Western Chances scholarship recipient Lien To spent a week in July, 2016, at the Spark Engineering Camp which is run by young people through Youth Without Borders. Here, she shares her experience of university life and the opportunity to explore her dream of becoming an engineer.
“For as long as I can remember, my passion has always been for wonders of science, especially chemistry and astronomy,” says Lien.
Lien is 16 years old and currently completing Year 11 at Gilmore College for Girls. Lien received her first scholarship from Western Chances in 2015 for her academic prowess. Lien is also a talented artist and musician.
Earlier this year, Lien found out about the Spark Engineering Camp through Western Chances’ Program Manager Anne Connors, and applied to take part.
“I must admit that I was initially quite hesitant about attending because of the timing, and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. However, after the first day, my uncertainties quickly abated.”
The Spark Engineering Camp takes students from non-traditional backgrounds and gives them an immersive experience in university life, and a taste of what engineering might be like as a career. Students stay at a residential college on the University of Melbourne campus for a week, taking part in a variety of activities while there.
“For an entire week, I was surrounded by such an amazing group of inspiring people.
“By the end of the camp, so many valuable memories and experiences were shared among us all. University is no longer a distant adventure, but a familiar journey in my near future. I've become a stronger person by meeting new people, and learning valuable life skills.”
For Western Chances, it’s important that students receive more than just financial support. Experiences like the Spark Engineering Camp and our other Links Program, offer opportunities to students to build their networks, their skills and their confidence.
A few years ago, education expert Dr. James Hurley evaluated Western Chances and found that one of the keys to our success was the ability to promote self-confidence, esteem, motivation and pride.
This is something that Lien’s experience at Spark Engineering Camp proves.
“It [the camp] has made me recognise my own potential and just how important it is to leave my mark on the world,” says Lien.
“Nowadays, we all speak of changing the world for a better place, but none of us are willing to change ourselves first. Through engineering I’ve had a small glimpse of the boundless possibilities of things that we can do that will transform the future.”
While Lien is reticent to think too far into the future, she believes that Spark has refocussed her energies on making the most of her final year of school.
“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Spark Engineering Camp and Western Chances for giving me this incredible opportunity. I know that this is the first of many more great experiences to come!”
Image courtesy Lien To
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