Graduates of the arts and social sciences go on to shape the future of world and local society by catalyzing social, economic, and cultural development in varied and innovative ways. Check out what FASS students are doing now, and what they've got their sights set on doing next.
Qualifications: BA (Screen and Media Studies)
Currently: Writer, Comedian, Director, Self-employed
Qualifications: Bachelor of Social Work
Currently: Social Worker, Child, Youth and Family
Since a young age, Shannon had wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, so she chose to study a Bachelor of Social Work.
“My older sister studied at Waikato, and I knew I could live in Tauranga and do my Bachelor of Social Work while continuing to work and remain close to my family,” says Shannon.
“I had initially intended going to Hamilton, then I discovered the course was only offered in Tauranga and I was amazed at the convenience.”
One of the electives Shannon chose was cultural psychology, which she says was her favourite elective.
“I also did a human development paper that focused on ageing in an ageing society, which is relevant to life today in Aotearoa. I chose these subjects because in an ever-changing society, I wanted to broaden my scope around the people I’d be working with in the future. These subjects help me question my way of thinking and question society’s structures, enabling me to think critically.”
Shannon says her degree has helped her understand the views of others, and work alongside people from different backgrounds in diverse life situations.
Shannon is now a Care and Protection Social Worker at Child, Youth and Family. She works with children up to the age of 17 who are at risk and in need of care and protection. She also works with families who struggle in different areas of life who need help to ensure the safety of their children.
Her advice to anyone considering studying at Waikato is “get in and do it”.
“The University of Waikato is a great and supportive community that ensures that you reach your potential.”
Qualifications: BA (English and Screen and Media Studies)
Currently: Lecturer, Media Design School, Auckland
A double English/Screen and Media Studies major was a good springboard into a design career for Jordan. He's a creative type and once he'd done his Bachelor of Arts, decided to stick around and do his masters.
"Screen and media was great, because the course allowed me to pursue theory and practical in film, music, media and animation, things that aligned well with my personal interests and allowed me to explore ideas across a range of different contexts."
Jordan was awarded two scholarships to help finance his masters study and he also worked as a tutor and video production technician while he was studying. "The tutoring proved to be extremely beneficial, giving me teaching experience which helped me to get the job I'm doing now."
"University, and particularly my masters study, directly relates to what I'm doing now. Besides all the content, university taught me how to learn, and how to conceptualise and articulate ideas."
Jordan's job involves teaching a range of things, such as film studies and game theory, doing research supervision, and taking some practical classes such as 2D game development.
"My experience at Waikato was a good one, and I try to make my students' experiences good too. I try to work closely with them, get involved and invest in their ideas and projects. That's incredibly important to me."
Jordan says if you're going to study, then make sure it's something you're passionate about. "Don't do it for the sake of it or to tick a box. I wouldn't have stayed around if I wasn't captivated by everything I was learning."
Qualifications: BSocSc with Honours (Political Science and Public Policy)
Currently: Policy Analyst, Ministry for the Environment, Wellington
Growing up in South Africa during the transition from apartheid to democracy contributed to Graeme’s fascination with government and politics and led him to want to study public policy.
“I chose Waikato as the political science and public policy department has a good reputation, and I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere in Hamilton.”
Graeme completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Political Science and Chinese and then went on to do his Honours in Public Policy. He has also just completed his PhD thesis on Public Policy in South Africa.
Now working as a Policy Analyst for the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), Graeme credits his career success to his studies.
“My studies gave me the basic research and analysis skills necessary for this job. In addition, while assisting Professor Priya Kurian and Professor Debashish Munshi with their Marsden-funded study of sustainable citizenship in New Zealand, I gained some of the contacts and experience which proved useful in getting this particular job at the MfE.”
As a policy analyst, Graeme helps in the retrieval and analysis of information necessary to help shape the Minister for the Environment’s decisions on environmental policy.
“My main duties involve desk-based research, liaising with colleagues in this Ministry and other Government bodies, and the creation of policy documents. A typical day will involve lots of meetings, a lot of reading and analysis, and the creation of various policy documents.”
Qualifications: BMCT (Design Media and Screen and Media Studies)
Currently: Freelance Designer,
When Kate Barry heard about a new degree being offered at the University of Waikato, a Bachelor of Media and Creative Technologies, she knew she had found the perfect degree for her.
"There was no other degree in the country which offered the diversity and combination of skills that Waikato had."
"The Bachelor of Media and Creative Technology degree has significant computer design and creative practice components so that students are learning at the cutting edge of new technologies and are able to experience cross-disciplinary learning and research."
During her degree Kate has gained skills in computer science, graphic design, creative technologies, screen and media studies, as well as in music.
The interconnection between the departments of Computer Science, Graphic Design and Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Waikato, has been a key benefit of the degree for Kate. She also learned skills in web-design, 3D modelling and television production.
"We were pushed to really explore our talents," Kate says. "Music wasn't my strong point but I was able to learn the basics which really helped my film-based projects. The diversity offered is perfect for the industry I wanted to break into."
Kate currently works as a freelance designer but ultimately she is looking to become an interaction designer, a field that is itself diverse – from designing software for your cell phone to technology that has yet to be created.
"Because of the diversity of my skills I am able to apply for jobs throughout the creative industry, particularly graphic design, film and visual media positions."
Qualifications: PhD (Musical Composition)
Currently: Mozart Fellow, Otago University, Dunedin
Jeremy very nearly became a lawyer.
