Lucy Strickland

For over 20 years, humanitarian aid worker Lucy Strickland has assisted organisations such as CARE International, Oxfam and UNHCR, providing aid and assistance to children and communities. It's a job that has taken her to more than 20 countries, through the conflict zones of South Sudan and Northern Iraq, and natural disaster recovery in Haiti after the earthquake and Ethiopia after drought.

She is fluent in Vietnamese and Khmer, and proficient in French, Spanish and Arabic.

Following her years at St Aidan's, Lucy completed a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics through The University of Queensland, a Masters in Humanitarian and Development Practice in the UK, and Certifications in Humanitarian Security and in English as a Second Language.

"I help to set up safe and protective spaces in which children, who are often completely traumatised through the often horrific experiences they've had to endure, are fed, have access to play, learning, clean water, psychosocial support and a network of peers which often serves as an important lifeline of support for these children," says Lucy.

"I do my work in complete collaboration with affected communities - although it's important to ensure these people have access to their basic needs - it's as important to help facilitate their recovery as quickly as possible. This is not a 9-5 job - it's all consuming and it's hard to ever leave."

Attending St Aidan's from Years 7 to 12, Lucy attributes her confidence in her chosen career path to freedom to pursue her sense of self during school.

"St Aidan's is a school that was never just about boosting its academic profile or its reputation in sport. It tried to encourage a much more holistic understanding and appreciation of its students, that went way beyond pockets on a blazer or trophies on a shelf.

"At school, I knew I loved language, had a thirst for travel, and to some degree was resisting convention. There's nothing wrong with convention, however for me I was searching for something 'other'.

I didn't understand the world of INGOs, or humanitarianism at the time. It took a few years to understand what it meant, and what it looked like in practice.

"My advice to current students is to live fearlessly - because you can do it - but to also consider those around you, be kind, enable others, don't squash them or assume they know nothing."