Summer Schools program comes full circle as Ben Lange joins EAA board Body:
Studies: Electrical engineering, The University of New South Wales
Title: Summer school
As a young and enthusiastic teenager I travelled from the Northern Beaches of Cairns in 1999 to attend a week-long Indigenous Australia Engineering Summer School (IAESS) in Sydney. Little did I realise, but I was taking the first steps in a journey that was to have a profound effect on my life.
I found the Summer School – which was organised and funded by Engineering Aid Australia (EAA) and held at The University of New South Wales – to be a highly informative, enjoyable and eye-opening experience. It gave me the drive and confidence to do well in my Higher School Certificate and set the goal of returning to Sydney to study electrical engineering.
It took me five years to achieve that goal and in 2004 I graduated from The University of NSW as an electrical engineer – the first Indigenous engineering student to do so at that institution.
I currently hold the position of incident response manager with the Ausgrid system control team. When, in 2014, I accepted a seat on the Board of EAA alongside John Carter, Jeff McMullen, Annabel Killen, Larissa Andrews, Peter Berry, John McKillop, Catherine Pooley, Anne Vans-Colina and CEO of Arcadis Australia Pacific and EAA Board Chairman Greg Steele, I felt that I had come full circle.
I regard the EAA program as an awesome opportunity for Indigenous youth to witness and find out more about what options are available to them at university, in terms of engineering, and the program only gets better every year. I’d love to see more Indigenous students forge careers in the field of engineering, with the ultimate objective of being able to take control of infrastructure works that are taking place in our communities.
As an alumnus, I believe that I can best contribute to the EAA program by mentoring the Indigenous students that are now coming through it. My intention is to play a role in fostering communications between IAESS graduates and the EAA Board.