After finishing Hamilton Boys’ High School, Jeremy applied for a scholarship to study law – but never quite finished his application. “I had to write a one-page essay on why I wanted to become a lawyer. I tried to write the thing for two weeks – I couldn’t even make up a reason why I wanted to do it. So I decided to pursue something I was more passionate about”.
Just as well he did. Since beginning his Bachelor of Music in 2004, and later graduating with his PhD, Jeremy has amassed a serious amount of accolades as a performer and composer.
A Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, Jeremy was the Wallace Corporation Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year in both 2005 and 2011 and an inaugural winner of the Hillary Medal in 2006. Since 2014 he’s been the composer-in-residence at the University of Otago - a “dream position”, he says.
Stand-out moments from university for Jeremy are mostly ones where he was performing. “I’ve been lucky enough to have had my music performed by some excellent musicians. A highlight was my ‘Symphony No. 1’, which was the first orchestral symphony to include hip-hop turntablism, and it was played by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia”.
“Without my degree I wouldn’t have developed the skill-set or the portfolio of work required to take up a composer residency. Hopefully now that I’ve also completed my PhD, I’ll be able to move toward a future career at a tertiary institute as a lecturer where I can share my knowledge and continue working on my creative practice.”
Currently: Family Support Social Worker, Te Puke Commujnity Care Trust
It's quite a jump from duty manager at Mitre 10 to family support social worker, but that's what Kate Dooley has done.
To prepare herself for university study, Kate first completed a Certificate of Social Services at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, then progressed to degree study at the University of Waikato in Tauranga.
Her job involves working with individuals and their whānau to empower them to improve their lives.
"I have to be good at prioritising, be a good listener and problem solver, and do it in a sensitive, encouraging and professional manner," Kate says.
There is plenty of variety to her work and it's often unpredictable. "I meet with clients who may require anything from advice, to advocacy with WINZ, external referrals for things like addictions or legal support. It's a lot about liaison."
The Waikato Bachelor of Social Work programme requires students to do two 60-day work placements. Kate had one with Child Youth and Family, where she learnt a lot about how a statutory agency operates. The other was at the Te Puke Community Care, who are now her employer.
One of Kate's tutors told her that she should treat studying as a full-time job – good advice she says, "and I carried it with me, right through my study".
"I now have an internationally-recognised degree and I'm continuing to follow my passion. I want to get better all the time and one day I'd like to work in the social policy sector, where I can make change at a higher level of welfare, and even go on to work at a global level, perhaps in a third world country with an non-government organisation."
Qualifications: BA (Japanese)
Currently: Senior Market Development Manager, Education New Zealand, Japan
Fiona Haiko's last year at school was spent in Japan on a Rotary exchange, and that shaped her career.
She came to Waikato unsure whether to study sciences or languages, but after a year in the Bachelor of Science (Technology) programme, switched to a Bachelor of Arts and made Japanese her focus.
"I also did Politics as a supporting subject, and took Chinese. I was focussed on developing a career that would enable me to work internationally, with languages and international relations in particular."
While she was studying at Waikato, Fiona was awarded a Japanese Government Language and Culture scholarship to study for a year at one of Japan's top language universities. That really boosted her language skills, and with her Waikato BA complete, Fiona went on to graduate in Japan with a master's degree.
Now, based at the New Zealand embassy in Tokyo, Fiona is speaking Japanese every day as she promotes New Zealand education throughout Japan.
"I'm working with students, their families, schools and education agents and government officials. I keep people up to date with New Zealand's international education objectives, and also make sure that New Zealand institutions are aware of what's happening in Japanese education and what that market is seeking," says Fiona.
"Waikato gave me a good quality degree, and provided the foundation for me to build my career. Just as important, I enjoyed my years at Waikato and made some great friends."
Qualifications: PhD (Applied Linguistics)
Currently: Senior Lecturer, University of Technology MARA, Malaysia
Finding new ways to engage second language learners was a key focus of Jocelyn’s research when she was completing her PhD at the University of Waikato.
Now she is putting this research to good use as a Senior Lecturer teaching academic reading and writing courses at the University of Technology MARA in Malaysia.
“My research degree paved the way for me to explore new grounds which I am not familiar with.”
Completing a higher degree presented its fair share of challenges for Jocelyn, however she learnt to be resilient.
“When there seems to be no way, there is always a way when we persevere and don’t give up. I learned about myself and about academia – and a lot of it wasn’t what I anticipated.”
“In terms of skills, my three-year research project honed my lens – the way I perceive things. I am empowered to ask intelligent questions and make insightful comments. In other words, I have become more analytical in many ways – one of the most useful skills in doing a higher degree.”
For Jocelyn the research journey continues, as she is aspiring to become an active academic researcher and to publish more papers in scholarly journals.
Qualifications: BA (English and Geography)
Currently: Events Manager, Maxim Institute, Auckland
Being open-minded and willing to take on different challenges has seen Caroline Downey soar through her degree and into a job as Events Manager at the Maxim Institute in Auckland.
A Bachelor of Arts graduate, majoring in English and Geography, Caroline's finely-tuned attention to detail translates well into a job that's all about organisation.
"My role is to oversee the process of event construction, right through to event delivery, and all the elements in between," she says. "Every day is quite different and the days' tasks depend on where each event's progress is at."
Caroline says her study experience at the University of Waikato placed her in good stead for her first job.
"My study contributed significantly to the way in which I approach the world, people, and my work. I learnt to articulate my thoughts and ideas confidently, and to constantly explore and ask questions of my lecturers and classmates."
