The opportunity to co-author a professional research publication with the Telethon Kids Institute would just be a dream for most undergraduate Bachelor of Science students.
For University of WA international student Yanyu Chen, it became a reality.
The Crawley resident recently completed her McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship with the Telethon Kids Institute.
While she contributed to multiple research projects on youth mental health during the internship, Ms Chen’s main project was assisting with a major review on the effectiveness of positive psychology interventions in helping children and young people with chronic illness.
“My internship at the Telethon Kids Institute was all about helping kids and teenagers, and I became very interested in how researchers can directly contribute to society.
“I learned about the process of doing research, from brainstorming to finalising the scope, splitting up the workload and finally, coming up with the paper,” she said.
The 22-year-old will now be listed as an author on the resulting publication.
Ms Chen’s intern supervisor, Post-Doctoral Researcher Amy Finlay-Jones, has agreed to co-supervise her Honours thesis next year should UWA accept her application.
“Yanyu was an incredibly valuable member of our team and we hope to continue to work with her as she progresses in her studies,” Dr Finlay-Jones said.
“Her enthusiasm to learn also created opportunities for our team to learn by teaching her.
“She also made a positive impact to our team culture, teaching us about ways of working in her home country (China) and providing valuable insight into important areas of youth mental health research that have cross-cultural relevance.”
Ms Chen, who has continued to volunteer at the Institute since her internship finished in May, said her internship experience helped clarify her future career plans.
“I would like to pursue further studies in a related field,” she said.
“Luckily, my supervisor at Telethon Kids Institute is willing to be my academic supervisor, and I hope one day I could work at the Institute as a certificated researcher.
“The journey I am taking at the Telethon Kids Institute promotes my goal and my passion. I now see what I can contribute to the community, and to the world.”
Before her internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, Ms Chen said her understanding of the concepts of ‘community’ and ‘active citizenship’ was “just empty talks”.
“I have been volunteering actively both in Australia and in China, but truth be told, all I have given back to the society was mostly just physical efforts, such as selling flowers or books for a donation drive or charity bazaar,” she said.
“The internship opportunity provided by the McCusker Centre for Citizenship changed my life.
“What you can learn from the organisation you intern for is not only professional knowledge, but also the way you see and think about the world. I would tell any UWA student to just apply, seize the opportunity and be prepared to have a wonderful journey.”