“If you see something that needs to be done in your community, do it yourself!” That’s the message from University of Waikato student and Northland Future Leaders Scholarship (NFLS) recipient Tennille Nisbet.
Tennille’s community work and leadership skills helped her receive the NFLS last year, contributing $5000 to her Bachelor of Engineering with Honours. “It was amazing to be recognised for my community work,” she says. “And financially, it was such a big relief.” Tennille also received a University of Waikato Engineering Admission Fees Scholarship and a WorleyParsons Professional Engineering Scholarship.
The NFLS recognises Tennille’s position as Year 13 prefect and her community work, notably her mentoring programme, where she connected younger students with older student mentors at Whangarei Girls’ High School. “There wasn’t a programme like it,” she says. “I thought it had to be done, so I did it myself.”
Tennille didn’t know she had been nominated for the scholarship by her principal until she received an email informing her she had received it. “It was a great surprise!” she says.
Now in her second year of Waikato’s Mechanical Engineering programme, Tennille is studying six papers this semester. Despite her heavy workload, she’s still finding time to give back as a residential assistant and residents association co-chair at Bryant Hall. She looks after 18 residents, mostly first-years, helping them settle into university and eventually begin flatting. In the summer, she volunteers as a swimming coach.
“My experience at Waikato has been an absolute blast,” says Tennille. “I believe I’m attending the best school of engineering in the country because the education is uniquely hands-on and the classes are a good size.” Tennille says class sizes are fundamental to the sense of community she feels. “We all want to do well together, rather than compete against one another,” she says.
When not involved in study, community work, looking after her Bryant Hall residents, or coaching swimming, what does Tennille do to wind down? “I like keeping my hands busy with crafts,” she says. “I love a good DIY project.”
The Northland Future Leaders Scholarship was established in 2012 to recognise the relationship the University of Waikato has with the secondary schools in Northland and is awarded to 10 of the region’s future leaders every year. Applications are now open for principals to nominate leading students, so talk to your principal if you think you have what it takes.