Caroline recommends getting involved as much as you can outside of the classroom. "Joining volunteer organisations or clubs while you study is a great way to build up your transferable skills."
At Waikato, Caroline was an active member of the University's football club, the ultimate frisbee club, and served as a student representative in many of her classes.
Qualifications: MSocSc (Public Policy)
Currently: Sessional Assistant/Tutor, University of Waikato, Hamilton
Prior to coming to Waikato, Megan was running her own business as a Career Consultant, she was also President of the Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ). It was the frequent policy focus of this role, along with a career spent in the public sector, that led her to want to study Public Policy.
“It was an area which I wanted to specialise in and to build onto my existing career interest and experience.”
For Megan, Waikato was the obvious choice as it was right on her doorstep. “I have previously undertaken extramural study and have found there is a lot of value in being able to attend classes in person. By attending Waikato, I have been able to develop valuable networks, engage with the material more readily through discussion, and take up many opportunities. Waikato also has a beautiful campus and a great student centre.”
A recipient of the FASS Masters Scholarship, University of Waikato Master Scholarship and the FASS Masters Writing Award, Megan has also had the opportunity to present at a number of conferences. These successive opportunities have led to her taking up a position as a Sessional Assistant tutoring a Political Science course while she looks to further her education.
“Waikato has offered me endless opportunities! I am currently applying to undertake a PhD. I have also had the opportunity to write journal articles in my areas of my research and I have become involved in advocating for cycling through my masters research, which has been interesting and rewarding. I am speaking at a Cycling Advocates Network conference in 2016.”
Qualifications: PhD (Applied Linguistics)
Currently: Senior Lecturer, University of Malaysia, Malaysia
Zuwati is an expert in the field of language assessment – a crucial issue for teachers, especially in her home country Malaysia.
“Language assessment is a really important area. Sadly, there aren’t many experts in the area – at least, not in Malaysia,” she says. But she’s committed to changing that. She’s currently leading a research project on school-based assessment with researchers from New Zealand and Malaysia under the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) from the Ministry of Education, Malaysia.
Before coming to the University of Waikato, Zuwati was an English language lecturer and English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher trainer at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur .
She arrived in Hamilton in 2007 as the recipient of a PhD scholarship from the University of Malaya and the Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education, choosing Waikato for its reputation and expertise in applied linguistics and education.
Her PhD research focused on ESL writing and formative assessment, and she says she gained a lot from the process. “Doing a PhD isn’t without its challenges. However, I learnt to overcome the challenges I encountered and to persevere when the going got tough.”
“I was able to work collaboratively with my supervisors – Associate Professor Roger Barnard and Dr Rosemary De Luca – both of whom continuously challenged and supported me during my study. Ever since thenwe have kept up strong academic links.”
Zuwati is proud to now work at one of the top-ranked universities in the world. In a day, she can go from teaching to researching, to supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Social Work
Currently: Social Worker, Tauranga Moana Night Shelter
Since age 14, Tracey knew the difference she wanted to make in the world. Raised in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, she was exposed to an environment where alcohol abuse and violence were a regular occurrence.
“That ugliness was normalised when I grew up. Our tamariki are the most vulnerable and I wanted to help break that cycle.”
A mother of five, Tracey began a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Waikato, in Tauranga. The Bachelor of Social Work is a professional qualification for anyone who wants to make a difference to people’s lives and create positive changes to society – a perfect fit for Tracey.
Balancing study with family was challenging, but Tracey says the most important thing was having the right support network, including Te Toka Māori Mentor support and a close circle of classmates.
“The lecturers were also incredibly supportive, they provide the time and attention. While we had grades to maintain they also understood we were human.”
After graduating with Honours, Tracey joined Tauranga Moana Night Shelter as a social worker. The centre is Tauranga’s first homeless shelter for men.
“My role is about connecting people with people and accessing resources for our most vulnerable. We advocate for those who don’t have a voice.”
She clearly loves her job, but is keen to emphasize the importance of her team and the difference they are all helping make. The shelter has successfully rehoused 15 men since it was established last year. Tracey is now considering postgraduate study in mental health and addictions.
“For me, education was freedom, it’s given me everything I wanted. I’m a social worker. I still pinch myself.”
Qualifications: BA (Japanese, French)
Currently: Assistant Language Teacher, Nagasaki Board of Education, Japan
Annuska’s love of languages, in particular Japanese, remained with her from high school through to university, and now she is sharing that love with foreign language learners at schools in Japan.
Having secured a place in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) programme, Annuska is based in the Sakura-Machi District of Nagasaki City as an Assistant Language Teacher.
“I work within four different schools assisting with the teaching of English to foreign language learners. Some days I’m a talking dictionary or grammar Nazi and other days I bring a bit of New Zealand culture to the class with games in a fun but educational way.”
Annuska credits this opportunity to her degree from Waikato. “My degree enabled me to get into the JET Programme and to obtain a working visa in Japan. Without it, I would not have been able to take up such a position.”
With a passion for languages, cooking and the arts, Annuska chose International Languages and Cultures as her Bachelor of Arts major, with a specialisation in Japanese and French.
“I also took German and Māori papers, which I thoroughly enjoyed – what can I say, languages are my one true jam and I truly enjoy learning them!”
Now putting her skills to good use internationally, Annuska is looking forward to where her career may take her.
“My advice to those considering university study is to go after your dreams and take the papers you are really interested in. The Bachelor of Arts is a really versatile degree, and I would highly recommend setting yourself up for the future with one.”
