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Student intern sees world in a different light

24 July, 2019

An internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship was the out-of-your-comfort-zone experience Alice Ingram didn’t even know she needed.

Prior to starting her internship at Ngala in Joondalup, the University of WA student said she didn’t have much knowledge about the parenting, family, children and youth support services it provided. 

“I went in with a lack of understanding and filled with pre-conceived ideas,” she confessed.

“That was the greatest challenge: to have an open mind.

“One of the best advice I was given was, ‘Behind every person is a story’. I learned so much about individuals who may be struggling and how we need to look beyond that to see how you can help them. The internship really opened by mind to seeing things differently.”

As Ngala’s Research Project Intern, Ms Ingram completed a community information report on all the local governments serviced by the Ngala project Parenting Connection Western Australia.

“In doing this, the main aim was create an image of the communities in terms of the number of child care centres, medical centres, community centres, pharmacies and medical centres,” she said.

“I also focused on the census data to find information on the demographics in each area.

“Providing Ngala with this information it allows them to hone in on the services that are lacking in different areas, benefiting the parents, children and communities who these support services benefit.”

The prospective Doctor of Medicine post-graduate student said she was relieved the internship wasn’t in a “typical science-y environment like a lab”.

“The main highlight was actually being in a real life environment,” she said.

“The university environment is all theory, so it was really great to get the practical, professional experience.”

Ngala North West & North East Metro Manager Sara Browne supervised Ms Ingram during her 100-hour internship.

“Alice brought a high level of research skill and willingness to provide quality work, and her positive and driven manner was inspiring to those who worked around her,” Ms Browne said.  

Ms Browne said McCusker Centre for Citizenship student interns brought “a fresh and enthusiastic energy” to the work environment.

“They are at the cutting edge of their field and looking to go to the next step, to show excellence and yet complete the task within the directed parameters,” she said.

Iluka resident Ms Ingram said she would tell any UWA student considering an internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship: “Go for it”.

“The McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship helps you see the world in a different light,” she said.

“It made me reflect on myself and the issues facing people around me.”