Albany Lucas has a 'crazy dream' of retraining as a clinical psychologist, but as her family's main income earner she requires plenty of long-term flexibility to make it come true – the University of Otago's DipGrad is providing the perfect start.
Born and raised in Dunedin, Albany undertook all her tertiary study continuously at Otago, including her Master of Bioethics and Health Law. In February 2015 she took up a position as Academic Coordinator within the Division of Health Sciences' Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit. She also has two children and a passion for improving assistance for those with mental health issues.
I want to make a positive difference not only for Pacific students at Otago, but also the wider Pacific communities, so I decided to do a DipGrad in Psychology, and eventually apply to Otago's Clinical Psychology Training Programme.
Albany, whose mother is from Kiribati in the central Pacific, explains, “Mental illness has affected me personally, as well as members of my family. Pacific peoples experience significantly higher rates of mental disorders than the general population in New Zealand. Consequently, there is a real need for more Pacific mental health professionals.
“I want to make a positive difference not only for Pacific students at Otago, but also the wider Pacific communities, so I decided to do a DipGrad in Psychology, and eventually apply to Otago's Clinical Psychology Training Programme.”
Albany says her manager's enthusiasm for professional development means he has been incredibly supportive. She adds that the Director of the Diploma for Graduates Programme Willem Labuschagne and the advisor for Psychology DipGrads Libby Schaughency have both been extremely helpful in tailoring her programme of study.
“I am just taking one paper per semester at this stage. I am very grateful to be able to complete my DipGrad over a few years. It even includes all of the papers on my 'wish list'!”