Currently: New Zealand Honorary Consul-General, Mongolia
Chuluun Munkhbat says New Zealand is not that different from his home country of Mongolia.
"The sheep, the livestock, the countryside. It's very similar to home," says Chuluun.
Chuluun is passionate about New Zealand and Mongolia, and he manages to combine his love for both countries for a job – as New Zealand's Honorary Consul-General in Mongolia.
Before studying at Waikato, Chuluun was in the Mongolian police force, where he had worked his way up to District Police Chief of the Songion-Kharkhan region.
He came to the University of Waikato to undertake postgraduate study and graduated with a Master of Social Sciences, majoring in Public Policy.
Chuluun then headed back to his homeland where he had a variety of roles in public administration, including Deputy Prosecutor General of Mongolia.
In May 2014, he was named New Zealand Honorary Consul-General in Mongolia, a job he is relishing.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for me to support and assist New Zealanders in Mongolia and to strengthen the relationship between the two countries politically, economically and culturally," he says.
"I have very fond memories of Waikato and very much look forward to returning again."
Qualifications: BSocSc (Environmental Planning and Geography)
Currently: Management Planner, Department of Conservation
Hannah is part of a team that works with the community to develop and create long term plans and strategies that set out management directions and future aspirations for public conservation land across Aotearoa.
"While working to achieve the conservation aspirations of our communities and stakeholders, I get to play a part in looking after and enhancing some of New Zealand's most beautiful and precious environments and species."
Having always wanted to work for the Department of Conservation, Hannah was unaware of the variety of roles she could get into.
"Now in my second role at DOC, I feel very lucky to be working in a field that utilises my skills and passions perfectly!"
Hannah chose to study at Waikato because she had heard that studying environmental planning at the University of Waikato offered flexibility and excellent staff expertise and was proven to open up a lot of job opportunities.
"It has been extremely rewarding to get into a career where I am able to use all of the skills and knowledge that I attained throughout my degree at Waikato, in an area I am totally passionate about."
Hoping to continue her work in the conservation field in the future, Hannah would love to get involved in conservation work internationally, particularly in Antarctica.
Qualifications: BA (Political Science and Screen and Media Studies)
Currently: Journalist, New Zealand Media and Entertainment
Every day it's a new story for Hawke's Bay Today reporter, Sam Hurley. From appearing in a court room to being at the scene of a crime, there is never a dull moment in the life of a journalist and "that's the beauty of it", says Sam, who credits his career success on his degree from Waikato.
"Without my degree, I wouldn't have the job I do today. The career opportunities I have been lucky enough to have, in a cut throat and extremely competitive industry, are a direct result of my studies."
Having attended Sacred Heart College in Auckland, Sam chose to make the move to Hamilton and attend Waikato after a visit to the campus.
"The campus was stunning. I also wanted to experience living in a halls of residence and the Screen and Media courses on offer at Waikato were some of the best in the country. I was also lucky enough to be awarded the University's School Leavers Scholarship."
Sam cherishes the many opportunities given to him during his time at Waikato including making short films, and having his own column in the University's magazine, Nexus.
"My degree definitely helped spark my passion for writing, while the subjects I chose all allowed me to develop my skills for writing fact and quote based stories. One of the factors which helped me secure my current position was how impressed my employer was with my broad knowledge of Politics, a result of the combination of papers I chose to study."
Since he's been out working in the field, Sam has already ticked off some of his early career goals, including having a number of stories published on the front page of The New Zealand Herald, and in publications throughout Australasia and Britain.
"My long term aspirations are to work, and be successful, at one of the world's largest newspapers, such as the The Guardian in London, The Washington Post in the States, or The Daily Telegraph in Sydney."
Qualifications: Bachelor of Social Sciences (Psychology and Sociology)
Currently: Intelligence Analyst, New Zealand Police, Hamilton
Analysing crime data to provide solutions for improving communities is the job of a New Zealand Police Intelligence Analyst - a job which University of Waikato graduate Zoe Gerrand has recently landed.
From a young age, Zoe knew she wanted to follow a career path within the police. She chose to study a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in psychology. The flexibility of her degree also allowed her to take a supporting sociology major, which included papers in criminology.
“I had heard from others that Waikato had one of the best psychology programmes in the country, and when I compared the papers that universities around New Zealand had to offer, Waikato had the most appealing.”
Aside from gaining a broad foundation of knowledge, Zoe’s degree also brought her the necessary practical experience which helped her land her current position.
“I completed a work placement with the New Zealand Police in Hamilton during my final semester. Getting the hands on experience, and seeing what work with the police consisted of, made me dead set on following this career path.”
Her role as an Intelligence Analyst is to create products that address identified national and/or local priorities such as, organised crime and road policing, and to inform and support the prevention, intervention and enforcement activities relating to these identified problems.
“Without a doubt my work placement through the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences helped me get the job I have now. Everything I learnt throughout the duration of my degree certainly gave me the skills and knowledge I needed to adequately perform in this role, but the work placement gave me the foot in the door I needed. My degree from Waikato was the ideal path to getting me my dream job.”
Zoe’s advice to those considering studying at Waikato - “if you are determined and willing to seize the opportunities offered to you then Waikato really is an ideal place to go. Waikato has the ability to open up opportunities that will get you into an awesome career path.”
