We recently caught up with 2016 Upstart Challenge winner Madeline Baker (Clonard College Alumni) to discover what she’s been up to over the last few years. Her 2016 idea Nurture for Hope is an inspiring initiative focused on supporting  young people with eating disorders through peer mentoring to help them stay grounded and find hope throughout their medical treatment; a health service based on compassion.

Where are you now?

I have just completed my Bachelor of Vision Science and now studying a Masters of Optometry at Deakin University.

How has being involved with Upstart helped you?

Being involved with Upstart has helped me to further develop my skills in communication, organisation and entrepreneurship. The program helped me see that stepping outside of my comfort zone opens up so many new possibilities. These skills have assisted me in completing my Bachelor degree and currently, in my endeavours through my Masters. Upstart helped me establish a new way of thinking. Now, I am constantly searching to make the most of every opportunity and do whatever I can to create the future I desire.

What does your ideal career look like?

Ideally, after a few years of working as an optometrist in practice, I would love to complete my PhD, perhaps in Indigenous health or looking at neurodegenerative disorders. Ultimately, I would love to bring together my love of entrepreneurship to the world of optometry and create new opportunities in the field.

Are you a Pioneer, has your Big Idea been executed by you or someone else?

From my understanding, I do not believe my Big Idea has been executed by anyone else – and I would love to continue to develop the program after university.

Have you had any Side Hustles?

In my spare time, I have created a Foodie Instagram account, aimed at promoting wellness and positivity around all food types


You can connect with Madeline via LinkedIn here