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.


Catherine Graham

Māori and Indigenous Studies, Music, Te Tohu Paetahi
"I have appreciated learning alongside a group of wonderful people, through really inclusive and effective pedagogies every day. My life and thinking has been challenged and transformed in many ways."

Leah Owen

"I have found a career that I am passionate about, helping others, and everything I learned through my three years at University have helped set me up for my current work."

Sylvia Wharewera

"I would definitely recommend the University of Waikato to others. It’s in a great location and has excellent degree options and reputation. While I learnt a lot academically, the most valuable key learnings I take away are positionality, cultural competency, and reflection."

Mereana Vaka

Te Tohu Paetahi
"Te Tohu Paetahi has been liberating for me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It has been an awakening to my identity as a Māori and has solidified the foundations of my lived experiences."

Leny Thomas

"The School of Psychology... gave me a really great foundation and framework to build a career in psychology on."

Nicola Brennan-Tupara

"The great thing about psychology is that there are so many different avenues. You can do research; you can go into policy and be part of wider change; you can practice clinically, and work with individuals and communities."

Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor

English, History
"The more people are involved in arts, culture and creativity, the higher their wellbeing is likely to be."

Joshua Slattery

Media Design, Screen and Media Studies
"The Bachelor of Arts has given me a wide range of skills, allowing me to go out into the world well-prepared."

Zaida Moffat

Digital Learning, Education, Psychology
"What I particularly love at this university, the research is so collaborative, and you can work across different disciplines and have access to people from other schools and faculties who are experts in their field, all with a wealth of experience to share."

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.

Williame Daveta

"I delved deeper into the understanding of the human brain and how each component functions. Psychology is an incredibly captivating field that has driven me toward a career path in clinical psychology."

Te Riria Potiki

Environmental Planning
"We need more Māori in this space, supporting each other. It can be disheartening to see the degradation of our environment and te ao Māori worldview not being validated. But there’s heaps of change happening, so it’s cool to be a part of."

Lillian Balfour

Ecology and Biodiversity
"I have learned so much, the social science and policy side to climate change had a big impact on how I think about climate change, especially when combined with the Indigenous Studies paper - it reinforces how climate justice is also a social justice issue."

Māhia Mete-Smith

"Rōpū Māori (Māori groups and networks) are the highlight of my whole student experience every year. I wholeheartedly encourage tauira Māori to get amongst the kaupapa, it makes your university experience one to remember."

Vinod Bal

Law, Political Science, Sociology
"I chose Waikato because of what it stands for, epitomised by its motto 'ko te tangata' or 'for the people.' It was important to me that my tertiary education was first and foremost, people-centric, and Waikato delivered this in spades."

Melody May

"I didn’t know that stories were nearly as powerful as medicine. Now I get to be a doctor and write stories - all my dreams in one."

Lushomo Thebe

"I can talk about everything I have learnt as part of my qualification, but for me, it’s the people I’ve met and the love and support I’ve received. It feels like home"

Breana Nobilo

Public Relations
"I love that we do very practical assignments with real-world scenarios. My degree covers so many areas and possible careers, with internship and apprenticeship opportunities. This gives a cool hands-on experience in the workplace, which helped me find out what kind of job and workplace I want to go into."

Scott Drabble

"I think having a master’s not only shows knowledge in your chosen field but also shows discipline and organisation skills that are transferable in almost any industry."

Olivia McIntyre

Psychology, Sociology
"It wasn’t until I experienced issues with my own mental health that I considered psychology as a career path. From that point onwards, my goal was to become a clinical psychologist."

Reremoana Chase

Māori and Indigenous Studies, Psychology, Te Tohu Paetahi
"The thought of learning my language again whilst being surrounded by the water [in Tauranga Mōana] was one of the easiest decisions for me to make."

Maddisyn Hollis

Māori and Indigenous Studies
"My goal is to develop the skills necessary to enable rangatahi Maaori to reconnect with their identity, culture, talents and strengths."

Keana Hepi

Law, Māori Language/Te Reo Māori
"I’ve really enjoyed my Māori language papers this trimester, particularly learning more about the values inherent in te reo Māori and the knowledge systems of mātauranga Māori."

Bradley Sam

Economics, Law
"“My exchange was one of the best parts of my university life. It’s been a positive discussion point in job interviews and has definitely helped me get to where I am today.”"