Qualifications: BA (Theatre Studies and Screen and Media Studies)
Currently: Manager - Front of House Services, Maidment Theatre
With a passion for theatre and film from a young age, the decision to enrol in a Bachelor of Arts came naturally to theatre enthusiast Brendan Theodore.
"During the course of my tertiary study my interests in theatre became much more specific as the course work introduced new and exciting topics which I'd never known about in great detail. I developed even more of a hunger for the performing arts and became heavily submerged in projects around Hamilton, some as part of my degree, and some extracurricular."
Brendan gained many useful skills from his degree which are now highly relevant to his career, skills such as publicity and administration for the arts, as well as an understanding of theatre audiences.
A Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, Brendan embraced many opportunities during his time at Waikato, including becoming involved with Hamilton-based theatre group 'Carving in Ice Theatre', run by Theatre Studies Senior Lecturer, Gaye Poole.
Brendan now works as the Manager - Front of House Services for the Maidment Theatre in Auckland, where he is responsible for managing Front of House staff, high profile performances and events, and venue hospitality services.
"My role is extremely varied and no two days are the same. I could be at work during office hours one day, busy with administrative duties and venue operations, making sure the theatre is ready to receive its next influx of patrons, and the next I might arrive late afternoon, run Front of House for a performance and manage a post-show function of 400 people late into the evening."
"A solid understanding of the many different forms of theatrical performance, as well as the knowledge gained from a practical study of performance at Waikato has helped me immensely in my current role. I have been able to use this knowledge in many situations which has contributed to the success of several events I have been involved with at the Maidment."
Qualifications: BA (Japanese and Psychology)
Currently: Assistant Language Teacher, JET Programme, Japan
Christy Chan is currently based in Japan, putting her degree to good use as an English teacher in a rural Japanese school.
"My job is to teach and assist students and teachers on the English language, including pronunciation and grammar. I also include cultural aspects of New Zealand in my lesson plans, and participate in after-school activities with my students," says Christy.
She says that while jobs like hers can be difficult to come by, having a background in Japanese and experience as a tutor while at University gave her an advantage.
Her degree also gave her a well-rounded view of the world. "I gained essential life skills that I can apply to so many aspects of my life, such as time management and communication skills, and I now have a much broader perspective of life."
She's taking full advantage of the culture Japan has to offer too. "Being in Japan means having access to some of the best food and activities in the world. There is always plenty to do, like activities at the local community centres where they teach tea ceremony classes and taiko drum classes."
Christy hopes to continue furthering her career in Japan by obtaining level one of the nationally recognised language proficiency test, "which is essential to have in order to work in Japan after the programme."
Qualifications: BSocSc (Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management and Labour Studies)
Currently: Talent Advisor, Two Degrees Mobile Limited, Auckland
Bachelor of Social Sciences graduate Simone Rust is in the people business, and loving it.
She's a Talent Advisor in the Human Resources Department at Two Degrees Mobile in Auckland, where she supports the business on people related matters.
"A typical day for me varies depending on what's happening, but could include supporting leaders in investigative or disciplinary meetings, advising on effective management of employee relations and performance issues, or facilitating workshops – among many other things."
Simone has always been interested in human behaviour, so the decision to come to the University of Waikato was an easy one. "Waikato simply had the degree I wanted to take. No other university offered an HR degree with the option to do it through Social Sciences," she says.
And she made sure her studies were productive. She achieved A's in all of her papers, and was named on the Dean's List of Academic Excellence twice.
Simone says she also gained valuable experiences outside the classroom. "I met a great group of new friends, gained a broad range of skills and had a huge range of opportunities waiting for me when I graduated."
"The best advice I could give anyone considering Waikato would be to give everything you do 100%. Challenge yourself to think outside the square and get fully engaged in the learning process."
Qualifications: PhD (History)
Currently: Ethnobotanist, Social Policy Ecological Research Institute, Vietnam
Joanna has done it all.
A single mum before starting university, Joanna studied natural therapies before deciding to further her interest in anatomy and physiology by enrolling in a Bachelor of Science at Waikato. She then moved to anthropology, completing a graduate diploma and Masters, finishing off with a PhD in history.
After her Bachelors, Joanna travelled to Antarctica with Waikato’s Biological Sciences Antarctica Research Division and spent three months doing experiments on moss species in the Ross Sea region. “This was one of the most exciting and life-changing experiences I have ever had, and I’ll be forever grateful for the experience,” she says.
She then worked as a groundskeeper at Hamilton Zoo, a mortuary technician at Waikato Hospital and as a wellness professional at a women’s health retreat - but was craving more.
“After a couple of years I knew I wanted to return to study so I enrolled in a Masters, which then led to a PhD in medical and environmental history.”
Initially choosing her subjects out of interest, Joanna soon learnt she was gaining a wide perspective on the subject of medical history and the use of medicinal plants in colonial medical culture – so it became the subject of her doctoral thesis.
In 2016, Joanna will go to Vietnam to work with the Social Policy Ecological Research Institute (SPERI), an NGO committed to reserving the land and cultural rights of ethnic minorities in Vietnam and the surrounding Mekong area. She’ll work as an ethnobotanist alongside a group of traditional healers, learning and recording their use of medicinal plants.
“The skills I learnt at Waikato will forever be in my repertoire and will, I believe, take me further afield in to a new and exciting chapter of my life.”
Qualifications: BA GradDipT (Secondary)
Currently: Actress and Office Administrator, Fullhouse Productions and Sport Waikato
Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Theatre Studies)
Currently: Youth Arts Coordinator, Auckland Theatre Company
Whetu reckons she has “the coolest job in town”. As the Youth Arts Coordinator for Auckland Theatre Company (ATC), she is in charge of running their education and youth programme.
