Students sitting at a table

Meet Your Teachers

Here are just some of the amazing teachers we have at Trinity.

Brendan Holland

Theresa Dang

Biology teacher

Theresa has been teaching Biology at Trinity College since 2015. She enjoys working with students from all over the world and helps them to explore the many wonders of biology. She particularly likes to share how an understanding of biology can maintain, benefit and enhance the quality of life.Theresa holds a PhD in neuroscience and has worked as a neuroscientist in Australia, Germany and Japan. Her research focused on understanding and treating neurological disorders. She has published several scientific research papers internationally and has taught undergraduate neuroscience and psychology at Monash University.These days, Theresa uses her understanding of the brain to help students at Trinity College reach their full learning potential. She also has interests in eLearning and enjoys incorporating technology into the classroom to enhance the student learning experience. She looks forward to meeting and inspiring new students in their studies of biology.

Brendan Holland

Stephen Fletcher

Mathematics 2 subject leader

Stephen joined the TCFS program at the beginning of 2018. He has lectured and tutored Mathematics 2 in the February Standard and September Fast Track intakes and is always impressed by the positive attitude demonstrated by so many of his students. Stephen enjoys communicating mathematics, seeking to strike a balance between simplicity, authenticity and depth. Stephen holds a PhD in mathematical physics (General Relativity) from Monash University. Prior to joining the TCFS program, Stephen worked as a mathematics lecturer, tutor and teacher. He also worked as a weather forecaster and taught on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s initial forecaster training program.In his spare time, Stephen continues his research into mathematical models of rotating perfect fluids in general relativity and hopes that by continuing to learn new things he can better place himself in his students’ shoes.

Brendan Holland

Sasha Cyganowski

Mathematics 2 teacher

Sasha has been teaching Mathematics 2 in the TCFS program since 1997. Before joining Trinity, Sasha completed a PhD in general relativity and conducted research in stochastic numerics, which resulted in the book titled From Elementary Probability to Stochastic Differential Equations with Maple, published by Springer-Verlag. While such a book is an esoteric read, Sasha was pleasantly surprised when a student from China said she had chosen to study at Trinity after reading this book in secondary school.Sasha has delivered mathematics seminars in Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, and has taught courses in Indonesia and Ireland. He enjoys seeing and helping students of all backgrounds and abilities learn mathematics, whether that be an individual student in silent contemplation of a challenging problem or a group of classmates in raucous engagement as they attempt to program a robotic sphere to negotiate an obstacle course.Sasha encourages his students to engage with mathematics outside of the classroom and felt a great sense of pride in 2018 when a group of Mathematics 2 students won the Australian phase of the NASA Zero Robotics competition and subsequently had their code run on the International Space Station.

Brendan Holland

Rita George

Psychology teacher

Rita has been teaching Psychology at Trinity College since 2016. Before this, Rita worked for 14 years as a paediatric dental surgeon in Kuwait and Dubai. It was during this time that she realised her passion for teaching while training surgical interns at the hospital. After moving to Australia, Rita entered university for a second time to take on a new challenge in her early 40s by studying a completely different discipline – psychology. Rita went on to complete a PhD in Psychology from Deakin University, where her research focused on Autism Spectrum Disorder and the development of sexual orientation and gender-identity within this population. As a wife and mother of three sons with experience as an international mature-age student, Rita uses her personal stories and humour to create a safe and engaging atmosphere in her classroom, where she hopes students will engage with the rich gift of independent thinking and efficient expression. Her students are encouraged to participate in dialogue about current events and how it relates to the ‘mysteries of the human mind’, as well as the intersection of culture, age and gender in the navigation of the complexity of everyday life. Rita is passionate about increasing mental health awareness, reducing related stigma, challenging her students to develop a respect for themselves and others, and finally watching them walk out of Trinity College into a world full of possibilities, with their heads held high and their hearts well-equipped to face new adventures.

Dr Paulo Mendonca 

Physics teacher

Paulo is a theoretical physicist with a passion for teaching his craft. His expertise lies in the area of Quantum Information Theory, in which he completed his PhD in 2008, remaining an active researcher in the field ever since. Besides spending his time developing the physical theories that will support the construction of (useful) quantum computers, in 2019 Paulo joined Trinity College as a Physics lecturer and tutor. At Trinity, he also works as a mathematics tutor every now and then.

