Stephanie Markey

Health Science
Health/Medical Services
Winter 2020


In the midst of an unprecedented pandemic – COVID19, the Aurora Internship Program granted me an opportunity to complete a four-week internship with Weenthunga Health Network. Because of the pandemic and interstate restrictions, I was required to work-from-home and do my internship virtually, but nonetheless it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. Weenthunga Health Network is dedicated to the contribution of health equity for First Nations people in Victoria. Weenthunga means “to hear/to understand” in Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people. As an Aboriginal Health & Wellbeing student, I found that my placement with Weenthunga aligned with my postgraduate aspirations in research studies on Aboriginal health.  

When I first started, I spent some time creating relationships with the team (more importantly with my supervisor), I found this to be really pivotal to my internship as it would be the key to getting the most out of my next four weeks. Over the four weeks I completed a variety of tasks, this included curating a Cultural Safety content page on VAHEN with resources and links for students to find more information. I also assisted my supervisor in researching health promotions on global eye health in Indigenous children, put together a resource kit for young Aboriginal health students and complied some journal articles on Aboriginal SEWB and cultural safety. Weenthunga even held virtual movie nights circulating the theme of National Reconciliation Week – watching influential films like In My Blood It Runs and The Australian Dream, I was fortunate enough to join them in the crucial discussions surrounding these films and what it means for future change in our society.  

One of the best things about interning for Weenthunga was the culturally empowering environment it provided, they did this by ensuring that First Nations women, whether they are studying or working in health sectors, are equipped with support, guidance, empowerment and encouraged to continue practicing their culture wherever and whenever possible. I cannot think of a better environment to be in than that strengthen my personal, cultural and academic growth.  

Something I like to take away from the internship is the amount of knowledge, skill, values and confidence that has continued to increase over the four weeks – doing this internship has opened my eyes to a lot of prospective studies and career opportunities. The values that are instilled in the roots of Weenthunga is the 4 R’s (respect, relationship, reciprocity & responsibility), so by embedding these specific values along with my key values in every aspect of my life – personal, cultural and academic, it keeps me grounded. Being reassured by my supervisor and the team at Weenthunga has boosted my self-esteem, confidence and determination in leading myself to my next destination.   

The team at Weenthunga, especially my supervisor Sam who has become a sister and role model to me in many ways, have been tremendously supportive and without their vibrant personalities and leadership, this internship would have not made such a profound impact on me and my studies. I cannot wait to see what prosperity Weenthunga Health Network brings in their future endeavours. I believe that it goes a long way to have people behind you cheering you on as you progress throughout your own journey, so words cannot describe how grateful I am to have the entire team supporting me. I also want to thank Kim, Taylor and Ashanti for making my internship run smoothly, giving me support and checking in on me weekly, you guys are deadly! 

If you want a life-rewarding experience you won’t be disappointed, take a chance and fill out an application – applications for the summer 2020/21 round are open from Monday 10 August and closes Friday 28 August 5pm AEST. For more information visit the website and https://auro...