Find out more about Plant Assessor's newest team member!
Melissa Barrass – UX Designer
Background: I was born in Sydney but grew up in Blacksmiths 4 houses from the beach (very lucky). At Blacksmiths Primary, I was one of 9 kids in my year. I later went to Belmont Primary which was a lot bigger and easier to make friends. I was a very talented long distance runner and soccer player (midfielder; I could run all day), competing at zone levels but didn’t take either one of them seriously enough. I didn’t train or belong to a club. I picked up all my knowledge on the field every recess and lunch.
Education: I went to Belmont High School but my ATAR score was a bitter pill to swallow so I tried again through The University of Newcastle’s bridging program, Newstep, which changed my life. I almost doubled my ATAR score all whilst supporting my mother through her breast cancer treatment. I was pretty proud at how much I had grown that year. I then knuckled down in my dream degree, BA Design at UNSW, during which I went overseas on exchange to Göteborg, Sweden to enhance my design knowledge. Enroute home I stopped by India to do a textiles elective with my design peers to learn about the artisanal world of weaving, embroidery, dyeing, woodblock printing and more. Both experiences were life changing. I graduated in 2014 and my major project got a High Distinction which was a proud moment.
Career: My first job was at House of Quirky. My last job was at the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).
Outside work: I like to spend my weekends in the garden doing yoga, caring for my plants or tending to the veggie garden. I am a proud “cat mom” of two. A cool story about my cats is that one went missing just before I came home from my Sweden/India experience. My sister who was living in the Ermington (Sydney) house at the time said she had been missing for a couple of weeks. I initially attempted following up with shelters and vets nearby (as she is microchipped) to no avail. I was left heartbroken and wondering. 8 years later I was hungover in bed on a Sunday and I got a call from a random number. I didn’t answer but screened the call. The text appeared on my phone “Hello I’m _____ and I have this cat here with her microchipped scanned. Her name is Mittens and this number is registered to her number”. Thinking I am being stitched up, I answer the phone and the rest is history (I’ll skip the part where I sobbed like a baby). She was picked up the night after all the way in Liverpool. It was the most exciting and nerve-wracking car trip of my life.