Meet our Alumni

Alumni Profiles

Penny McNamee (00)

Penny McNamee is one of Australia's most versatile actresses with her current role being that of Dr Tori Morgan in the Australian TV Series Home and Away. 

Penny grew up singing and loved musicals.  During her time at Barker she performed the lead role of Josephine in HMS Pinafore. Since school Penny's talents and hard work were noticed and rewarded with the role of Nessarose in the Australian production of Wicked, for which she won the 2009 Green Room Award. 

Penny is married to Matt Tooker from the Class of 2000 and together they lived in New York between 2011-2014.  During their time in New York, Penny was cast in several US television shows, including Political Animals, Elementary and Blue Bloods.  

Upon returning to Australia in 2015, Penny played the title role in Mary Poppins at Sydney's Riverside Theatre. Penny sort out television roles, playing various guest roles in Australian TV Series, including All Saints, White Collar Blue and The Pacific.  Penny and Matt have a son together and recently had their second child, a daughter, Neve.


Sam Figg (10)

Sam Figg is an Australian Rugby Sevens representative player. Sam joined the new Sevens team at Norths where he was selected to play for the Australian Sevens in the World Series in Tokyo in 2013.  He then returned to playing XVs and joined Randwick in 2014 where he continued to develop his skills as a back rower.  Late in the 2014 season Sam sustained a serious neck injury.  He recovered well and by the end of 2105 he made a comeback and played in the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) for the NSW Country Eagles.

Sam was then selected for the NRC Barbarians team that toured New Zealand in November 2015. Some of Sams best football was played during this time.  The 2016 Rio Olympic team was his next dream and saw him return to the Sevens program.  An opportunity came to play Rugby in Japan, giving Sam another great experience to his sporting life.

Sam is now playing in a new competition in the US, Major League Rugby, with Denver Colorado for the Glendale Raptors.

Stephanie Smith (78)

 Stephanie Smith is a Principal Architect (Lendlease) and Executive Architect for the Renzo Piano One Barangaroo.  Stephanie has been in these roles for more than three years now and whilst there was a steep learning curve it has also being one of the most challenging roles of her career.

After finishing at Barker, Stephanie enrolled in an Architecture degree at the University of Sydney but first went to Paris to work as an Au Pair and learn French.  Whilst in Europe Stephanie went to an architecture summer school in Scandinavia and later worked for several French architects she had met on the tour.  Stephanie has since co-founded Design practice Innovarchi, worked with John Andrews, Herman Hertzberger and Renzo Piano all well known international architects, and has received several awards, grants and scholarships.  Stephanie completed her Masters of Architecture (Research) at Queensland University with a study of aboriginal housing in north western NSW.  The results of her thesis are now part of a book titled "Settlement: A History of Australian Indigenous Housing"

Alex Blackwell (01) 

 Ms Alex Blackwell grew up in Wagga Wagga, NSW and boarded at Barker between 2000 and 2001.  She is the most experienced player in the Australian Women's Cricket team, having made her international debut in 2003 and built a career around her powerful and precise stroke play.

In 2006, Alex and her twin sister Kate made cricketing history when they became the first set of identical twins to plpay cricket for Australia.  Alex is no stranger to success; she captained Australia to the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in 2010 and was a member of the team that won that same title in Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2014.

Alex has two ICC Women's World Cup trophies to her name, having helped the national team win in 2005 and 2013.  Battling through injury and fluctuating selection at an international leave, Alex fought her way back into the test team again and again giving her the title of the first Australian woman to play 250 games for her country in 2017.

Dr Rachel Thomas (98)

Dr Rachel Thomas is a practising doctor and healthcare innovator, with a special interest in wellbeing and mental health.  She is passionate about encouraging women into areas such as Science, Technology, and Engineering. And about challenging stereotypes, having moved to London from Sydney as a model. She is involved with students in teaching and mentoring, actively involved in health-tech start-ups, and speaks regularly to Schools and Institutions on innovation and technology in healthcare, highlighting the importance of mental health and wellbeing. Dr Rachel writes in popular press and has two books published - Practical Medical Procedures at a Glance, and Medical School at a Glance, both by Wiley-Blackwell.

She studied Medicine and Surgery at Oxford University, and is currently completing a Masters in Neuroscience and Psychology of Mental Health at Kings College London, with a specific interest in resilience and wellbeing. She also completed Biomedical Engineering (Hons 1) and Science degrees at Berkeley and Sydney University.

Dr Rachel currently works in Harley Street, as well as in the National Health Service (NHS, the public healthcare system in the UK) and will continue doing clinical work as she really enjoys seeing patients, particularly in the area of mental health optimisation.  

Monique Alfris (01)

Monique Alfris (Class of 2001) is working to help improve the lives on India's urban poor. Monique studied engineering at NSW University and International Business at Sydney University.  With a passion for Renewable Energy Engineering, and experience in property sustainability, Monique has co-founded the not-for-profit organisation Pollinate Energy to bring life-changing products to people who need them most: the millions in poverty in India's urban slums.  

The people in these slum areas use a small kerosene flame for light so our first product was a solar light and mobile phone charger. Pollinate Energy provides small loans to buy the solar lights and in turn their customers save on their energy bills and after about six months break even whilst owning the light that will continue to work for five years.