Rachel McCarthy from Australia

1. What do you currently do?
I currently work for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in the area of education policy reform. We work with governments of the Asia-Pacific region to help strengthen their education systems.

2. What was your favourite OCEANS event?
I really enjoyed the AGM in New York in 2011. I remember running through New York City taking pictures as part of our 'city hunt' and I remember the wonderful presentations at Parsons New School for Design around concepts that were new to me. I was really impressed by the presentation by Ester, Sven and Ben (three OCEANS members from Belgium) on urbanisms of inclusion in Baltimore. Urban design is something I knew so little about but it has fascinated me ever since. I think it also helped me to appreciate that different disciplines really do intersect. In this regard, there's so much we can gain from each other as graduates in different areas or students in different fields.

3. How do you spend your weekends?
I feel like the luckiest person on earth when it comes to the weekend - it's very easy to travel around Thailand and I'm often escaping busy Bangkok for a quiet beach or the country or the mountains or even just the local massage parlour... It's a really wonderful lifestyle I have here in Thailand and I'm sure I'll back on these years and miss the country a lot.

4. Tell me one thing that your colleagues would be surprised to hear about you.
When I was very young, I thought I might have been a cat... 

5. Tell me about the most memorable OCEANS member you’ve met
That is a really hard question! Val, Ben, Julia, Daniel, Masa, Kristie, Tina and Emily were part of the first OCEANS Co-ordinating Board and are all very memorable people! I remember sitting around a table with them at Madou Tower, learning about the European Commission's vision to create a new alumni network named "OCEANS" and together with ICU.net devising ways to attract members. I remember meeting Val in the lobby of the hotel, thinking how confident and opinionated he was! (And great!) I remember thinking Ben was a real charmer! I remember thinking Julia was just beautiful, Daniel extremely bright, Masa incredibly considerate and kind and Emily very engaging. Kristie is incredibly warm, thoughtful and a great mum, and Tina! Well, she's the life of the party and the most wonderful company. It's very hard to pull any one of the original team out as the "most memorable" - they all mean a great deal to me, but since I know there must be one who will feature in the next edition.. I'm choosing Daniel - I'm really lucky to have met Daniel, he's got a wonderful sense of humour and he's off achieving so much! I'm curious to hear more about his adventures in Africa...

6. What is your guilty pleasure?
I don't think I have any guilty pleasures, although I love chocolate and mulled wine... do I have to feel guilty about that??

7. What are you most passionate about?
How we can best improve educational opportunities for all and going further, how we can ensure education works to foster the creative potential of all people, especially the young.

8. What is your greatest regret?
I'm too young to have regrets about anything I can't address and I hope to maintain that attitude throughout life.

9. Which talent would you most like to have?
I'd love to be able to perform capoeira - I love the combination of dance, martial art and music... It's amazing! Check it out.

10. What is your current state of mind?
Confident and excited about the future!

11. What is your most treasured possession?
I don't treasure possessions, but I still have a small wooden box my mother and I bought in Fiji in 1992.

12. Where would you want your dream home to be?
Anywhere will do, so long as the company I hold closest is near. 

13. Who are your favourite writers?
In my case, perhaps the better question is who are your favourite storytellers. I love the plays of Bertolt Brecht, I love the films of Richard Linklater and the poems of Robert Frost. The Road Less Travelled as been a guiding mantra of mine over the last few years.

14. Your favourite musician?
Gosh.... right now I'm enjoying Alt+J but as per my response above, my tastes are very eclectic.

15. What is your mantra in life?
Well, in addition to the Road Less Travelled, a more personal mantra is that nothing in life really has to happen in order to feel 'good'. It's really an incredible gift to be living and that is reason enough to feel wonderful.