Student Profiles

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.


Tayla Afoa

Law, Philosophy, Political Science
When I came down for an orientation, the campus caught my eye instantly – the lakes are beautiful, everything is close together, the Uni itself is away from the bustling city, and the campus has its own student vibe.

Daisy Ager

Environmental Planning
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.”

Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor

English, Writing Studies
I stumbled upon Catherine Chidgey's Writing Studies paper and fell in love straight away. From then on, I took as many papers as I could!

Kate Barry

Media Design
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.

Joanna Bishop

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.

Julia Booth

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.

Jordan Browne

English, Screen and Media Studies
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.

Christy Chan

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.

Joanna Clarke

International Relations and Security Studies
Waikato will give to you what you put into it. Everything is there – great lecturers, good facilities, and such a wealth of knowledge – just make the most of it!

Hannah Cleland

Hannah Cleland’s role at the Department of Corrections has a high level of responsibility attached to it as she is involved in assessing the reoffending risk for offenders in the community as well as those eligible to be released on parole.

Rereahu Collier

Māori and Indigenous Studies, Psychology
My job gives me a chance to showcase what I've learnt at uni, and apply it to everything I do.

Layla Croker

Environmental Planning
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.

June Dams

Originally from Belgium, soprano June Dams has lived in New Zealand for 16 years. Currently she is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree under the tutelage of Dame Malvina Major, June holds an Master of Music in Voice Performance and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Theatre Studies and Composition from the University of Waikato.

Hannah Divehall

Environmental Planning
I get to play a part in looking after and enhancing some of New Zealand's most beautiful and precious environments and species.

Kate Dooley

Social Work
It's quite a jump from duty manager at Mitre 10 to family support social worker, but that's what Kate Dooley has done.

Caroline Downey

English, Geography
My role is to oversee the process of event construction, right through to event delivery, and all the elements in between.

Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono

I chose Waikato University because the music department is smaller and more intimate, which means I receive more personalised teaching.

Zoe Gerrand

I looked at what psychology papers were offered across the country, and Waikato had the most appealing options.

Lana Gooderham

Environmental Planning
The best part of my job is seeing how everything I learnt from my Environmental Planning degree comes together in real life.

Fiona Haiko

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.

Sophie Hamilton

Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
By having a degree it also showed motivation and eagerness to succeed by demonstrating the skills I have developed and putting them into the workplace.

Zuwati Hasim

Applied Linguistics
Zuwati is an expert in the field of language assessment – a crucial issue for teachers, especially in her home country Malaysia.

Joe Henehan

Environmental Planning, Public Policy
The BEP is accredited by the New Zealand Planning Institute which means that it’s up there with the best planning degrees in the country.

Mahara Hepi

There has almost never been a time when Kapa Haka wasn’t part of my life; it is who I am.

Jenna Hudson

English, Theatre Studies
Growing up in a house with no siblings, Jenna Hudson was a self-proclaimed drama queen and attention seeker. “I had to make my own entertainment so I would create my own radio stations with different voices by recording songs onto cassettes and recording voice overs to introduce them.”

Sam Hurley

Political Science
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.

Jenny Johnson

The number of performances, masterclasses, and one-on-one lessons I had made it a great environment to study in.

Shannon Julian

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.

Khaysharn Kingi-Takoko

I use Kapa Haka as a vehicle to drive me through life. I would be lost without it, and wouldn’t know how to hold myself.

Jocelyn Lee

Applied Linguistics
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.

Tracey Lee

Social Work
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.

Sau Lefeau

Māori and Pacific Development, Sociology
It’s been a real blessing to use my learnings out in the real world. I’ve also formed some great friendships while studying, and the encouragement we give each other keeps morale up during difficult times.

Graeme Mackenzie

Chinese, Political Science, 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.

Kirsten May

Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
As Human Resources Coordinator for Carter Holt Harvey Packaging, Kirsten needs a good grasp of all things HR principals and relevant legislation to ensure she can do her job effectively.

Jeremy Mayall

Without my degree I wouldn’t have developed the skill-set or the portfolio of work required to take up a composer residency.

Jasmin Mueller

Social Work
The Bachelor of Social Work gave me the tools to do what I’ve always wanted to. If I had to summarise my experience at Waikato in one word it would be 'family'.

Chuluun Munkhbat

Public Policy
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.

Morgan Paul

Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
My degree was flexible enough that I could learn more about people and working, and then ultimately turning my study into a career path.

Kiriwaitingi Rei

Māori Language/Te Reo Māori, Strategic Management
I love how the University of Waikato continues to embrace kaupapa Māori and celebrate the Kīngitanga.

Courtney Richmond

English, Theatre Studies
I see the world, and my place in the world, in a totally new light now and that’s the result of being pushed to question, inquire and discover my own answers and my own meaning through my studies here at Waikato.

Chris Roberts

History, Political Science
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.

Annuska Robinson

French, International Languages and Cultures, Japanese
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.

Wendy Ruan

Studying at the Pathways College was a great way for me to develop my academic writing, listening and study skills. The teachers are incredibly supportive and the classes are small, which gave me the best possible start to my university career.

Simone Rust

Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
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.

Shoshana Sachi

English, Screen and Media Studies
Some people think a plane ticket and a script is all you need, but the truth is it's a really competitive and cut-throat industry. As much as people may scoff at the idea of education, my experience has been that education is key.

Whetu Silver

Theatre Studies
My degree from Waikato armed me with the knowledge and foundation for all the work that I have done to date.

Megan Smith

Public Policy
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.

Jess Smith

Political Science
All of the political science lecturers at the University are so intelligent and engaging. The course really captivates me because it’s what I’m interested in.

Holly Snape

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.

Cheryl Teng

English, Pathways Programmes, Psychology
Studying Pathways taught me all the study skills I needed to start university. The Certificate of Attainment in Foundation Studies was the perfect way to prepare for my degree.

Brendan Theodore

Theatre Studies
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.

Leny Thomas

As part of my job I provide specialist psychological services to children and young people, their families/whanau, educational providers and other agencies.

Aurand Tou

I chose Waikato because the Psychology degree is more culturally grounded than those offered at other New Zealand universities.

Buck Trafford

Engineering, Geography
This is my ‘dream job’, as it allows me to spend 2-3 days a week in the forest. My role has a heavy GIS component, so my Waikato degree, with the GIS specialisation, played a big part in securing the position.

Katie Treadway

Environmental Planning, Geography
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.

Katie Trigg

Computer Science, Music
I like that everything is on one, beautiful campus and there is direct communication between the lecturers and the students.

Floris Van Gaalen

Screen and Media Studies
I was thankful to discover that my professors sought out critical and unique thinking which meant I was able to learn to challenge myself.