News Item

Summer Intern dreams of reducing the impact of natural disasters

News 12 Jan 2018

With the population of the Pacific increasing and the rise of urbanisation, more people are at risk of being impacted by a natural disaster in the region.

Growing up in Vanuatu, Ricardo William is no stranger to the devastation Mother Nature can cause at will, and this has inspired him to take action to help his people.

The New Zealand Pacific Scholarship recipient is studying, a Bachelor of Science (Earth Science) at Palmerston North’s Massey University, motivated to help people throughout the Pacific know what they can do during a natural disaster or major natural event such as earthquakes or a volcanic eruption.

A high achiever and dedicated student, Ricardo has been selected to take part in the 10-week Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) 2017-18 Summer Internship, which started in November.

He is one of two scholars being hosted by The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Geoscience Information team, based in Wellington for the internship, and he is joined by University of Canterbury student Ebony-Jean Taavila.

Ebony, from Samoa, is also studying a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Geography.

Ricardo says he applied for the Summer Internship, now in its third year, to learn how to work in a professional environment.

“The Summer Internship is a good initiative for scholars from the region, because you experience life in the workforce, in New Zealand,” Ricardo says.

It is an exceptional opportunity for scholars to gain experience in NZ, which can benefit them and people in their home country when they return, he adds.

Scholars who part of the NZ Pacific Scholarship scheme are bonded to their home country for two years, following the end of the studies.

During his 10-weeks with the Geoscience Information team, Ricardo is being mentored by Senior Data Geologist (NZ Petroleum and Minerals) Ian Dalla-Torre, and other members in the team.

Now half-way through the internship, Ricardo says he has been learning and observing as much as he possibly can from the team before his internship concludes in February.

“My work at MBIE is mainly sorting geological maps as part of a project the team is working on.

“I have already learnt so much about petroleum and mineral industries, more than what my studies cover, and it has broadened my understanding further.”

While there have been tests and challenges, Ricardo says the team has been very helpful, helping the interns to solve any issue they may have.

With one year of study remaining, Ricardo says when he graduates from university, he would like to return to Vanuatu to implement what he has learnt during his degree and this Summer Internship, to ensure awareness and safety among his people.

Visit PCF for more information about the Summer Internship initiative.

(Picture caption: Ricardo with the Geoscience Information team at MBIE.)