Student Profiles

Graduates of Arts, Law, Psychology 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 ALPSS 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."

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."

Tekatau Bio

Tekatau is a barrister and solicitor specialising in family and immigration law. She is also the first woman of Kiribati heritage to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand.

Ruby Bishara

Social Work
"“Going to university taught me so much but, most importantly, it taught me to aspire, to dream. As social workers, we can aspire to be anything. Now I aspire higher in everything I do.”"

Julia Booth

"While I was studying, high performance manager Greg O’Carroll was an excellent mentor who took a meaningful and holistic approach to my development."

Jordan Browne

English, Screen and Media Studies
"My university study directly relates to what I'm doing now. As well as the content, the 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 learned at university and apply it to everything I do."

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.

Rachel Devine

"My degree instilled an early openness to innovation and keenness for creativity which I believe has shaped my desire to deliver pragmatic, real-world solutions to legal issues, and to invest in the creation of an AI contract management software business."

Courtney Dick

Economics, Law
"By going in-house, I have been able to utilise both my degrees. It’s nice to be part of the business process and strategic management, and I work with multiple teams including finance, creative, procurement and strategic."

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.

Season-Mary Downs

"I always knew I wanted to make a difference to the community so studying towards a law degree was the best way I could see to help. It’s a privilege to be able to use my law degree and the knowledge I’ve gained to help the community."

Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono

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

Cian Gardner

Award-winning theatre company founder and Waikato alumna Cian Gardner is making a name for herself in the arts world with her recent play Sorry For Your Loss.

Zoe Gerrand

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

Ben Gerritsen

"I think it’s a good idea to broaden your perspectives, do a range of subjects, and Waikato gave me the flexibility to do that."

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."

Shelley Greer

"Studying law opened my mind to a completely different language, way of thinking, expressing myself and problem solving. Even if a student did not eventually end up practising law, a law degree would equip them with skills that they can use in many other industries and careers."

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."

Taylor Hamlin

"The support from my lecturers has been great – I feel like Waikato is very collaborative and my tutors are very understanding of my extra-curricular activities and basketball in relation to my studies."

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

Mahara Hepi (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngai Tahu, Te Ati Hau Nui A Pāpārangi, Tuwharetoa) studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Anthropology and Psychology.

Wayne Hoffer

"Waikato set me up for the practicality of law, there was a great focus on how to fix a problem. That has helped me stand out in my career."

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."

Akeem Iyanda

"I am now a lawyer, thanks to my law study at the University of Waikato. The degree and skills I got from Waikato made me employable."

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."

Cain Kerehoma

"There is a strong whānau ethos within the Law School, with the university, staff and students working collectively to produce some of the finest and most talented leaders of tomorrow."

Claudia King

Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, Law
The University of Waikato Law school alumna is co-founder, CEO and the driving force behind legal tech company Automio.

Khaysharn Kingi-Takoko

Māori and Indigenous Studies
"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."

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."

Sky (Ziqi) Ma

Social Work
"I was the only Chinese international student, the only student with English as a second language, the only male in the class and one of the youngest students in my social work cohort. I learnt how to mingle with people much older than me which will help in my career. I’m also aware of the shortage of male social workers in the field, so when I’m ready to enter the profession I’ll stand out."

Sam Marelich

Design Media, Marketing
As the Managing Partner for San Francisco-based recruitment firm, The Collective Search, Sam Marelich spends his days creating opportunities and opening doors for his clients in the tech world. Although, if it wasn’t for a few very useful coffee meetings, he may not be where he is today.

Khey-Jhyn Martin

Social Work
"It was hard mahi. It’s a long degree and it needs to be. It naturally selects the people who will make good social workers. This programme prepares students really well for placement."

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."

Carey-Ann Morrison

"When I came to university, the geography papers I enrolled in exposed me to new ways of thinking and gave me new tools. It was absolutely my university studies that laid the foundations for me to navigate my journey."

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."

Te Riria Potiki

"I was always interested in science, but once I found geography later in high school I knew I had found something I was passionate about. It aligns so well with my future goal of working to preserve environmental sustainability."

Willow-Jean Prime

Development Studies, Law, Māori and Indigenous Studies
"I'm inspired by the dedicated and committed people who've gone before me. We have to ensure that future generations of Māori are provided for spiritually, culturally, environmentally and economically. I'm not afraid of a challenge."

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."

Carolin Robert

"I love the atmosphere at the campus. Everyone is so nice and supportive. It was really easy to meet new people because of all the cultural and social events the university holds."

Chris Roberts

History, Political Science
Chris Roberts is the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive and he found career success by sticking to one golden rule – love doing what you do.

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."

Te Maiora Rūrehe

Law, Māori Language/Te Reo Māori
"Lawyers are catalysts for change as they can directly influence justice and how it’s administered. Using these skills, I want to take them back to my people and show them how to participate effectively within the system."

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."

Aidan Sarikaya

"I chose to study at Waikato because I was offered the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship which was a big drawcard. There’s also a strong hockey hub in Hamilton with Midlands being based here, so I knew I would be getting good training sessions as well."

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."

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."

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.

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 Trigg

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

Leilani Tuala-Warren

"My law degree has given me the confidence, skills and knowledge to practice law and now to assist in the formulation and development of legal policy."

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."

Tangi Walker

"Having respect for others, being a genuine person, and having the right attitude where you want to see and influence a positive change in people’s lives are essential qualities for social workers."

Grace Walker

"Never be afraid to use your voice. You are capable and powerful of doing anything you set your mind to."

Edmund Wee

""Coming up with creative ideas is not so difficult. The most difficult part is persuading the client. But you want to do something creative and challenging, otherwise life would be so boring!""

Liam Wooding

Waikato alumnus Liam Wooding is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s emerging pianists and is a doctoral student at the University of Waikato.