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Anita Pahor, Bachelor of Economics 1994 and Suzana Ristevski Bachelor of Economics 1993/Bachelor of Business (Marketing) 1995
The first time Anita met Suzana was when Suzana walked up to her and gave her a hug at an orientation week meet and greet on Monash’s Clayton campus.
“Suza walked over to me while this guy was chatting her up and pretended to be my friend and hugged me and said how great it was to see me again, and we basically became inseparable from that moment onwards.”
Despite often being separated by thousands of kilometres, Anita and Suzana have remained the closest of friends, offering each other career and life advice throughout the years.
“Over 25 years we’ve probably only lived in the same city for about five. It’s just one of those friendships that has stood the test of time because whenever we do catch up it’s like we’ve never not been in the same city,” says Suzana.
“Having someone you trust, who knows you like the back of your hand, who can give you genuine, honest feedback is priceless, it’s just amazing to have been given that gift back at Monash,” says Anita.
Suzana is now General Manager, Business Bank Marketing and Customer Strategy at NAB and Anita is co-chair and founding patron, Australian Red Cross Society of Women Leaders. Their most recent catch-up was celebrating Anita’s birthday together on a boat at Hamilton Island.
Both Suzana and Anita have returned to Monash as senior alumni in recent years. Suzana as a guest speaker at the annual Monash Marketing Awards and Anita as the guest keynote speaker at one of the University’s graduation ceremonies. Returning to campus in a speaking capacity provides alumni with an opportunity to impart some of their learnings to current students and graduates.
Sheila Teo (nee Tay), Bachelor of Business (Banking and Finance) and Darryl Teo, Bachelor of Business (Banking and Finance)/Bachelor of Business (Accounting) 2011
A spot just inside Building H at Monash’s Caulfield Campus is hallowed romantic ground for Singaporean couple Darryl and Sheila Teo.
They first met there in 2008 while enrolling as newly arrived students, and Darryl proposed on the same spot seven years later during a holiday to Melbourne.
“I wanted to strike up a conversation and asked Sheila if she would hold my file while I went for a drink,” Darryl says. “She said she had to leave when I got back, so I made up an excuse and asked for her number.”
Sheila laughs when asked if it was love at first sight. “Most definitely not,” she says, “but you have to be polite.”
Darryl thinks he may have been a bit of a pest at first. “I did things to try to impress her. For instance I bought a convertible car,” he says. “But eventually things turned out well and I proposed on the same spot in 2015.”
“Of course, I said yes immediately,” Sheila says.
Sheila completed a three-year degree in finance and business law at Monash and is now a relationship manager with a Singapore bank. Darryl did a double degree with a triple major in finance and worked in banking before moving to property investment.
Other than finding Sheila, Darryl’s biggest memory of Monash is the excitement of being an overseas student. “It’s the connections and friendships I made and the independence I learned from being away from home at 20 years old,” he says.
Sheila says it’s the same for her. “Going overseas at 19 and meeting people from all over the world; I’ll always have that, and you don’t get it from a local education.”
The two agree on the importance of Sir John Monash’s famous quote, saying the University not only equips individuals in terms of education, but also instils skills that can benefit the entire community. “Even here in Singapore,” Darryl says.
Stephanie Poynton, Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)/ Bachelor of Science (Pharmacology) 2017 and Connor Tilbrook, currently studying Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering)/ Bachelor of Arts (Politics)
Cars helped bring Stephanie Poynton and Connor Tilbrook together, and the roar of high-powered engines could play a big part in their future.
The couple met regularly as first-year students through a University car-pooling system in 2013, then they started dating and eventually became partners. Stephanie is now working while Connor completes his studies and builds racing cars.
“I’m a team leader with Monash Motorsport, the student volunteer racing team here at Clayton,” Connor says. “We build a couple of racing cars every year, and eventually I’ll be in either the technical or consulting and management side of automotive engineering.”
Stephanie says she loved her time at university. “It introduced me to a global world,” she says. “There were always international guest speakers, internships to apply for; in fact, every day there were emails about new opportunities.
“One program took me to New York to meet the Monash alumni there. I realised the fantastic things alumni were doing all over the world, and I hope to follow in their footsteps. I’m now working with an accounting firm, dealing with international clients and learning as much as I can.”
When asked about Sir John Monash’s famous quote, Connor says the University is permeated by a sense of social justice and helping the community.
“Being part of a volunteer organisation, I’m bettering myself while also helping a whole bunch of other students to achieve,” he says. “I don’t see myself in a corporate role so much as helping the community in some way through my engineering career.”
Stephanie says she found Monash to be for everyone, not just the elite. “We were all encouraged to help others,” she says. “I was an Access Monash Mentor and helped tutor students in disadvantaged schools. It was a very enriching experience.”
Eva Rampal (nee Wilson), Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts 2009, with Ornella Rampal, Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Arts 2009
Ornella and Eva Rampal remember Monash University as a place where individuality was accepted and encouraged, where they learned skills to benefit society as well as themselves, and above all, as the place they fell in love.
They met at the Clayton Campus in 2005 while studying for double degrees, Ornella in Education and Arts, Eva in Arts and Law. “We were just friends at first,” says Eva. “The romance didn’t start until 2007, the year before we graduated.”
The couple married in 2010 in a ceremony they say was so meaningful to them and their families and friends they won’t repeat it, no matter how the same-sex marriage vote goes. “Our son, Marley, was born 20 months ago, after we went through IVF,” says Ornella. “Now we have another on the way.”
Eva now leads the formation of Victoria’s first extractive resources strategy for the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, while Ornella works in the same department’s international education team at Trade Victoria.
“My experience of Monash was that there’s a place there for everyone,” says Eva. “There was always a way to express who you were, regardless of who that was. The University certainly didn’t try to pigeonhole us.”
Ornella says her fondest memories are of the ‘Queer Lounge’ in the Student Union Building, and she agrees Monash is a place where everyone can feel comfortable, regardless of race, religion or sexuality.
She also believes in the importance of Sir John Monash’s statement about gaining an education to benefit the community as well as yourself. “We all belong to the same global society, and if we can be at our best, the world will also be at its best,” she says.
Eva agrees: “We both work in the public service, and we approach our work from the same perspective of ‘how can we improve the world around us?’ ”