Generous donations from Swinburne’s alumni community has allowed alumna Liz Rodriguez to follow her dreams and attend an international humanitarian symposium, thanks to a Swinburne Alumni Travel Scholarship.
Graduating from her International Business course at the end of 2013, Liz’s interest in humanitarian affairs developed while she was studying at Swinburne.
“My background was in Business-to-Business marketing, but once I was a student again and began volunteering in the not-for-profit sector I developed a real desire to work in a job that would let me have a positive impact on people’s lives.”
Departing for Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh this week, where the week-long Humanitarian Affairs University Scholars Leadership Symposium is being held, Liz will lead a group of four Swinburne students, who have been funded to attend the symposium through the Swinburne Students Amenities Association.
Liz said that she was looking forward to the opportunity to join 1000 other like-minded youth at who were also interested in humanitarian affairs.
“I’m really passionate about advocating for individuals without a voice, as well as motivating people around me to take action about issues that matter to them,” Liz comments. “That’s why I was so thrilled to find out that I had received the Swinburne Alumni Travel award. Without this award, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to make the trip overseas.”
Liz said that attending the Cambodian symposium would allow her to forge meaningful connections with NGO’s, humanitarian leaders and other not-for-profit organisations with an interest in humanitarian affairs.
“Over the course of the week I will get the opportunity to meet influential people, who will be able to inspire me with ways to further my career and also help those around me.”
After attending the symposium, Liz and the four Swinburne students will visit the village of Mayibue in Kampot, Cambodia where they will be able to see the community arts centre that seven Swinburne carpentry students built earlier this year, after receiving a Federal government AsiaBound grant.
Liz’s interest in having a positive impact on people’s lives was further sparked when she was named Humanitarian Affairs Youth Ambassador in 2013, after attending the Humanitarian Affairs Symposium in Manila.
As part of her role as a Youth Ambassador, Liz is co-ordinating a Youth Humanitarian Symposium which will be held at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus in September this year.
“We’re expecting around 300 people to be at the Youth Humanitarian Symposium later this year, which I’m really excited about.
“Throughout the four day program there will be a range of workshops, panel discussions and fundraising events that will all help to increase young people’s awareness of social issues, while also empowering them with the desire and tools to make sustainable changes at both local and international levels.
“It means a lot to me to receive the Swinburne Alumni Travel Award and I’m looking forward to representing Swinburne at an international level over the next week and in the years to come.”
Swinburne Alumni Travel Scholarship allows a graduate under 35 years of age to attend a significant career impacting international event, such as a conference or research activity.
This article originally appeared on Swinburne's Alumni Tumblr page.