Profile of past student, Emily Huglin.


Emily is the eldest of three children of Frank and Anne-Maree Huglin. She started at Hawkesdale P12 College in Prep in 1999 and graduated from Year 12 in 2011. Emily recalls some memories from her time at school:

  • Sitting in the rotunda, having crazy conversations with friends at lunchtime that had you laughing so hard you were crying
  • Going on camps every year (I discovered at uni that this wasn’t the case for most schools)
  • Mitchell winning swimming and athletics every year! Go Mitchell!
  • Getting the opportunity to travel on a plane for the first time and travel overseas
  • Performing in Snowdrop (the play)…. as the Prince!
  • The competitive games of 4-square at recess and lunch
  • Making friends that will last a lifetime

Emily chose English, Maths Methods, Further Maths, Studio Arts, Chemistry and Biology in her VCE years, both for enjoyment but also because some were requirements for the area I wanted to further study at university. She undertook Further Maths in Year 11 as an extra unit 3/4 subject. This ensured she would have an extra subject for her ATAR whilst also providing a good opportunity to experience a Year 12 subject and the amount of work required to be successful in obtaining a high result. This gave her experience in undertaking VCE exams in the exam hall and under strict conditions. She found it valuable in giving her an indication in how much time, effort and work was needed to do well in individual subjects and in year 12 overall. Emily also chose a subject for enjoyment:

“Studio Arts was more or less an outlet for me during a very full-on, studious VCE period. I was able to explore a more creative side and it allowed me to focus on achieving an end-product during the year; with less focus on the end of year exam. It was however my most stressful, tedious and time-consuming subject. I spent lots of hours during the year trialing different techniques, researching, creating my final pieces of artwork and putting together a folio that I was happy with. It was hard work but it was also my favourite subject – one that I was happy to put lots of my time into. If you enjoy being creative or want a relief from your typical maths and science subjects then I definitely suggest looking at an art subject – just be prepared to work as hard as, or harder, than your other subjects; it certainly isn’t a bludge subject.”

Though I wasn’t the biggest fan of science during my earlier schooling years, I did enjoy being exposed to Biology and Chemistry in my Year 10 Science classes. This led me to choose both Chemistry and Biology for VCE, of which I enjoyed both classes. They were also a part of the requirements to get into a science degree at university; of which I continued to study both subjects throughout my university degree.”

“Maths Methods was also another requirement of many university degrees, including science and animal-based degrees. Methods was certainly harder than Further Maths but generally had a greater adjusted study score – balancing them out much more. I also enjoyed maths during my schooling.”

“English is a compulsory subject, however it was also a nice change from the maths and science subjects I did. It is certainly an important subject and one that you should want to do well in. Even though the specific content and textbooks may not be applicable to many fields or degrees, the basis of the subject and the ability to write essays definitely comes in handy at university – no matter your course.”

After finishing school, Emily moved to Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Science at The University of Melbourne, Parkville campus. She majored in Animal Science and Management and graduated in 2014. She spent two years living on campus at St Hilda’s College, in Parkville, and for the final year of her degree lived in a house in Brunswick. She says both experiences were incredible – “Living on campus is a great way to meet new people, make good friends and enjoy a less-stressful first year at university whilst moving into a house provided me with more independence and freedom.”

Emily is currently employed as an Animal Health Officer (AHO) with DEDJTR (Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources) in the Animal Health and Welfare Branch. She is based in the South-West region, working from the Hamilton office. She started the job in April 2015, after completing her Bachelor’s degree at the end of 2014. There are four key components to her role as an AHO. Firstly, there is animal disease surveillance and response. She works alongside vets and AHOs to prove disease freedom and responds to any disease outbreaks or suspect cases.

She also has an emergency preparedness and response role, attending fires and conducting stock assessments, inspecting stock for burns and other associated injuries. The third key role is animal welfare. She responds to animal welfare complaints about livestock and aims to ensure farmers and those in the industry adhere to the animal welfare standards and legislation.

The final component refers to regulation and compliance. She spends time at saleyards, ensuring tagging and other compliance standards are being met.

Her job is extremely variable, with plenty of travelling, but she loves not knowing what she is going to do at work each day. Every situation is different and a growing part of the job is extension and education. Spending time at the saleyards or on-farm with farmers, agent and people alike is a great part of the job.

Emily’s advice to current students is to take every opportunity that comes your way, and give things a go.

“As a student at Hawkesdale College I was always encouraged to participate in sporting activities, go to conferences, enter public speaking contests, choir groups, go on school trips interstate and overseas or be a part of the SRC and school-run events. Being a small school, the attitude was generally to have anyone and everyone join in where possible and participate, or at least express interest in participating.”

“This attitude is something that I developed at school and have continued to live by. Throughout college and university, I put my hand up for a number of different sporting teams and activities, participated in the college musical, attended social functions, took advantage of the tutor and study groups available and took on both a mentor and mentee role with a leadership group.

It is these extra things that make life what it is, and you never know how an experience or opportunity may evolve further. I got to experience life on stage during the musical, received career and university advice during my mentoring and study/tutor groups, was a part of the college premiership netball team, travelled overseas numerous times and made many new life-long friends in the process.”

“I was lucky enough that Hawkesdale College were able to provide me with so many different opportunities as a student – this often isn’t the case at many other schools with larger student numbers. I also know that these opportunities dry up as time goes on, so take them while you can! It may be that one thing you do or sign up for that makes a difference in you getting a job, meeting your best friend or discovering something that you love.”

“Don’t get caught up about knowing or not knowing what you want to do after school. The next few years should be about exploring your options, experiencing life and any opportunities that might come your way and discovering who you are and who you want to be. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted after school – go to Melbourne, study my science degree, then do the post-graduate Veterinary course and become a vet. In the end I finished my science degree, declined a veterinary science offer and decided to have a year off working in any field, save money and possibly go travelling. By pure chance I saw the Animal Health Officer role advertised, so applied and was lucky enough to get the job. Now I’m working in a field that I enjoyed studying at university, but had never thought twice about before.”

“Ultimately, don’t back yourself into a corner. Explore all that is offered and keep an open-mind – you never know where you can end up and what you might actually enjoy. Also, Year 12 comes and Year 12 goes – once I was at uni, no one cared about scores and ATARs. Aim for your best. Aim for a score to get you where you want to be but remember that in a few years it won’t matter anyway. You can always take another path if you don’t get what you want or need! It’s certainly not the end of the world! The other bit of advice I have is that don’t feel pressured to go to university or undertake further study. You don’t need a university degree to be successful!”

“If you know what you want, go for it. If you don’t know, develop a plan that will help you discover what it is that you want. You’ve got a lifetime to work, so take your time to find the right life for you.”

Thanks Emily for sharing your experiences and advice for students and we wish you continued success in your field. If any past students of Hawkesdale College are interested in contributing to this project, please contact Britt Gow at school or by email: brittgow(at)