Over the school holidays we wanted to recognise and celebrate our amazing Old Collegian Health Heroes.
This year has highlighted how valued and vital you are and we appreciate everything you are doing for our community.
Advice for Clonard students: Find something you really love, work hard but also don’t forget to enjoy yourself, the opportunities after school are endless!
Olivia Connoley, Graduate Year: 2004
After Clonard I completed my Bachelor of Nursing at Deakin University, then completed my Graduate Year at Barwon Health before moving to Melbourne to work at The Alfred Hospital – Intensive Care Unit. I have also completed postgraduate studies in Intensive Care Nursing.
Currently, I am a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Alfred in Intensive Care, I have been working in the unit since 2010. I spent a few years as Associate Nurse Unit Manager prior to having children, now I work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist looking after a variety of patients including heart and lung transplants, cardiac arrests and trauma. Covid19 has made so many changes to the environment that I work in, it has definitely been a tough year but has made me so proud of my colleagues and the amazing job we have done.
At Clonard, studying Health and Human Development definitely inspired my pathway into nursing. Mrs Dawson was an amazing teacher, I absolutely loved that subject and I learnt so much from her. Both Maths and Science also played a big part during my VCE studies.
Advice for Clonard students: Clonard offers so much to their students. Take every opportunity given to you and strive for your dreams. Be open to change, and do not let your ATAR define your capabilities as a strong woman. You can do anything you set your mind to.
Georgina Pennefather, Graduate Year: 2013
After Clonard, through my tireless efforts and the wonderful teachers at Clonard (shoutout to Ms Chandler, Ms Rhodes and Ms Jackson), I was accepted into my dream course at Monash University – a Bachelor of Pharmacy. Although I only just managed to scrape into the course, my education at Clonard allowed me to quickly transition to independent, self-directed learning, which allowed me to excel academically at university.
Realising that I could aim higher, I set my sights on becoming a doctor. In 2017, I completed my Bachelor of Pharmacy (with Honours) and was accepted into a Doctor of Medicine at Monash University.
Currently, I am in my penultimate year of medicine. Although this is my seventh year of consecutive tertiary study (and my HECS debt is through the roof) I am happy in the path I have chosen and look forward to what the future holds.
At Clonard, studying Chemistry and Biology have helped me immensely throughout my studies. However, my year 10 elective, Black Tracks, has proven to be of significant value as it opened my eyes to the Australian Indigenous population and has aided my interaction with patients.
Advice for Clonard students: Don’t be afraid to change your career path if you feel you’re not going in the right direction and also ensure you put in the hard yards to get there.
I wore many different hats in high school and university, sometimes working three casual jobs a day! Hard work and perseverance definitely pays off in the long run 🙂
Laura Stepancic, Graduate Year: 2010
After Clonard I went straight into a Bachelor of Nursing at Deakin University Geelong for three years. I then completed my graduate year at Barwon Health in 2014 in Paediatrics and Theatre. I worked casually for the next year between Paediatrics, Special Care Nursery and Theatre recovery. I also travelled to the United Kingdom and Europe for 3.5 months. On my return, I completed my two-year Postgraduate Diploma in Midwifery at Federation University, Mt, Helen. I was fortunate to remain at my current workplace by gaining employment within the Maternity Services at University Hospital Geelong.
In 2019 I gained my Italian citizenship and left my workplace after 6 years to pursue a career/life in London, United Kingdom. I worked as a Healthcare Assistant specialising in IVF at the London Women’s Clinic. I was only there for just short of six months when I returned home for my brother’s wedding and sadly became stuck due to Covid-19. On the positive side, it enabled me to gain a new position at Epworth Geelong which I am absolutely loving and I feel as though I’m where I’m supposed to be.
At Clonard, I did a variety of subjects because I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do but I knew I enjoyed helping others and wanted to work in the nursing field. I studied Health and Human Development with Mrs Dawson which was my favourite, Psychology, Accounting, Mathematics, Outdoor Education at St. Josephs, English and Religious Education.
Caitlyn Rundle, Graduate Year: 2014
After Clonard I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do. I had always thought about going into health care but wasn’t sure in which direction I wanted to go. I saw that Deakin was starting a new course in Medical Imaging and decided to give it a go. After my first placement, I knew it was the job for me!
Currently, I am working at The Royal Children’s Hospital as a Radiographer. I absolutely love my job, everyday is different. One day I could be in CT or x-ray and the next in theatre. We see lots of different injuries and pathologies, making every day interesting.
At Clonard, Maths Method and Biology were the subjects that helped me get into my course but the extracurricular activities I was involved in such as going to the Aboriginal community Ampilatwatja and being part of many sports teams, gave me lifelong skills that I will forever cherish.
Advice for Clonard students: Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Follow what you are passionate about but most importantly love what you do.
Millee Kos, Graduate Year: 2014
After Clonard I completed my Bachelor of Nursing at Deakin University Geelong. On completion, I was accepted into the 2018 Graduate Nurse program at Barwon Health.
Currently, I am employed as a Registered Nurse at Barwon Health – University Hospital Geelong in paediatrics as well as the McKellar Centre in Neuro rehabilitation and palliative care. I absolutely love my job. In my present role, I am passionate and driven to provide quality care for my patients to achieve the desired clinical outcomes.
Reflecting on my time at Clonard, studying Health and Human Development in Year 11 and 12 with Ms Dawson was the most enjoyable and it definitely helped me pursue a career in health.
Advice for Clonard students: Never underestimate what you can achieve. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, find what you love and follow it.
Advice for Clonard students: Don’t underestimate the importance of your schooling and the knowledge your teachers have. Although you may think it won’t matter in years to come, it all plays a part. Find a topic you love and learn as much as you can about it … and find a way to make it fun. I know if I didn’t dedicate my time to VCE biology in Years 10 and 11, I would have struggled with the content at University. University doesn’t wait for you to catch up, but your high school will.
Emily Terrill, Graduate Year: 2011
Once I finished school, I had a GAP year. I travelled to America and worked at summer camps for almost 6 months – training and teaching girls up to 15 years old about fitness, health and wellbeing.
When I returned home, I went to University to study a Bachelor Degree in Nursing & Paramedicine. After completing this, I practiced as a Registered Nurse for two years before being accepted as an Advance life Support (ALS) Paramedic with Ambulance Victoria. Currently, I am an ALS Paramedic.
The subjects that prepared me for my career as a Paramedic/Nurse were Biology, Health & Human development as well as the leadership opportunities I received at Clonard. I believe these three areas provided me with a great foundation for my career.
Jacqui Mackay, Graduate Year: 1983
I completed my schooling, year 11, at Clonard College in 1983. After working for several years as a VetNurse, I was successful in applying to become an Ambulance Officer, as we were called back then!
Once I graduated, I transferred from the Victorian Ambulance Service to St John Ambulance, Western Australia.
30 years on and I am still with St John Ambulance. I am currently a Paramedic, living and working in Broome (northwest WA).
Advice for Clonard students: I think that whatever your career choice is, choose something that you love doing and that gives you fulfillment. I still love my job and am lucky enough to work in such a beautiful town.