The University of Newcastle, Australia

Meet Helena Qian

Miss Helena QianHelena Qian


Why did you join the University Council?

"People's participation is the essence of good governance." - Narendra Modi

An integral part of tertiary education is the student experience. Having represented undergraduate students on numerous UoN committees my vision is for a robust and unified student voice to optimise the student experience, not just at the executive level but at the committee level too. Specifically, my priorities centre on increasing the visibility and representation of diverse cohorts such as distance education, mature age and Indigenous students, and advocating for student interests as they arise.

What do you look back on most fondly when it comes to your own education?

My time at the University of Newcastle has been a personal journey of growth both professionally and interpersonally. I am immensely grateful for my peers, educators and the vibrant wider community. My fondest memories revolve around the medical electives I undertook in Nepal, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. They were intensely eye opening, humbling and inspiring. The bravery and strength of the healthcare workers in the face of workforce and resource shortage was compounded by the resilience of the community and the kindness of people to one another. Definitely one of my most life-changing, authentic and memorable experiences.


With a penchant for keeping busy, Helena Qian is a Bachelor of Medicine and Diploma in Languages student with a passion for global health, meaningful youth engagement and effective altruism. True to her life motto, ‘actions not words’, Helena consistently balances numerous commitments with highlights among her volunteering and leadership roles including facilitating national and international student opportunities for the Australian Medical Students Association (AMSA) as AMSA Global Health Chair and representing Australia at numerous international meetings including the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women, UN High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, the 70th WHO Western Pacific Regional Meeting and the 2017 Internet Governance Forum.

Her dedication to transfer of skill and youth empowerment has been demonstrated through her organisation of two inaugural national conferences for junior doctors and medical students across Australia and New Zealand interested in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and she facilitates the Youth Opportunities Australia Fb group where young people can find funded opportunities, volunteering, events, scholarships and more.

All her endeavours share the themes of helping others to access opportunities for learning and growth or to raise awareness about social justice and health issues. Her interest in working with underserved communities include those in rural communities and neighbouring Western Pacific countries. She has undertaken overseas electives with the assistance of the New Colombo Plan, UoN Global Traveller Grant and iLead Travel Mobility Grant and hopes to work in the field of public health, obstetrics and gynaecology, and disaster medicine.

In 2020, Helena will be completing her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, finishing her John Flynn Scholarship Program, working with the World Vision youth advocacy team and has been selected as a Ma and Morley Scholar. She also hopes to master the kitchen and overcome her fear of reverse parking. Her other interests include hiking, listening to podcasts, producing textbooks and philosophy.