To support their leap into science and technology related careers, nine Pasifika students have received scholarships worth $25,000 each.
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples honoured the students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields with the Toloa Tertiary Scholarship.
Two south Auckland students, Sisilia Teu and Christian ‘Uhila received their scholarship from the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Alfred Ngaro.
Mangere East girl Sisilia Teu has always been fascinated by technology and plans to “go into software”.
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“I realise how rapidly the world is moving in terms of digital and technological practices, especially in the corporate world, which also influenced me to study ICT [Information Communication Technology] so I could keep up with innovative technological advancements and be more digitally savvy,” she says.
Once she finishes her study at the University of Otago she says she would also encourage other Pasifika students into studying ICT or any other STEM subjects.
“I feel that Pasifika youth are under-represented in STEM careers because they aren’t being encouraged or willing to pursue careers in STEM. This is also because the interest isn’t developed early enough,” she states.
She hopes to help south Auckland youth by teaching holding workshops to teach basic life skills like financing, how and why you should save, etc.
“I hope to be able to educate and encourage youth in south Auckland to pursue their passions or teach specific STEM topics, business and English that can add to what they’re already learning in schools,” she says.
She loves the cultural diversity in her suburb.
But says she would “reduce the amount of liquor stores and fast food stores in the area”.
“We need less of these and more community gardens and projects that engage our youth, families and our elderly to help improve health issues prominent amongst Pasifika people and create better, healthier futures for our youth”.
For now, all she has to say to Maori and Pacific youth is “find what you’re really passionate about and just go for it”.
“Work hard, put 120 per cent effort into whatever you do and don’t ever be afraid to be different.”