Scholarship draws alumnae back to study at Waikato

10 October 2022

Alumni Scholarship winners
Jessica Harvey and Tiari Killeen-Townsend are the 2022 winners of the University of Waikato Alumni Scholarship.

Master of Teaching and Learning student Jessica Harvey and Te Tohu Paetahi student Tiari Killeen-Townsend are the 2022 recipients of the University of Waikato Alumni Scholarship.

The Alumni Scholarship was established in 2016 by the University of Waikato Alumni Association (Te Rauika Pukenga) to support alumni who are continuing their academic journey by returning to study.

Each recipient was selected based on the positive impact they have had on communities since graduating and their commitment to furthering their impact in their chosen career paths. Both recipients are studying at the University of Waikato’s Tauranga campus.

Jessica returned to the University of Waikato after 17 years away. She initially enrolled in 2003 where she completed a Bachelor of Arts and followed her passion for languages and majored in Japanese and Linguistics.

Her degree took her overseas to Japan where she lived for four years before returning home to raise her family. During this period, Jessica worked in various administration roles but always knew she wanted to do something she could make a career out of. “I didn’t mind admin work but I wanted something more fulfilling that I could pour my passion into.”

So in 2022, Jessica made the jump and enrolled full-time to officially begin her teacher training. Jessica says enrolling again at the University of Waikato was a no-brainer.

“I had such an enjoyable experience with my first qualification and now with the Tauranga campus making learning accessible, it has made returning to study that much easier.

“This alumni scholarship has made a whole lot of difference. It gave me that feeling of safety that I wouldn’t have had without it.”

The second recipient Tiari, who previously completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences and a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology, has enrolled in the University of Waikato’s one-year total immersion Māori language programme – Te Tohu Paetahi.

Enrolling in Te Tohu Paetahi has been a crucial step for Tiari’s academic, career and personal journey. Her first enrolment in 2014 was influenced by her whānau; her mum and brother both completed degrees at Waikato. This time her enrollment was an accumulation of many factors: wanting her daughter to grow up speaking Te Reo Māori, strengthening her own personal wealth and gaining a better understanding of the people she worked with.

“While at Youth Justice New Zealand, I was working with predominantly Māori rangatahi, whānau and colleagues. Many of my colleagues could speak Te Reo Māori and they reminded me of the importance of knowing and learning Te Reo Māori to enable a better connection with others and myself.”

Upon completion of this diploma, Tiari hopes to be accepted into the Clinical Psychology Programme where she will have a greater understanding of her own identity.

Tiari recognises the challenges that come with leaving work and returning to study but is grateful for the support of the scholarship.

“It’s great that the University is supporting people by breaking down those financial barriers so they can further their education.”

Click here to learn more about the Alumni Scholarship. Applications will open in November 2022.

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