Building the Future: Cherise Czislowski (De Vere, 2002)

The School’s innovative new Science Learning Centre commenced construction in August 2019, and is due to open to students by 2021. As the seven-storey building takes shape, it’s a Grammar woman, Cherise Czislowski (De Vere, 2002), leading its construction.

Cherise Czislowski thought her last day at School was in November 2002. She never imagined that, almost two decades later, she would be walking through the gates again on an almost daily basis.

As Construction Manager for Lendlease, the company delivering the School’s Science Learning Centre, Cherise has become reacquainted with School life over the past 18 months.

‘I think it’s really nice for me to note that so much of the School is still the same—the traditions, the spirit,’ Cherise said.

‘Obviously there are some new facilities, which are exciting, from the Cherrell Hirst Creative Learning Centre (CLC), which Lendlease actually built, to the pool and the Elizabeth Jameson Research Learning Centre (RLC).’

A natural at math and science, Cherise particularly remembers the hands-on, practical nature of her BGGS science classes. It was her mother who persuaded her to investigate a career in engineering.

‘I was pretty strong in math, science, and particularly physics. Pleasingly, my physics teacher, Alan Allinson, is still at the School, which I think is just amazing.

‘I’ve been able to catch up with him and let him know that I did pursue a career to which physics really did contribute!’

In her career to date, Cherise has worked on several multi-million dollar construction projects, including the $1.76 billion Gold Coast University Hospital and the Robina Town Centre Redevelopment.

At just 25 years old, Cherise was given an Award to a Young Achiever at the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Queensland Crystal Vision Awards, recognising a woman under the age of 27 who demonstrates excellence in the construction, property, civil or related industries.

Cherise feels the Science Learning Centre project arrived at a pivotal point in her career.

‘I feel that timing-wise, it’s the perfect moment for me. I think this building will stand as a landmark at the School, so being able to be a part of it is something I’m pretty excited about.’

Passionate about encouraging young women into STEM careers, Cherise has also donated much of her time to leading a series of educational workshops and site visits with students. A Science Learning Centre student access group, comprising students with an interest in the subjects of science, math, engineering and design,  have learned about and seen first-hand the material and engineering features of the building, at every stage of construction.

As a mother of two young girls, who she hopes will attend Girls Grammar, Cherise hopes that her daughters’ natural sense of curiosity about the world is enriched through science and that the School’s Science building will serve as a daily reminder that their gender should not limit their future career choices.

‘The support and generosity of the Girls Grammar community has seen the School transform in so many ways since I graduated. When I look at the CLC, Pool and RLC and consider the impact that those facilities have had on the teaching and learning experience for girls today, it really reinforces the significance of this project and what it means for future generations.’