“Basically I get to hang out with young people and see great theatre! Our education and youth programme is filled with action packed projects such as the annual Summer School, where we put on theatre for and by young people, as well as the ATC Ambassadors programme for high school senior students. I also do a whole lot of stuff with secondary schools, whereby the students come to our shows and we run workshops for them.”
From a young age, Whetu has had a passion for visual and performing arts, so it made sense for her to pursue her passion through tertiary study. Within her Bachelor of Arts degree she studied Theatre Studies, Dance, Māori Traditional and Contemporary Arts.
“My degree from Waikato armed me with the knowledge and foundation for all the work that I have done to date, from the theory and history of theatre to the embodied ways of understanding dance. I also developed a wide network and community of people who share these similar passions.”
Aside from a busy and varied work life, this arts enthusiast also has a number of other plans and projects on the go.
“At the moment I’m working on my first play and I have a three-part dance works in the pipe lines, of which part one is underway. I have also always wanted to, and still will one day, run my own youth company and tour the world with them!”
Qualifications: BA (Hons) (International Relations)
Currently: Analyst, Ministry of Defence
Qualifications: MSocSc (Sociology)
Currently: Chief Executive, Community Waikato, Hamilton
The strong subject offerings within the School of Social Sciences is what attracted Holly to study at Waikato. With a keen interest in sociology and anthropology, she completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences and then went on to do her Masters.
“I found these subject areas to be fascinating and inspiring (particularly sociology). I was not so concerned at that point about what I would do for a career but found in hindsight that sociology was the perfect discipline for the career path I eventually took.”
Holly is now the Chief Executive for Community Waikato. Her role involves managing and supporting staff, securing funds for the operation of the organisation, networking both locally and nationally, report writing, and raising the profile for social service organisations in the greater Waikato region.
“My studies prepared me for working in the community sector. It opened my mind to the complexities of the issues that impact on people’s lives, life decisions and opportunities in life. I also started at management level, which I would not have been able to do without my qualifications.”
Grateful for the skills and experiences gained during her time at Waikato, Holly urges others to “study hard, follow your passion and remember to keep a balance in your life between work, friends and study
Qualifications: BSocSc (Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management)
Currently: Human Resources Coordinator, Carter Holt Harvey Packaging
Qualifications: BSocSc (Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management and Psychology)
Currently: Administration Assistant, DeLaval Ltd, Hamilton
Based in Hamilton, DeLaval is the world’s largest developer, manufacturer and provider of dairy farming solutions, operating in 100 countries, and Waikato graduate Morgan is responsible for the overall office administration for the senior management team at DeLaval Oceania.
Morgan’s majors were in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, and Psychology.
“I’ve always had an interest in the work environment and workplace relations. And my degree was flexible enough that I could learn more about people and working, and then ultimately turning my study into a career path. Psychology gave me another useful perspective.”
No doubt about it, Morgan’s university study helped her secure the job at DeLaval and she feels privileged to work there.
“Alongside the academic and technical knowledge, my degree gave me a range of skills, such as open mindedness and learning to work with a diverse range of people, and that’s very important for working in today’s society. I liked the fact we had guest speakers in our lectures who gave us insights into real-life situations.
“The papers I chose also gave me a chance to work in the field and visit HR managers to talk to them about the tasks and challenges that they face every day.”
In time, Morgan is keen to become an HR manager herself, and she relishes the opportunities she’ll get working for a global organisation in an industry she’s become passionate about.
Qualifications: MMus (Performance)
Currently: Opera Singer, Voice Consultant and Teacher,
For most of 2014, soprano Julia Booth became Christine – the star of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom of the Opera, performing with the Hamilton Operatic Society.
Julia has a Masters of Music in performance from the University of Waikato, so playing the role of Christine was an enjoyable challenge. "Musical theatre demands a different set of skills – for me, I feel there is more scope and freedom," she says.
Performance is Julia's passion. She is a Pricewaterhouse Coopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist 2007/2008, a 2007 Hillary Medal Award recipient and Wallace Corporation Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year. She also won the New Zealand Aria Competition in 2008.
Julia thoroughly enjoyed her time at Waikato, and points to the close-knit, collaborative and friendly community of the music department as one of its biggest draws.
"People are genuinely looking out for your musical interests. It's a small department, everyone knows each other and you get a lot of opportunities to perform. There is a huge focus on performance."
Julia is currently furthering her training to be a Certified Master Teacher in Estill voice training, a specialist qualification that helps refine voices and improve vocal function.
But singing and performing remain her first love. "I love teaching, but I will always perform and always sing."
Qualifications: BA(Hons) (English Literature)
Currently: Dean of the School of Translation Studies, Jinan University, China
At Jinan University in Guangdong Province, China, a Waikato-educated, Chinese-born professor is teaching his students all about New Zealand literature.
Professor Zhao trained as a teacher in China before coming to New Zealand on a scholarship from the Chinese government. "It was recommended that I study at Waikato because of the outstanding English professors, so off I went," he says.
Professor Zhao spent a lot of time as a student in the library devoted to his studies. "I spent so much time there reading and writing – even taking naps on the cosy sofas when I was tired!"
After finishing his studies at Waikato, Professor Zhao returned to China to teach. He was appointed Associate Professor and later promoted to Professor. He taught classes on literature in English-speaking countries and also established a Centre for New Zealand Studies.
