“I was intrigued by the topic – it’s completely different to anything I’ve been involved with before.”

“I was intrigued by the topic – it’s completely different to anything I’ve been involved with before.”

Kang Tam, 22, didn’t so much step out of his comfort zone as bravely leap from it.

The fourth-year environmental science student, who knows his way around a laboratory, might have been expected to choose an internship project with a strong scientific bent.

But something about ConnectGroups – a group that supports support groups (yep, you read that right) – piqued his interest.

“I was intrigued by the topic – it’s completely different to anything I’ve been involved with before,” Kang explains.

“Plus, lab work is great but you’re really just helping out a researcher, not necessarily giving back to the community in a broader sense.

“What I liked about ConnectGroups is that it’s effectively helping lots of other groups across lots of different areas – support groups of all kinds. So I thought I would put myself out there and try something different.”

What also intrigued Kang was the specific project he would be working on: the development of a book resource to better engage men in accessing support groups.

“Men aren’t well represented when it comes to seeking advice and support about issues – they’re the support group underdog and they need to engage more.

“It wasn’t something I’d thought about before, but I quickly came to understand the challenges involved in getting men to reach out and talk.” As it turned out, Kang’s scientific background proved helpful on the project. “I brought to the project an ability to read through scientific literature and turn this into helpful information for the book,” he says.

So invested is Kang in the book, to be launched in September, that he has continued to work on it beyond the completion of his McCusker internship.

“It’s a small team there and they were just so welcoming of me and so friendly that I’m happy to continue – I didn’t expect to feel so welcomed,” he says.

Kang says he recommends the McCusker internship to other students. “I’ve picked up so many transferable skills and I enjoyed it more than I thought it would – it’s been a highly enriching experience.”

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