Cindy Tran is a third year student studying the Bachelor of Applied Public Health at the ACU Melbourne campus.
An important component of the course is the second year community engagement unit. Students complete at least 80 hours of volunteer public health work in the community.
After contacting a range of potential organisations to volunteer with, Cindy says she was fortunate enough to come across Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC). The organisation aims to empower people with disabilities from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.
“After meeting them for the first time, I was given fieldwork in one of their programs called ArtAbility; a program that provides art based workshops that try to nurture creativity and build on skills.
“Having just started on their pilot workshop for Vietnamese children with autism, I was the perfect addition to their team as my proficiency in Vietnamese was something they needed. I was able to assist the facilitators in running workshops and interpreting for carers.
“As they realised my skills, I provided assistance in creating and translating an evaluation tool that was to be used to assess the workshop as requested by Carers Victoria.”
When the workshops came to an end, Cindy began working on planning ADEC’s annual ArtAbility exhibition, to be held at Federation Square and viewed by some 40,000 members of the public.
Last October (2014) Cindy was given the opportunity, with the help of Public Health lecturer Penny Smith, to submit and present her work for the Creating Futures Conference to be held in Cairns in May 2015.
Cindy says, “despite a bit of nerves and anxiety about the upcoming conference, I’m quite excited about the opportunity to be able to present my first ever poster.
“Whilst I’m elated to be given such an amazing opportunity, I’m also quite embarrassed to be in the same space as some incredible people - who are leaders in Public Health across the world and have been able to achieve remarkable things. It will definitely be a once in a lifetime experience and I am hoping to be able to learn as much as I can through the conference.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunities given to me whilst studying at ACU. It has given me a platform to enhance my skills and build my knowledge.”