His first book 'The Bright Pearl on the South Pacific – New Zealand' was published in 2000. He later published 'Singing on the Land of the Long White Cloud – a Study on the Postcolonial Literature of New Zealand' and has most recently published a book on the stories of Katherine Mansfield – all in Chinese.
Qualifications: BSocSc (Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management)
Currently: HR Administrator, Morris Corporation Perth, Australia
Currently: Environmental Planner, Whangarei District Council
Qualifications: BMCT (Screen & Media Studies and Te Reo Maori)
Currently: Freelance Lighting and Camera Operator,
While on tour playing American Football for New Zealand, Moehau and his teammate decided to make a music video.
“It was all just for fun; however I had such a blast that I decided to take an elective paper in video production when I returned to Waikato.”
Moehau ended up loving the ‘Video Production 1’ paper so much that he changed his degree to the Bachelor of Media & Creative Technologies and never turned back. During the course of his degree, he was exposed to many contacts in the film industry and got to work on his first feature film.
“This was huge for me as it was my first real experience within the industry and it was better than I expected. It was made possible thanks to the awesome lecturers within the Screen & Media department at Waikato.”
Moehau now works within the film industry as a camera operator and lighting assistant.
“I operate a range of cameras from DSLR to Arri Alexas and Reds. On smaller jobs I do a lot of DOP (Director of Photography) work which means I am in charge of turning what the Director has in his head into something to put onto the screen.”
Moehau has been involved with many jobs this year alone including the TV series Step Dave (Season 2), Find Me a Māori Bride, and a feature called Abandoned.
“I started in lighting and worked my way up to DOP. My final goal is to write and direct my own projects.”
Qualifications: BEP (Terrestrial Environments)
Currently: Regulatory Administration Officer (Pollutino), Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga
Working as the Regulatory Administration Officer for the Pollution Prevention team in Tauranga,
Layla Croker has the sole responsibility of monitoring the installation of water bores in the region.
"My role is varied and challenging. I deal with the Pollution Hotline complaints, after-hours complaints and notification of works. I monitor water bores, which involves follow ups with well drillers and applicants for reports. I process all compliance returns for the Tauranga area, ensuring they comply with consent conditions. I also work under the Project Implementation Team, which carry out large regional projects such as the Tauranga Harbour Programme."
Layla graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Planning from Waikato, specialising in Terrestrial Environments which focused on soil management, ecology and environmental monitoring.
"I really enjoy learning about the environment, what processes occur within it, what issues are currently present and what we can do about them. I particularly chose these subjects because they gave me the ability to answer and help solve these questions."
Equipped with the perfect balance of science and planning knowledge and skills, Layla credits her career success to her time at Waikato.
"My degree helped me to get a foot in the door and secure my current role, as it showed that I had studied a range of papers relevant to the job I was applying for. The practical experience offered through my degree also enabled me to provide examples of how I had applied my knowledge."
With future ambitions to explore the many aspects of planning in both government and the private sector, Layla hopes to one day work in conservation/restoration planning, environmental management or environmental education.
"I see myself working largely for regional councils or starting my own environmental consulting firm, whether it is here or overseas."
Qualifications: BA (History and Political Science)
Currently: CEO, Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand
Chris Roberts, the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand chief executive, has found career success by sticking to one golden rule – love doing what you do.
Fresh out of Whakatane High School, Chris came to the University of Waikato a couple of weeks after his 17th birthday to study political science and history – "quite simply, the subjects I enjoyed the most," he says.
Everything he's achieved since then has been through a combination of hard work and an ongoing willingness to learn and try new things, all built upon the solid foundation of a degree from Waikato.
"After graduating, I began my working career as a radio journalist back in Whakatane. My Bachelor of Arts degree was a good foundation to start from, and I learned everything else I needed to on the job – and in the variety of roles which followed."
Through a career in journalism, political advice and corporate communications, to his current leadership role in tourism, Chris is proud that he has been able to keep building on the skills he learnt at Waikato to reach his current level.
His advice to students considering the University of Waikato – "enjoy the experience, but get the balance right, between the social life and doing the work! Gaining a good quality degree from the University of Waikato should set you up for a successful future."
Qualifications: MSocSc (Tourism Development and Geography)
Currently: Operations Manager NSW & ACT, Acorn Stairlifts, Australia
Taupo-born Jessica decided to embark on a Bachelor of Tourism at Waikato upon finishing High School. "I liked the variety that the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences offered in their degrees as well as the campus lifestyle."
Following her Bachelors, Jessica went on to complete Honours and Masters study with a focus on tourism and geography.
"I was particularly interested in these subject areas as they allowed me to examine the relationships between people, place and society."
A recipient of the Waikato University Masters Research Scholarship, the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women Masters Research Award and the MacLachlan Award from the New Zealand Geographical Society (Waikato Branch), Jessica valued her time at Waikato.
"I enjoyed planning events as part of being the graduate student representative for the Waikato Branch of the New Zealand Geographical Society. I also loved tutoring for geography, tourism and environmental planning and being a FASS student ambassador."
Now living and working across the ditch, Jessica is Operations Manager for Acorn Stairlifts, where she oversees the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory states. She has also just been accepted to commence her PhD at the University of New South Wales in 2015.
"I have seven staff reporting to me. I carry out weekly reports, plan efficient logistic routes, as well as provide technical support and customer service."
"My advice to those looking to study at Waikato is to take every opportunity you can. Apply for scholarships, join committees and maintain good relationships with your peers and lecturers – because it's not always what you know but who you know!"
