Reflections from our Melbourne Law School intern: Penny Qin

Thursday 16 May, 2024

Penny Qin is our latest intern through the Melbourne Law School Public Interest Law Initiative Internship Program, which allows law students to apply their knowledge practically, while making important contributions to our work for subject credit.

Why did you want to do an internship at the McCabe Centre?

I studied biomedicine in my undergraduate degree and am very interested how the law interplays with the field of medicine. The McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer offered a unique opportunity to engage in the prevention and control of cancer and other non-communicable diseases from a legal standpoint both domestically and on an international level. The internship also allowed me to gain insight into how law can make tangible differences in global health outcomes, and I was extremely impressed by the McCabe Centre’s International Legal Training Program. 

What kind of things did you do during your internship?

I was fortunate to be able to work with both the prevention and treatment and supportive care teams, and worked on a wide range of tasks that helped me gain a real appreciation for the complexity of the intersection between law and health, as well as its significance. Additionally, I was able to sit in for many meetings, which was incredibly interesting and helped me grasp a broader sense of health law.

My work has included legal research on the impact of digital food marketing on children, the field of disability discrimination in Australia in relation to cancer and reviewing the WTO meeting minutes from the perspective of NCD prevention and alcohol. One of my major tasks has been on the organisational and institutional positions on voluntary assisted dying in Australia since its legalisation. I undertook extensive research with the help of the team on relevant literature and organisation positions through this task.

What was the most interesting or surprising thing you learned?

I found the McCabe Centre’s International Legal Training Program to be very interesting. The program made real differences in the field of public health, for example, many individuals who attend the training program would go on to develop relevant laws and policies upon returning to their respective countries. The McCabe Centre consistently follows up on individuals who attend the program and provide assistance as needed, which I was very impressed by.

What do you hope to do in future?

As a second-year Juris Doctor student, I am yet to develop concrete plans for what I will do after graduating. However, following my experiences at McCabe, I have realised that I genuinely enjoy working in the field of health law, so I hope that I will be able to work in a similar area in the future. I am also interested in commercial and IP law and hope to have the opportunity to work in these fields as well.

How do you think an internship will help you with your future study/work paths?

This internship has helped me gain a practical understanding of what legal practice is like beyond what is taught in university, especially in the field of international and health law. For me, it has helped me understand what kind of work I enjoy, and what field of law I might like to go into in the future.

The experience of working in a professional environment has also given me an opportunity to develop professionally, and I have loved coming into the office to work with such a wonderful team. I have been able to meet such amazing people, and I believe that the experience that I have gained has been invaluable.


Internships at the McCabe Centre are organised through our formal collaboration with Melbourne Law School. Students from Melbourne Law School interested in applying for an internship with the McCabe Centre can find more information about the opportunity here.

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