Recently, Beacon received two photos of an old Beacon brooch and a Student Ambassador Award from Selena Wang. Selena Wang is today a consultant at Ernst & Young and had just signed up for the first time as a MyRoad mentor volunteer through her work.
Already in High School, Selena was part of an initiative called the Beacon Ambassador program which helped young people build leadership skills. She also participated in our work-readiness workshops, High Impact Programs (HIP). She shared the impact the programs had had on her and said they had been “valuable for my personal development”. Intrigued, we asked if Selena would take the time to meet (virtually!) to tell her story and what it was like to now find herself on the other side, as a mentor in MyRoad.
Hi Selena, you’re now a MyRoad mentor, how come you decided to volunteer with Beacon Foundation?
I wanted to volunteer with the Beacon Foundation because I wanted to give back. I had myself participated in Beacon programs when I was a student at my old high school. I’m lucky too because I can volunteer during work hours as part of our employee engagement program.
I am a mentor on an all-girls robotics team in which we build a 50kg robot every summer that participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition. I also volunteer with the FIRST Lego League each year as a judge or referee. Additionally, I volunteer with Youth Without Borders, a youth-led non-for-profit organisation. In the past, I have mainly supported the Spark Engineering Camp initiative in a managing capacity. I am currently serving as a board member in the organisation.
Beacon Foundation focus on supporting youth transition from education to employment, why is this important for you to support?
When you transition from education to employment, there is a change from one environment to another and a shift in mindset is often required. In high school, the teachers will remind us about handing in homework. At university, the reminders are less frequent and by the time you enter the workforce the responsibility to deliver is left to you. We are now essentially in charge of our own career. Giving students the opportunity to participate in programs like MyRoad and to learn from professionals to gain new perspectives is one piece of the puzzle to help students prepare for their future.
After being a mentor at MyRoad, was there anything the students said that made an impact on you?
There was one section of the program where we talked about resilience. I was quite impressed by the students who shared stories about their personal experiences of displaying resilience and how they have tackled challenges they may have faced. It gave me confidence they will be able to continue to show resilience in their chosen studies and careers.
What would you say to others who are considering volunteering but may not have made up their mind just yet?
Do it! I would highly recommend volunteering, it’s a worthwhile and rewarding experience. You are sharing valuable knowledge with students who are very interested in what you have to say and would appreciate the insights from a conversation with a working professional.
The MyRoad mentor program is run online and gives students an opportunity to talk directly with an industry mentor. Close to 1000 trained mentors (all volunteers) from diverse industries and backgrounds are matched with students from schools across Australia where they meet in a supervised online environment. Mentors guide students through a set of 6 structured modules, all aligned to the Australian Curriculum for General Capabilities and Work Studies. In response to COVID-19 lockdowns, students can now also participate in MyRoad from home once a school has made a booking.