UWA student Ruben Droogmans has contributed 100 hours towards a new youth education initiative that seeks to strengthen opportunities for school students in the Peel region to follow careers in science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM).
Ruben completed the internship through UWA’s McCusker Centre for Citizenship with a role at Regional Development Australia Peel, a network of Peel-based leaders who strive to support the development of the Peel region.
For Ruben, a Peel resident based in Halls Head, the internship project struck close to home.
“The opportunity to give back to the community was a big factor for me, especially if it meant I could make a difference,” said Ruben.
Ruben, who is studying a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Business Law and Mathematics & Statistics, drew on his STEM expertise to support the Peel Bright Minds Trail Blazers Program, a 6-month science engagement and youth development initiative that aims to ignite and promote young people’s passion for learning in the areas of STEM.
“Ruben had a strong realisation that the work he was doing would be most beneficial to the young people of the region having career aspirations in STEM,” said internship supervisor and Director of Regional Development, John Lambrecht.
Ruben’s role saw him develop a comprehensive evaluation model for the Trail Blazers program, which is running its inaugural summer camp this month, which will allow the Peel Bright Minds team to demonstrate the impact of the program and seek critical funding and advocacy.
“My personal highlight was my final presentation and cumulation of all my work throughout the semester. I could clearly demonstrate what my 100 hours created and watch it make a social impact,” said Ruben.
The opportunity has reinforced Ruben’s passion for STEM education, especially in regional towns.
“It really opened me up to the discrepancy between opportunities presented in Peel region and Perth areas. What seems normal for some Perth students isn’t even a possibility for some students in the Peel region,” he said.
The Peel team was extremely impressed with Ruben’s contributions, commending his professionalism, drive and passion.
“Being a resident of the Peel region and a recent participant in STEM education here he was able to apply his personal experiences to the project, developing a deep personal investment in it,” said Mr Lambrecht
Ruben says his McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship was an “amazing experience” and he recommends it to other students.
“I was exposed to an amazing network of other interns and a great workplace, which is something I believe many students can greatly benefit from,” said Ruben.