MUN grads are heading overseas to help
By David Sorensen
Several recent graduates, including Craig Collins, who now works with the Faculty of Engineering, are heading to developing countries to help with information technology projects.
Craig Collins is heading to Papua New Guinea as a volunteer with CUSO. (Photo by Chris Hammond)
They are all taking part in CUSO’s NetCorps program, a youth internship program that provides information and communications technology expertise to developing countries.
Craig Collins, 26, graduated from Memorial in 2000. A major in computer science and math minor, Mr. Collins started working with engineering’s Centre for Computer-Aided Engineering (CCAE) shortly after graduating. However, like many young people, he had the urge to make a contribution to society, and to travel.
“I was always interested in international development issues but I never knew how I could help,” he said. “When I saw the NetCorps program, it seemed kind of perfect.”
Mr. Collins had no prior involvement with CUSO, but when he saw a display on NetCorps at an information fair sponsored by CUSO, his curiosity was piqued.
“It seemed perfect for me because I had decided I wanted to go away for a year and I can’t really afford to go travel around so I might as well do something useful.”
In September, Mr. Collins will head to Papua New Guinea where he will serve as IT support officer. “I’m going to be working from the CUSO office over there, helping local NGOs and community groups.”
First, he’ll attend a training program for all the NetCorps people before heading overseas in September. He’ll be there six months, after which he plans to travel and return next summer.
“I’ve never travelled overseas, he explained. “I can’t wait to go.”
While this is a volunteer program, he will receive a living allowance and have his flight paid for, although he was required to raise part of the cost. His union, CUPE local 1615, is providing some funding, as is the City of St. John’s.
Also taking part in the program are MUN alumnus Cerith Wong, going to Laos, and Jodie Baker, going to Jamaica.
CUSO is a Canadian-based international development organization and one of the leading volunteer-sending organizations in the country. For more on CUSO’s NetCorps program, see www.netcorps-cyberjeunes.org/english/main_e.htm.