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Amelia Kirisome (second from left) is a recent recipient of the Toloa Scholarship along with Micobiology student Tisiola Talalima (middle) and Zoology student Jade Christiansen (second from right).

Connecting with her heritage has been an important part of one student's journey here at Otago.

Amelia Kirisome is about to complete her Bachelor of Science (Surveying) and is a recent recipient of the Toloa Tertiary Scholarship. The scholarship, which is supported by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, recognises students in the Pacific community who demonstrate leadership skills, participate in their community and excel in their studies.

For Amelia the recognition has been special.

“This has meant a lot to me and my family, who are very proud.”

The 27-year-old says she is amazed at the chance to get to know more about what makes up part of who she is.

“During my time in Dunedin, I have been part of the Pacific Island Centre who have supported me throughout my studies.”

Amelia was awarded the scholarship in Christchurch earlier this year.

“The Ministry for Pacific Peoples hosted an awards ceremony and I was flown to Christchurch, along with my mum. I was grateful for this opportunity. I felt inspired by a speech given by Aupito William Sio the Minister for Pacific Peoples, encouraging the recipients to continue to contribute to the Pasifika STEM community.”

Amelia, who grew up in Wainuiomata, is excited for her career in Surveying and feels prepared by her time at Otago.

“I hadn't heard of Surveying as a career option until I did a quiz online to see what my future job should be. Surveying came up because it combines so many areas I'm interested in such as law, design and computing. I thought I'd take a chance and I love it.

“I want to be a Hydrographic or Cadastral Surveyor. Recruitment will commence soon and I will be finishing my studies at the end of the year. I can't wait to begin my career in the industry. It's a great career path if you like math and being outdoors.”

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