To Infinity and Beyond!

Marielle Ong

"Since Grade 8 I’ve wanted to pursue science, go to the frontier of the unknown and break boundaries."

In the two years following Grade 8, Marielle would discover warp drives, space-time continuums, and countless more quantumesque theories via cutting-edge science fiction television shows such as Star Trek and Stargate. This sparked a passion for astrophysics or cosmology - sciences which explore exoplanets and galaxies within our cosmos.

“In year 10 my goals were to be an academic captain, win Dux, get an OP 1, enrol into a university that offered research opportunities, finish my Bachelor's degree in Science with Honours and move on to a PhD."

At the end of grade twelve, Marielle received an OP 2 and acceptance into a Batchelor of Science degree majoring in Physics at University of Queensland - her first preference.

On University

“Funnily enough, I found out that I absolutely hated physics so I switched into an extended math major. I have now graduated and I am currently studying for a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in mathematics.”

The university experience has been rewarding for Marielle. 

“I've met so many passionate researchers and like-minded students who I am proud to collaborate with and call my friends."

Marielle was an exchange student for one semester at the University of British Columbia where she even had the experience of playing Muggle Quidditch. 

“I have also worked at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) where I studied the handedness of honeybees."

Naturally, Marielle has learned a lot about herself and how the world works. She has come to understand her strengths and limitations through minor victories and setbacks on her journey. 

“I've laughed, I've cried, I've lost all motivation and somehow, bounced back every time. Since there is no one to push me, I have to decide what motivates, what moves and defines me. University has taught me resilience and fortitude. It builds character but then again, any life experience one goes through builds character."

Marielle is the current President of the UQ Mathematics Students Society and has won Best Tutoring Award in mathematics. Throughout her degree years, Marielle has lived in St John's College. She has received the Warden's Medal as well as a Major College Scholarship.

On St Luke’s

“My mathematics teachers were the ones who helped me find my passion in mathematics and ultimately, led me to the career path I am on. For that, I am eternally grateful,” she said. “My English teacher inspired me to write more poetry and monologues - even throughout my university degree!”

For a math aficionado, it may come as a surprise that many of Marielle’s fondest memories come out of St Luke’s award-winning Performing Arts Centre. 

“The cultural aspect of St Luke's was always buzzing with ensembles, string quartets, orchestras, choirs and musicals. Under the cultural staff, my piano and cello playing matured and I found a passion in music. They were always so encouraging to crazy, spontaneous and creative ideas, so at some point I dabbled in composing orchestral music, comedy, drama and singing. The cultural life of St Luke's fed the artistic side of my brain richly, and wholesomely. I was encouraged to embrace and express my individuality.”

On The Future

Marielle’s ideal career is to be a successful academic, with a productive output in mathematics. Following her masters degree at UQ, Marielle hopes to complete a PhD in the United states followed by a post doctorate. 

“It will be a twisted, tough road that may end up nowhere, but one has to try for the sake of a dream and a vision.”