“Welcome to Curtin Commons, an online storytelling space for Curtin alumni, staff, students and friends. Featuring a series of thought-provoking articles intended to inspire and enlighten, Commons celebrates the many amazing contributions of our Curtin community and how they are striving to create a brighter future for us all.”
– Carmelle Wilkinson, Editor-in-Chief
Curtin’s head teacher strives to make a difference
29 November. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
If it weren’t for the generosity of a stranger, Curtin’s Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne would never have discovered the transformational power of a higher education. The developmental psychologist sat down with Curtin Commons to share her incredible career journey from junior lecturer to Curtin’s head teacher.
Star athlete bringing her superpowers to the field
8 November. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
Hockeyroos Captain and Curtin Occupational Therapy graduate says good physical and mental preparation is paramount to success both on and off the field. With a never give up attitude and commitment to making her younger self proud, Jane is a wonderful role model to anyone wanting to chase their dreams.
Oscar worthy visual effects mastermind brings cinematic magic to life
1 November. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
Growing up in the golden era of classic movies like E.T and Jaws had a profound effect on Curtin humanities graduate Brendan Seals. Passionate about filmmaking, the sci-fi movie buff is now a visual effects supervisor for Luma Pictures Melbourne, working on some of Hollywood’s biggest action films.
Reducing carbon footprint major step towards well-being of planet
25 October. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
Through his Singapore based company Unravel Carbon, Curtin chemical engineer Marc Allen and business partner Grace Sai are helping businesses around the globe reduce their carbon footprint. The climate change champion believes drastic changes now, could ensure the wellbeing of the planet tomorrow.
‘The Branching Future’ – a digitally-drawn illustration by Curtin student Nina Dakin for Curtin Commons.
For many cultures around the world, trees symbolise a creative source of storytelling. While sitting under an enchanting London plane tree on our Bentley Campus, with the sunlight streaming through the maple-shaped leaves, a writer puts pen to paper. Enlightened by Curtin’s brightest minds and leaders they share thought-provoking accounts of our strong, diverse, and vibrant community. ‘The Branching Future’ brings to life the eclectic collection of inspiring and heartfelt stories that make up Curtin Commons.
Nina Dakin is a passionate Curtin Animation and Game Design student and President of the Curtin Illustration Club. Nina’s mesmerising illustrations have featured in Grok Magazine, Curtin Writers Club, Paper Bird and more recently she presented on a panel at Perth Comics Arts Festival.
Actors push disability boundaries in new Curtin production
14 October. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
It was in the oncology ward as a little girl, where Australian actress and Curtin Honorary Doctorate Kate Mulvany discovered a love for books and storytelling. The proud patron of the Hayman Theatre, recently returned to Campus to mentor Curtin theatre arts student Crystal Nguyen in her lead as Richard in the university’s modern reboot of the Shakespearean classic.
Aboriginal fashion creates ripples of change
12 October. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
Beyond the vivid colours and beautiful symbols, Aboriginal art can make a powerful impact on cultural preservation, reconciliation and change. A recent European fashion tour by Curtin graduate Dr Amanda Healy and founder of luxury resort wear label Kirrikin, has helped launch Aboriginal art, fashion and culture on the international runway.
Extinction expert inspires evolutionary scientists of the future
29 September. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
A champion in her field, and the first Curtin female researcher to win WA Scientist of the Year, Professor Kliti Grice is a dedicated educator and mentor for WA’s evolutionary scientists of tomorrow. Highly regarded for her research into mass extinction events that have shaped life on Earth, she is a leading Australian scientist answering some of Earth’s big Science questions.
Education key to breaking barriers and empowerment
21 September. By Raquel de Brito.
As the Dean, International for the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University and more recently Dean of Gender Equality, Inclusion and Diversity, Dr Jaya Dantas is a firm believer in the power of education and is passionate about bridging the gap between refugee and migrant populations.
Curtin research is music to the ears for Meniere’s sufferers’
13 September. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
With no known cure or effective treatment, the debilitating inner ear disorder Meniere’s disease is wreaking havoc on sufferer’s lives. Curtin Meniere’s researcher Dr Daniel Brown is working extensively on new therapeutical approaches to Meniere’s and is committed to finding effective treatment.
WA mining industry on cusp of a new era
30 August. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
As lithium demand increases around the world, it is starting to look a lot like iron ore of 20 years ago. With hopes it will one day replace fossil fuels, Curtin graduate and Rio Tinto’s Managing Director of Battery Materials Marnie Finlayson speaks to Commons about the future of mining.
Curtin staff giving program invests in future of students
25 August. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
Thanks to the generosity of our community of change-makers, Curtin staff are helping students like Annabel Biscotto and Patrick Catambay become future leaders. Through Curtin’s Give to Change program, staff are not only investing in the strength of the University, but our students’ hopes and dreams.
