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Issie - Image (1)
Issie Robertson has been busy with her studies at the Pinnacle Programme through Hyundai.

Empowering other young Kiwis to pursue careers in STEM is the big dream for one Otago Arts and Sciences student.

Issie Robertson recently graduated from Hyundai's Pinnacle Programme which, alongside her studies, has set her up for an exciting new chapter and is propelling her life-long dreams into action.

The Pinnacle Programme sponsors young New Zealanders with a wide range of passions, from sports to music, to reach their full potential through mentorship and life-changing experiences.

Issie joined the programme while still in high school and spent four years making the most of the opportunities it offered to her.

“In the first stage we completed Spirit of Adventure. There's also cultural competency courses for countries around the world. I did a public speaking course too.”

In the second of three programme stages, Issie joined the team for Outward Bound.

“It was pretty incredible. 21 days off the grid. It was the beginning of 2020 and what was surreal was arriving back to hear about this new virus, having been completely unaware.”

COVID-19 has not stopped Issie from learning and developing during the Hyundai-funded programme.

Issie - Image
Issie Robertson has been busy with her studies at the Pinnacle Programme through Hyundai.

“Stage three was the most personal. We went away on a retreat, six of us and six mentors. We talked about the direction we want to go in with our careers, stayed on Māori owned land and learned the importance of the Māori world view.

“On the retreat you set a year-long plan and your mentor helps you to implement that.”

While Issie has followed her science and business interests on the programme, she says Pinnacle students have a wide range of interests and the programme isn't limited to one field.

“One girl in my group is an aspiring makeup artist. Another was a singer-songwriter, and they were linking her up with other New Zealand artists. Another guy from my group was set up with a three-week internship for an engineering firm and his mentor even set him up in his holiday home for accommodation during the internship. It's pretty amazing.”

Now, as an alumna of the programme, Issie is getting prepared for her future and looking at ways to support the next lot of students to enter the programme.

“The idea is that those of us who have been given to by the programme will use our learning to give to the next generation too.”

Next on the cards, Issie is heading to Edinburgh for an exchange where she will complete her Bachelor of Arts and Science (Chemistry and Economics).

After that, she will start in an “exciting” role as a strategy consultant with a firm in Sydney.

“It's going to be a shock going from a Scottish winter to a Sydney summer,” she laughs.

Kōrero by Internal Communications Adviser Chelsea McRae

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