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Alumni profile: Helena Trang 

2 May, 2024

Helena Trang, a University of Western Australia (UWA) Juris Doctor graduate, has been forging a career focused on social policy since completing her studies in 2021, and is currently working with Mandala Partners in Melbourne as an analyst.

During her time at UWA, Helena undertook an internship with the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship (the Centre), going on to chair the Centre’s Student Advisory Committee, and joining the Mataraki Network’s Active Citizenship conference in Dunedin, New Zealand. These experiences helped inspire Helena to seek a career in social policy.

“My passion is in tackling social policy problems across education and youth justice in Australia. These overlap with many other policy areas such as health, housing, and employment,” Helena said.

“Meeting likeminded, passionate students was a highlight of my time at the McCusker Centre for Citizenship and my involvement with the Centre helped my understanding of what policy levers and players exist in the social policy space. I applied for my first professional role through a contact I met while at the Active Citizenship conference, which strongly shaped my career interests.”

Since graduating from UWA, Helena has worked on a range of projects for state and federal governments, as well as for large philanthropic groups and not-for-profit organisations.

“I especially enjoyed working on a review of child rights in youth justice across Australian jurisdictions for 54 Reasons. This work was the first to look at youth justice across all Australian jurisdictions.”

Since joining Mandala, she has worked with clients in banking, philanthropy and financial technology, contributing to projects including an education investment plan for a major philanthropic organisation.

“Cross-sector collaboration is needed to achieve results in education and youth justice, and I hope to play a role in achieving results through cross-sector collaboration and employing an evidence-based approach to policy making.”

Helena said that her internship through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship had been the starting point for exciting and new experiences, and she encouraged university students to get involved with activities beyond their studies.

“Put your hand up for any opportunities that come your way - they can lead you to future opportunities that will provide you with valuable experiences.”