Perth’s pretzel queen turns business into lucrative and highly delicious brand
10 August. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
When Curtin graduate Brittany Garbutt invested $100,000 of her savings to start her pretzel business in 2017, she had no idea it would become the popular brand it is today. With 11 stores across Australia and more on the way, the Founder of Pretzel Australia shares her secret to sweet success.
From tragedy to triumph: Carrolup artworks help in healing
27 July. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
When an opportunity arose to safeguard the previous artworks by children of the Stolen Generations at John Curtin Gallery manager Kathleen Toomath didn’t hesitate. Created by the renowned Carrolup child artists of the 1940s, including her extraordinary Mum Alma Toomath, the treasured pieces give us hope for a better and brighter future.
For Creative Spotlight, Liam selects his top five favourite artworks which are from his most recent solo exhibition, Hope & Ruin (2021). Each piece explores the idea of the post-human world and the legacies we would leave behind. With the seed of humanity being technology, he explores how life would exist between the synthetic and the natural in the absence of the creator.
Juicy reads from our past…
Missed out on some of our previous articles? Never fear – we have them all here.Sunrise swims give rise to body positivity Empowering Aboriginal women on their educational journey of discovery Pang dishes up second cookbook, and new recipes with a bang Pilot study provides glimmer of hope to those with Parkinson’s Indigenous voices key to the future of mining in WA Un-BOL-ievable both on and off the track
Afghanistan refugee and nursing graduate Ezz Rahmati said attaining a tertiary education degree at Curtin changed his life. Using his nursing degree, he hopes to work in developing nations, where he can help those less fortunate.
This year, Curtin alumna and former Guild President Zaneta Mascarenhas was voted in as Federal Member for Swan. The first female to hold the position in Swan’s 101-year history, Zaneta brings a wealth of advocating experience and diversity to the House of Representatives.
As Curtin celebrates 20 years of fashion studies this year, Head of Fashion Anne Farren reflects on the evolution of the industry and celebrates the significant contributions of our diverse collection of fashion alumni and recent graduates.
Seven years ago, former commercial property valuer Ross Drennan quit his day job in pursuit of greater flexibility and creative freedom. Today, the 35-year-old entrepreneur and his childhood friend Drew Flanagan are managing large scale festivals and events around the country.
While nursing as a profession has evolved over the years, the career itself remains true to those who are motivated to serve and save others. Hear how Curtin’s new Nursing and Midwifery Mentoring Program is helping our final year students make a smooth transition from study to frontline.
Nine News presenter Tracy Vo has become a familiar and friendly face on our television screens, the Curtin graduate shares how her Vietnamese heritage and her parents bravery refugees paved the way for her bright and promising career.
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… and find out what your community cares about
Valerie Ah Chee (BSci Midwifery, 2011) cares about fostering a sense of belonging for Aboriginal women
“My biggest inspiration and role model is my mum, Dr Rosemary van den Berg, who was the first Nyungar woman to graduate with a PhD from Curtin. I worked on a painting to represent that intergenerational support, and hopefully empower other Aboriginal women to thrive at Curtin through their Moorditj Yorga Scholarship Program.”
David Gribble (BApp Sci 2001, MBA 2006) cares about delivering impactful community safety programs for families in WA
“I have felt empowered to create change as part of some wonderful organisations that benefit many inspiring people – currently this is for the Constable Care Foundation in my role as CEO. Ethical decision-making, integrity and creating change for the better are my guiding personal values.”
Molly Ryan (BA Fashion, 2020) cares about creating sustainable fashion
“The mindless consumption of apparel is a major contributor to the fashion industry’s shameful environmental impacts. I want to promote responsible consumption of fashion products through education, awareness and innovation. We have the power to catalyse change by consuming less.”
Letter to the Editor from Ken Gibbons (BApp Sci Biology, 1977)
“I read with interest the latest issue of Curtin Commons and especially the history of Grok and Curtin FM. I was the Student Guild President from 1977-1979 in a rather turbulent period in the Guild’s history. Grok played an instrumental role in the survival of Curtin FM and also in the WA School of Mines (WASM) in Kalgoorlie; the University Administration was going to defund CurtinFM (formerly known as 6NR) and close the station. There were also recommendations that WASM should be closed and the courses transferred to the Bentley campus in Perth. Grok was involved in sharing the strong opinions of students who were against these proposals and was a vanguard for social issues on campus. I hope that the rich history of Grok has been preserved, as it is perhaps the best record and testament of the living history of students, their Guild and their stories of the past half century.”
Dikshita Awotarowa (BCom Banking and Finance, 2020) cares about inspiring women to see themselves in finance
“I founded the Women in Finance and Investment Network to address the underrepresentation of women in these fields and evolve the public’s perception of what a female expert in finance looks like. Hopefully by increasing our visibility, we can motivate the next generation of young girls to study finance.”
Acknowledgement of Country
Curtin University acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which Curtin Perth is located, the Whadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation; and on our Kalgoorlie campus, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields.