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Young alumni

Alyce Lysaght

24 July 2023

BE (Hons)/DipGlobalHumanEng 2022

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Graduate Water Engineer and Host of Māori in Engineering podcast

What do you enjoy most about your role as a Water Engineer for WSP?

I mostly enjoy the idea of going to work every day and at the end of it, giving back to the community and the environment. In terms of being a water engineer specifically – it’s quite an important time to be in the industry because of the water reforms, especially in Wellington where I’m based. Trying to figure out different and better ways of doing things, and navigating that process is something I really enjoy.

We heard that you were a nominee for the 2023 Engineering NZ Board. What inspired you to run for this position?

While I was unsuccessful in the 2023 board, I was inspired to run as I hadn’t seen anyone like myself on the board. I’m passionate about trying to navigate the engineering space for future generations, especially being a young person myself, and thought that even if I didn’t get it, my running for a position like this might help to inspire future generations and other rangatahi to go for it.

Did you always want to go into engineering? What was it that drew you specifically to specialise in Natural Resources?

When I started Year 13, I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do after school. I chose subjects at the start of that year that interested me – and they ended up being the pre-requisites for engineering, which seemed like a sign! My physics teacher studied engineering and also mentioned it to me, which helped to spark the idea and lead me down that path. I enjoyed calculus and physics, and also wanted to work on helping to solve climate change. Engineering and working in natural resources seemed like a really good fit for that.

While studying you created a new podcast series, Māori in Engineering. What were your biggest highlights and learnings with this podcast?

Highlights would definitely be meeting everyone that I have and hearing about how meaningful their stories have been to those listening. I started this podcast because I thought it was important to create an accessible space to showcase awesome Māori doing awesome things in the engineering space. Every episode, there is the opportunity for someone to learn something different and another story told of Māori in the engineering space in the hope we do things better in the future.

My biggest learning from the podcast was that the idea of listening and learning from someone is powerful. We live in a world that is relationship based, and the podcast really leaned itself as a platform to do this.

Were you involved in any extra-curriculars while at UC?

Yes! I was pretty involved in the Student Volunteer Army for 3 years – as Vice-President in my final year and on the Exec before that. I was also a student representative for Te Akatoki (UC’s Māori Students Association) and connecting with ākonga here was really awesome. I was also involved in ENG Me! as a mentor for first year Māori ākonga for a few years (which helped inspire me to start the podcast), and did some tutoring, which actually helped own academic grades.

Outside of this I was also learning te reo Māori at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa night school and was a member of the Return to Science Physical Sciences Investment Committee with UniServices. I am really grateful to always have had the option of the spaces I wanted to operate in.

What advice would you give to a new grad entering the workforce after uni?

It’s okay to feel all the emotions – especially if it’s not what you thought it was going to be. You don’t have to be a changemaker straight away, sometimes things take time to progress or work out.

Investing in relationships, both with yourself and elsewhere is also important. With that, it’s also okay to ask for opportunities – no one is a mind reader and sometimes it’s best to voice what you want.

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