Qualifications: MAppPsy PGDipPracPsych
Currently: Registered Psychologist, Intensive Wrap Around Service, Ministry of Education
After securing an internship with the Ministry of Education straight out of university, following which he worked for Intellectual Disability and Empowerment Action (IDEA/IHC). Leny is now working with Intensive Wrap Around Service at Ministry of Education as a registered Psychologist.
"As part of my job I provide specialist psychological services to children and young people, their families/whanau, educational providers and other agencies. I support the team to develop a robust assessment and intervention plan to address the child's and family's needs across different domains such as home, school and in the community who have significant learning and/or behavioural challenges. A typical day would involve writing reports, completing risk assessments, psychometric assessments, training staff and facilitating meetings."
This is Leny's third job as a Psychologist and he is happy to be part of a national team which provides ecological support for children and their families, not only at school but also at home and in the community.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Environmental Planning
Currently: Graduate Planner, KTB Planning Consultants Limited, Cambridge
After spending a year abroad on a cultural exchange in Egypt, Tauranga-born Daisy returned to New Zealand to commence her tertiary studies at Waikato. “Hamilton was close to home, but at the same time a new place to live and explore.”
Having been top of her high school geography class, she decided to pursue geography at university with the addition of social policy and politics under the Bachelor of Environmental Planning degree.
“My degree taught me the background needed to move into a career in planning, as well as a number of skills, such as public speaking, mediating and negotiating, which helped me secure a job within this industry.”
As the Graduate Planner for KTB Planning Consultants Limited, Daisy works across a variety of different areas within the business including, helping private clients gain resource consents and liaising with a number of district and regional councils.
“From report writing and using different mapping systems to developing site plans and completing site visits, my role is diverse and interesting. I have the best of both worlds really, a job I love which has me working hard, but also one which allows me to still have a good lifestyle.”
Daisy has aims to progress her career in the field of planning, as well as the possibility of future study in the areas of urban design or GIS mapping.
“For anyone considering a career in planning, Waikato provides a great foundation for the knowledge needed to become a successful planner.”
Qualifications: BSocSc (Geography and Environmental Planning)
Currently: Graduate Planner, AECOM, Hamilton
Katie Treadaway came to the University of Waikato as a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar to study a Bachelor of Social Sciences, majoring in Geography and Environmental Planning.
"I always enjoyed Geography at school, and I like the environment and being outdoors, so I chose a course that reflected my interests," says Katie.
A talented equestrian, Katie managed a demanding schedule of competition riding and four years of full-time study.
After graduating, Katie's degree gave her the solid footing she needed when it came time to apply for planning jobs, and she was quickly snapped up by AECOM, a global architecture and engineering firm.
She enjoys the variety in her job, where any day at work might consist of site visits, consultations with landowners or report writing.
"Report writing often means developing robust arguments, so I'm thankful I was able to develop good written communication skills at university."
Katie advises those considering university study to follow their passion. "Choose papers that interest you, as this is when you'll do your best," she says. "I chose papers that interested me throughout my study and was able to graduate with a double major in the subjects I really enjoyed."
Currently: Principle Oboe, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch
Jenny has loved music all her life and after completing her Masters in the art she moved south to be the Principal Oboist in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
“It was always my dream to work as an oboist in New Zealand,” says Jenny. “The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra is filled with wonderful people who are inspiring to play with. I’m very happy.”
The former Sir Edmund Hillary scholar graduated from Waikato in 2009 after completing a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours and a Masters of Music. During this time, she won four awards at the Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards for her excellence in the creative and performing arts.
“The University of Waikato provided me with opportunities which were more valuable than my degree. The number of performances, masterclasses, and one-on-one lessons I had made it a great environment to study in,” she says.
When she’s not in the concert chamber, Jenny likes exploring the city and teaching young, up and coming oboists how to perform.
Jenny knows she made the right decision to study at Waikato and encourages others to follow in her footsteps.
“Waikato is a great institution to be a part of,” she says. “It’s well respected around New Zealand and I’ve never regretted my choice to study here.”
Qualifications: BEP (Environmental Planning and Environmental Economics)
Currently: Graduate Planner, New Zealand Transport Agency
Choosing to study Environmental Planning at Waikato was an easy choice for South African-born, Lana Gooderham, a girl who loves the environment and had heard about the uniqueness and reputation of the Bachelor of Environmental Planning.
"I think the thing that attracted me to study Environmental Planning most was the fact that I was studying towards a specific career path. I took comfort in knowing that by the end of my degree, I would know exactly where I was going."
It was that logic that drove Lana exactly to where she wanted to go.
Landing a job as a graduate planner for the New Zealand Transport Agency just before she'd finished her degree was the icing on the cake for Lana.
Today, her main responsibility lies within assessing applications for resource consents for anything from two lot subdivisions to the designation of electricity transmission lines, as well as supporting other planners with district plan reviews and spatial plan development.
"The best part of my job is seeing how everything I learnt from my Environmental Planning degree comes together in real life," says Lana.
Lana had secured her position before she had finished university, and she says that it is important to start looking for positions early and keep on top of what's out there.
"This graduate position was specifically advertised for graduates with a planning qualification, so that alone helped me jump through the first hoop. However, while a degree signals to a potential employer that you are employable, you really need to push yourself to stand out from the crowd."
Qualifications: MSocSc PGDip Clinical Psychology
Currently: Pyschologist, Department of Corrections