It was perfect timing that Madison Fitzgerald completed her McCusker Centre for Citizenship in the same month PrideFEST celebrated 30 years of pride in WA.
The University of WA student – who is set to graduate with a double major in Psychology this year – completed her internship at Telethon Kids Institute in early November.
During her 100-hour internship, the 20-year-old Woodvale resident worked on two research projects; the first was compiling a list of experts and people with lived experience in the fields of suicide and LGBTIQA+ youth.
Telethon Kids Institute Project Coordinator and intern supervisor Penelope Strauss said this was a difficult task, given that LGBTIQA+ suicide prevention is a relatively small and still emerging research field.
“These people will provide feedback on suicide prevention guidelines for LGBTIQA+ youth in clinical settings that the mental health team at Telethon Kids Institute is developing,” Ms Fitzgerald shared.
“It will make a huge difference to the lives of LGBTIQA+ young people who are at increased risk for suicide.
“The guidelines will outline the best practice methods to help these young people, where current standards are lacking.”
Ms Fitzgerald also completed a project to research and summarise various methods used to measure gender dysphoria in young people – which will soon be published.
“This will be a useful source for researchers and clinicians, providing an overview of the gender-related measures and their strengths and limitations, allowing them to choose the best measure for their purposes,” she said.
Ms Strauss said Ms Fitzgerald demonstrated “exceptional research skills and writing capabilities” in contributing to the two projects.
“The main outcome of her work will be the eventual publication of her academic paper on gender measures,” she said.
“All McCusker Centre interns that have been with our team have provided invaluable help to our projects and have been a pleasure to have around.”
Ms Fitzgerald said the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship was “an amazing experience”.
“It was so rewarding being part of such a great team and gaining experience in an office environment,” she said.
“I was invited to different talks, a stakeholder engagement meeting, and initial consultations as well as completing my own work.
“This experience has broadened my perspective and has increased my belief in my abilities. It has made me excited for future possibilities as I can confidently apply to roles where I need to work autonomously and in a team.”