Inspiring Pacific students to study science

With Pacific people vastly under-represented in the sciences, Massey has been educating Pacific high school students about pathways into science careers.

Massey’s Pacific team with some of the students from Henderson High School

Massey’s Pacific Student Support Coordinator Velonika Nikki Falaniko recently spent the morning with 90 year 11 and 12 Pacific and Māori students from Henderson High School in West Auckland.

“My goal was to make the students aware of the full range of science topics on offer and break the stigma that science is hard,” Ms Falaniko says.

“Many of the students said they were surprised that there are so many different courses they can take in science besides health science, such as earth science, computer science and veterinary science.”

Ms Falaniko was joined by four of Massey’s current Pacific students who shared their own experiences of studying science at university.

“I believe that visiting the students of Henderson High School was a great step towards encouraging students to take up fields in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics),” Fred Tumaai says, who is in his third year of studying information science.

Henderson High School’s Head of Science Laura Zellner said the students left the session feeling inspired and with new ideas on how they could shape their futures.

“Getting to meet science students from Massey allowed our ākonga to see how successful and well supported Māori and Pasifika are in tertiary education, as well as providing them inspiration on which pathway to follow,” Miss Zellner says.

The Pacific Massey team are keen for more opportunities to speak to secondary school students about science careers offered at Massey.

“It was a great opportunity for Henderson High School to be exposed to what Massey has to offer in their science degrees and programme, especially hearing from our current students who were able to share their experiences as Pacific students taking Science at Massey,” Ms Falaniko says.