associate Lecturer with Learning Futures as part of La Trobe Learning & Teaching.

Daniel Watts

I chose to return to study after a long hiatus. Coming back to La Trobe after 20 years away wasn’t the plan, but suddenly there I was, enrolled as a mature age student in Bachelor of Commerce.

It didn’t go all to plan, trying to run a business at the same time, but, before I knew it, I was in final year and no clue what to do next. So, I applied for (and was accepted to do) an honours year. That was a pivotal moment for me. Under the careful watch of my supervisor (Dr Prem Yapa) and Professor Kerry Jacobs, I not only managed to pen a minor thesis but found myself recipient of the Dean’s Medal.

Some years later Associate Professor Yapa convinced me to look to publish my thesis as a paper and with his and Professor Dellaportas’ help, I’m published!

For more than a dozen years I’ve worked as a forensic accountant, helping clients and law enforcement deal with fraud, bribery and corruption around the world. I’m also still good friends with Professor Jacobs.

Alison Parris

I put a request up on my Facebook wall early in 2009 for some casual work. “Come and help me” my friend replied “it’s only for six weeks”. Well, I am still here 8 years later and I can honestly say I love my job.

Initially I was inputting data for the then Alumni Relations office. I have to say it was a very small team with little direction. We were hidden away in The Terraces-once known as Mont Park Psychiatric hospital (part of the former Plenty Hospital Precinct). The building was so dilapidated it was a good location for filming. We were joined by some of the cast of the TV show “Rush” one day and for a long time we had Chris Lilley there filming “Angry Boys”. Our offices excitingly became Garingal Juvenile Justice Centre!

The Terraces at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus

Since the merge between Alumni Relations and La Trobe University Foundation to become the Alumni and Advancement Office, together with the addition of Dr Alan Watkinson in 2013, we have gone from strength to strength. I enjoy being involved in the background helping build the data on our vast alumni database, seeing events and fundraising activities come to fruition. I like to hear about our graduates and their time at University.

Thanks to the 50th anniversary this year, I have been privileged to communicate with some our earliest students and it has been a real pleasure to hear their stories of La Trobe in its infancy. I would add that I work with a really great team of people – focussed, driven, and supportive on both a personal and professional level.