A Transformative Experience
Meet Griffith University Bachelor of Industrial Design graduate, Bren Domingo. Originally hailing from Philippines, Bren made her way to the Gold Coast to study Industrial Design at Griffith, which turned out to be the most transformative experience of her life.
“Before I came to Australia, I was a different person. It may all sound funny now, but looking back, I can still remember that my parents were definitely not smiling back then. I was a drop out. I failed due to absences”
“When I arrived here, I wasn’t expecting anything but to graduate. Fortunately, I ended up being surrounded by so many kind people that eventually changed my life. I once told my mom that it’s definitely hard to fool around when everyone’s just so kind to you”.
During her studies at Griffith, Bren actively participated in the life of the University and broader Gold Coast community.
She ran programs at the Gold Coast Hub like the author event for the Somerset Celebration of Literature to the Made Dame exhibition which raised the profiles of female artists from Griffith University. With Bren’s background in vinyl design and 3D rendering, she designed the graphics for 2019 Griffith Racing Team car “Bronte” and was selected to be a Graduation Student Speaker at 2019 Griffith University graduation ceremony. Bren believes that no matter what you do in life, if you choose to change, you are going to succeed. “Take the chance when it’s given and always be the better person. You can’t go wrong with being kind”. Bren shares her journey and insight to some of her Griffith experiences and highlights.
Why did you choose to study at Griffith?
I have always wanted to be an engineer because of my father, but I also considered myself as an artist and a designer. In fact, before coming to Australia, I have worked in Brunei for 6 years as a ‘graphic designer’. During that time when I was researching possible degrees that can incorporate design and engineering together, I came across Griffith University’s website and in only five minutes of browsing, I fell in love with Industrial Design. It was the first thing that came up and because I am a Filipino and I love the coast so much, I felt that Griffith was the best option for me.
How did Griffith support you during your studies?
Griffith supported me in many ways. I was an international student, and even as a mature aged student, when I arrived in Australia, I was very anxious. But Griffith provided a lot of support elements that was put in place from welcoming us students until the day we graduated. In about a year through my studies, things got tough for me and my family financially. I thought that I had to go home because of that but through Griffith scholarships and support from the career’s services and the international office and a lot of kind people, I was able to finish my degree.
What are your major accomplishments?
When I was a student, I became involved in many organisations within Griffith and the rest of the Gold Coast community. To name a few, I have been a Gold Coast Mayor’s Ambassador where I was part of the video created to promote diversity in the Commonwealth Games. Throughout my studies, I have also been a mentor for both the School of Engineering and the Queensland College of Art. I was also an ambassador for STEM at Griffith, which I took part in the initial program created in partnership with Procter and Gamble. I was also part of the Student Consultative Committee whom are responsible for Griffith Engineering Student Voice. While being a student, I have also been active in the Gold Coast community where I became a committee member for the Design Institute of Australia.
I am very passionate in everything that I do in my career. For example, through the associations and several positions I held as a student and a staff member at Griffith University, I have achieved some of the highest regards of my peers and for my work. My commitment eventually lead me to receive the Griffith Vice Chancellor Award – Highly Commended in the category of ‘Excellence in Leadership’ for Excellence in Professional & Support Staff Service.
Where are you now/what are you working on?
Since graduating, I was able to be granted a Temporary Graduate Visa due the qualifications that I attained from Griffith. While waiting, I was working at Griffith Library and the new Engineering building – N79. Since the pandemic, I have continued being a Social Media Manager for a company in Brisbane. I am also currently part of the Youth Advisory Group at Home of the Arts where we are currently getting ready for the opening of the new Children’s Art Centre next year.
What advice would you give to current students?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If there’s one thing that I know, there’s always someone, especially in Griffith, that is willing to help. Whether it’s another student, your professor, staff at the library or even the cleaners, a conversation with them can change your life.