Dr Fun Lai

Physics subject leader

Dr Fun Lai has been the Physics Subject Leader at Trinity College Pathway School for more than 10 years. Her love for Physics began at high school when she discovered that Physics concepts are able to explain everything around us in a logical way. She went on to pursue a tertiary degree in Applied Physics and her PhD research was on the studies of diamond films and its potential use as semi-conductors. She just loves hands-on practical work but the more rigorous theoretical calculations...not so much! Fun’s first and foremost passion is to help students understand that Physics is actually not a hard subject, but a beautiful one which they can relate everyday experiences to. Her second passion is in helping students realise that to understand any natural phenomenon properly, they require a general understanding of Physics together with Biology and Chemistry – because the three sciences are interlinked.

Dr Kerry Higgins

Chemistry subject leader

Kerry completed PhD in Medicinal Chemistry focusing on drug design and development methodologies. She has worked for several years as a research scientist and lecturer in various universities in Australia and the UK.  She has always been fascinated with chemistry and science and hopes to encourage an appreciation of importance of science in all our lives.  Kerry has been subject leader at Trinity for many years.  In this role she works to engage students with chemistry to allow them to develop an appreciation of the importance of science to society, and its role in explaining the world around us.

Dr Cathy Symington

Biology subject leader

Dr Cathy has taught biology at Trinity for 25+ years. She loves the opportunity to explore such a dynamic subject with her students. Before Trinity, Cathy completed her Bachelor degree in Agricultural Science and her PhD in applied entomology and toxicology (which means she studied bugs and pesticides), aiming to help there be less bad chemicals in the environment. She later did a Masters degree in education management and leadership, following her interest in what helps people be their best. Cathy has been a science writer for an international NGO, is a prize-winning scientific illustrator and an avid gardener.

Vandana Wadhwa

Economics subject leader

Vandana is an experienced economics teacher and educator with a strong commitment to bringing out the best in her students. She has held the position of Subject Leader for Economics at Trinity since 2010. This year she is also acting as the Subject Leader for Accounting. She maintains accreditation with VIT and is a member of the Economics Advisory panel for Victorian Commercial Teachers Association. Prior to teaching at Trinity, she was teaching at Assumption University, Bangkok.

Dr Mark Nixon

Literature subject leader

Mark is the Subject Leader of Literature at Trinity. He is a much loved, highly innovative, and technologically outstanding teacher. Students never get bored in his classes. Before joining Trinity, Mark taught in the school of Culture and Communication at Melbourne University. He completed a Commerce degree at the University of Melbourne before going on to do an Arts degree and then some more. His PhD in literature was on eighteenth-century imaginary journeys and ideas of cosmopolitanism.

Dr Alicia Coram

History of Ideas subject leader

Alicia completed her PhD in Philosophy in 2011, looking at the theory that our minds extend beyond our own brains and bodies. She tutored in philosophy; worked at the Office of the Vice Chancellor; and was the tutor co-ordinator (and sometimes lecturer) for Philosophy, Politics and Economics and Indigenous Studies.  Alicia also worked as a research associate at the Nossal Institute of Global Health and had a child before starting work at Trinity as a History of Ideas lecturer in 2015, where she enjoys bringing a passion for philosophy, art and Indigenous studies into her teaching. 

Joanne Boyle

Media and Communications subject leader

Joanne Boyle studied cinema and literature at University however her professional career began in teaching English Language.  She first taught in Migrant English programs.  This led to working in adult and youth literacy programs for native speakers of English.  She then taught in international education.  This meant living and working in Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and South Korea.   As well as overseeing  the Media and Communications course  Joanne runs the Trinity Movie Club which meets weekly to chat about all things cinema! 

Phuong-Nghi Le-Pham

Media and communications teacher

Phuong-Nghi has taught Media and Communications at Trinity College Foundation Studies for eight years and recently launched her specialist library project as part of the 2021 Emerging Writers' Festival. Her views on education and approach to pedagogy stems from a deep passion for knowledge sharing practices that can help strengthen engagement and reframe how connections are established across communities.