Nina Balla

Social Science
Winter 2017

It is difficult to capture my experience via the Aurora Internship Program at the Aurora Education Foundation (AEF) in such brief words, because it was truly eventful. The people, the work, and the internal and external environment of the office all contributed to a valuable learning experience.

My first week was of course daunting, however, the Aurora staff were friendly and helped me settle in and feel comfortable. My colleagues and supervisors were not only kind and patient, but were always willing to help me when I was in need of something to do, or I didn’t understand how to perform a particular task.

MMy work was always varied and interesting. The tasks I was given also an element of creative input and self-directedness. For instance, I was given the task of creating marketing recommendations based on an audit I conducted of the AEF Newsletter, which allowed me to apply my knowledge and skills. My tasks were also always clearly mapped out for me, and I was always given a reasonable timeframe to complete my work.

Having been placed in the Digital Innovation and Scholarship team, my main task was to update scholarship listings on the newly created Indigenous Scholarships Portal. During this process I learnt a lot about the importance of making scholarships readily available and accessible to Indigenous students. My other main tasks over the 5 weeks included; writing an article for the AEF Newsletter, replying to enquiries about scholarships, working on the social media policy and strategy, selecting suitable online articles for the newsletter and social media, and completing other minor tasks for my supervisor or other managers. Having a mix of creative tasks and tasks such as data input kept me constantly motivated and interested.

Furthermore, considering I was merely an intern, I was given the opportunity to contribute in meetings within the Digital Innovation and Scholarships team. This not only helped me to think creatively and innovatively, but made me feel like a valuable part of the organisation. My supervisor generously gave me the opportunity to sit in on two webinars by ProBono Australia, that were both valuable to the organisation and to my own personal learning. I was so grateful to have received such innovative knowledge about the non-for-profit sphere. 

However, the best part of my internship was working for such a worthy cause. In this society, education really is the foundation for gaining access to valued resources in society and can increase individual confidence and self-worth. Being a part of a foundation that is clearly producing notable results in the Indigenous education sector was really exciting. I was exposed to the intricate workings of an organisation with many entities working on different tasks, but overall contributing to increasing positive educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. I now understand the significance of creating programs that target individuals at primary school, high school and at a tertiary level, to increase future prosperity. The impact of scholarships also become very apparent, particularly after reading the inspirational stories from past scholarship recipients.

Overall, I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to work for such a meaningful cause in a fantastic organisation. Not only can I take away numerous skills from this experience, but hopefully I have been able to make a positive contribution to the organisation, and simply knowing this is highly fulfilling.