STAR Members

The Scholarship Team for Advice and Review (STAR) is a group of scholarship recipients and alumni that assist Western Chances to achieve its strategic goal of ensuring the organisation remains relevant to young people.

Julia Truong (Chair)

Julia completed her Bachelor of Production at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in 2013, majoring in Production and Stage Management for theatre events. During this time, she worked on various productions around Melbourne, including a placement in the production of King Kong the Musical. Since graduating, she has founded her own stage and event management company, JT. Production Management. Julia later established a second business JT. Weddings, organising many successful weddings. Read Julia's full biography here.


Jessica Bonello

Jessica attended Copperfield College and was nominated for her first scholarship when she was in Year 11. She progressed to Victoria University where she studied her dream course, a Bachelor of Nursing, receiving her final scholarship in the year of her graduation, 2014. She then gained a position at the Royal Children’s Hospital, a place she spent considerable time in as a patient throughout her childhood and somewhere she had always wanted to work. Jessica is still at RCH working three days a week in the day oncology unit and two days a week in research. 


Peter Deng

Peter is currently in the third year of his Commerce degree at Melbourne University. He attended Suzanne Cory High School, a select entry secondary school in Hoppers Crossing and received his first scholarship in 2013 when he was in Year 11. He has been very involved with university life and is currently volunteering for the Global Consulting Group and is their External Relations Officer. Peter has secured a graduate position and in 2018 will commence work as a management consultant at Ernst & Young (EY).He has a deep passion for social impact, the not-for-profit sector and the education sector.


Melissa Garwood

Melissa received her first Western Chances scholarship in 2004 while a student at Taylors Lakes Secondary College. She was awarded 11 scholarships in total. Melissa completed VCE 2008 and graduated from her Bachelor of Biomedicine with Honours at the University of Melbourne in 2012.  After eight years of hard work and commitment to her tertiary studies in 2016 Melissa completed her final year of the Doctor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. She worked part time at Woolworths to support herself during this time. She is currently working as an intern at Western Health and often comes to visit us at Western Chances!


Abid Khan

Abid attended Melbourne High School, was recognised for his academic excellence and received his first scholarship in 2006 when he was in Year 9. He received six scholarships in total. After school he progressed to a Bachelor of Biomedicine and post graduate studies in Medicine at the University of Melbourne. Abid graduated as a medical doctor last year and is currently in his first year as a junior doctor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  Abid recently presented a research paper on intestinal obstruction in neonates (duodenal atresia) at the Pacific Association of Paediatric Surgeons (PAPS) conference in Seattle.


Victor Le

Victor attended Kurunjang Secondary in Melton and received his first Western Chances scholarship in 2008 when he was in Year 12. He furthered his education at Victoria University in Footscray and was nominated for a Western Chances/Victoria University Access scholarship which he received for the duration of his tertiary study. Victor completed two Diplomas and two Advanced Diplomas in I.T. He is now working full time for Multiplex in its I.T. Department, setting up I.T. facilities and providing onsite support to twenty construction sites across Victoria.


Thao Loh

Thao was in Year 10 at Gilmore College for Girls when she received the first of six Western Chances scholarships. She was dux of her high school and completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance) at The University of Melbourne. Throughout university, she was a cadet at the Australian Taxation Office as well as working as a tutor. In her final year of study, Thao secured a graduate position with a major accounting firm where she is building a successful career and is a mentoring to a current scholarship recipient who is an intern at her firm. Thao is also a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. 


Eva Maleken

Eva is 21 years old and received her first scholarship in 2010 when she was in Year 10 at Kurunjang Secondary College.  Last year she completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physiology and Pharmacology at Monash University where in 2015 she received the Monash University Science Future Leader award. This year she has commenced a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science and hopes to build a career specialising in drug development and personalised medicine. Eva is an active community worker, advocate for youth empowerment and leader in the Muslim community. She volunteers with the National Zakat Foundation to provide support for disadvantaged and vulnerable minorities, in particular asylum seekers, refugees and the homeless.


Abraham Nyieth

Abraham arrived in Australia from Sudan in 2008. He received his first scholarship in 2009 when he was in Year 11 at Copperfield College, and received six scholarships in total. After completing VCE Abraham went to RMIT to study a Bachelor of Social Work, graduating in 2015. He has been an active youth and community leader working with his church, the Salvation Army, Migrant Information Centre and Jesuit Social Services. He is currently employed as a Learning Support Officer at St Dominic’s Primary School and is undertaking part time study in a Master of Property at RMIT and a Master of Mental Health Practice at the University of New England online.


Jenny Pham Vo

Jenny was in Year 10 at Copperfield College when she received her first Western Chances scholarship. She was supported with scholarships for four years, deciding after her first year at university that she was able to fund her own educational expenses. Jenny is in the third year of a Bachelor of Communications - Media at RMIT University, and hopes to work within the film industry as a production manager and script supervisor. She volunteers for RMITV, the student run media club which produces TV shows and content for Channel 31 and online and she is the current media/marketing manager for the RMIT Oxfam student club.


Katherine Tan

Katherine is a Western Chances Alumni and received her first scholarship in 2004 when she was in year 8 at The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School. She received nine scholarships which assisted her to achieve outstanding grades in high school and to qualify for and graduate from a medical degree at Monash University. During her degree she was able to complete a placement in Malaysia. The experience of working in the developing world inspired her aspiration to volunteer in the future for an organisation such as Médecins Sans Frontières. Katherine is currently working as doctor with young people who suffer from a mental illness and is doing further training to specialise as a psychiatrist.  She is passionate about mental health and addressing social inequalities. 


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