Kanj Patel

Accounting, Finance, Law, Leadership Communication
"I completed both four-year degrees in only four years and obtained First Class Honours in my management degree. I needed to get on the gas and get it done as fast as possible."

Cian Gardner

Education, Theatre Studies
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.

Zachary Katene

Zach was surprised at how he had a flair for the practical areas of law like advocacy and negotiation. His talent saw him win competitions and secure top honours.

Leilani Tuala-Warren

"Ask yourself, ‘what can I do to help our people?’ That’s where the passion will come from, and from there you will do well."

Majenta Gaffar

Theatre Studies
"I chose the University of Waikato purely because it’s one of the top-performing art schools in the country."

Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono

"I chose Waikato University because the music department is small and intimate, which meant I could receive personalised teaching."

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."

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."

Katie Treadway

Environmental Planning, Geography

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.

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.

Sam Hurley

Political Science
"Without my degree, I wouldn't have the job I do today. The career opportunities are a direct result of my studies."

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."

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."

Megan Smith

Public Policy
"Waikato has offered me endless opportunities. I have had the opportunity to write journal articles which has been interesting and rewarding."

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.

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

Tangi Walker

Social Work
"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."

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."

Benny Jones

"I gained experience in the court process and the experience triggered something in me and I set my sights on a new career in law."

Aidan Warren

"The University’s motto ‘Ko Te Tangata – For the People’ is what I took away. We learned law in context; it was people focused and reflective of our community and that has been a big part of my practice."

Sam Fellows

"I believe the experiences and opportunities I had at university have directly contributed to where I am now. I always felt supported and like someone believed in me, and now I do my best to inspire that in others."

Kristoffer Lavasi'i

English, Law, Psychology
"It can be easy to look around at others who seem to be moving faster, flying higher. But sometimes the slowest things go farthest, and the humblest beginnings sometimes lead to the most incredible things."

Olivia Kerbers

Public Relations
""The Bachelor of Communication degree gives you a well-rounded balance of theory and how that’s applied in practice. You get so many opportunities to test your knowledge and put your creativity to the test through real-life scenarios, instead of just sitting there reading about it. You’re well supported by your lecturers and tutors, who help you to continually develop your skills.”"

Grace Walker

"In high school, you’re told that at uni you won’t get much help but at Waikato, I found that it was quite the opposite. Te Piringa – Faculty of Law promotes the concept of ‘colleagues not competitors’."

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."

Aidan Sarikaya

"There are opportunities to meet people from all different walks of life, studying different things and competing or performing at the highest level."

Shelley Greer

"I cherish the ability to learn in my career, every day I learn something new which keeps things interesting."

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."

Tayla Afoa

Law, Philosophy, Political Science
"When I came down to Open Day, the campus caught my eye instantly – the lakes are beautiful, everything is close together and the University is away from the bustling city."

Wenyue 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."

Shamus Baker

Music, Philosophy
"My study of musicianship, harmony and counterpoint and aesthetics also made me aware of what it means to think musically, and how fundamental this is to musical practice."

Sky (Ziqi) Ma

Social Work
"Going on placement was a highlight where I was able to utilise all the skills and knowledge that I learnt at the University."

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."

Ryan Burnell

"I draw on my knowledge of experimental design and human memory almost every day, as well as my statistical knowledge and my writing, speaking, and project management skills."

Salma Nicholson

Media Design
"I learnt so much, so many new things. I didn’t study graphic design in high school, so came into the course pretty much a blank slate, and now, three years later I’ve made a short film, designed entire brand guides and made little animations, and on and on it goes."

Marcus Fletcher

Environmental Planning
"Learning about Aotearoa’s resource management law, how to plan cities and combating the pressures of climate change makes this degree extremely satisfying and beneficial."

Charlotte Miller

"I didn’t know Security and Crime Science or Forensic and Criminological Psychology were even options before I was looking at electives for my degree. I was instantly drawn to them and wanted to give them a go."

Sau Lefeau

Māori and Pacific Development, Sociology
"It’s been a real blessing to use my study out in the real world."

Aurand Tou

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

Shoshana Sachi

English, Screen and Media Studies
"I enjoy every process of bringing our vibrant characters to life – from page to screen."

Courtney Richmond

English, Theatre Studies
"I’ve been able to study the things that truly interest me, and to connect with people who align with my interests and values."

Buck Trafford

Engineering, Geography

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.

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."

Katie Trigg

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

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."

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.

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."

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."

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."

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.

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!""