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Remarkable Women

Remarkable Women
Mentone Girls' Grammar

Five Old Girls have been inducted into the Remarkable Women Hall of Fame for their outstanding contribution to society. 

The Mentone Girls’ Grammar Old Girls community gathered for the 2021 Remarkable Women event held on Friday 12 March at Encore St Kilda.

The spotlight was on Kate Summers (1979), Dr Manjusha Thorpe (1991), Dr Bao Nguyen  (2002), Mary Bawden (1969) and Dr Pratiti (Mimi) Bandopadhayay (1994) who were inducted in the Remarkable Women Hall of Fame for their outstanding individual contributions to their professional endeavours.

ARIA-winning musician, Logie-nominated actor and ABIA-winning author Clare Bowditch featured as the keynote speaker whose achievements are expansive across the performing and creative arts industry. She left the audience with the key message of:

Make sure you provide yourself with the freedom to discover who you might want to be in the world. Challenge the voice in your head and talk back to the part of the brain that attaches shame to vulnerability. When you’re a women in the world – make a place for yourself.

Meet our five Remarkable Women

Dr Bao Nguyen is a researcher in human visual neuroscience, an optometrist and a lecturer in optometry and vision sciences at The University of Melbourne. She commenced at Mentone Girls’ Grammar on an academic scholarship and later became the Dux of the School—achieving the top 0.15 percent of students in the State.

Kate Summers did not grow up thinking she would become an engineer until she was told by a careers survey that she had an aptitude for mechanics. Kate is now a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia, a board member of The Electrical College and has been awarded National Professional Electrical Engineer of the Year (2020).

Dr Manjusha Thorpe developed a passion for Mathematics and Languages before pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering and Japanese at Monash University. She was awarded a position in the graduate program of ICI Australia (now Orica) and worked her way up the leadership ladder. Manjusha returned to university to complete her PhD in Engineering at The University of Cambridge and was later employed by the University as a Research Associate.

Mary Bawden (nee Bowes) ventured into early childhood education and was accepted into the Melbourne Kindergarten Teachers’ College. She represented the Peninsula and Chelsea Kindergarten Teachers’ Association (PACKTA) as president. Mary’s health declined in the early 2000s and underwent a liver transplant. She felt she had been given a second chance at life and turned her attention to promoting organ and tissue donations through DonateLife and Transplant Australia.

Dr Pratiti (Mimi) Bandopadhayay dedicates almost every waking hour to the pursuit of finding a cure for incurable pediatric brain tumours. Pratiti runs her own lab at Harvard University that researches treatments for brain cancers. In addition, she is a member of the clinical pediatric neuro-oncology team in the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Centre.




  • Remarkable Women