'I had a desire to help individuals help themselves...'
Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health Education and Public Health
Megan’s Health Sciences studies, focused around public health services and education, gives her a unique opportunity to contribute to the societal health of New Zealand.
‘I had a desire to help individuals help themselves, by providing knowledge and teaching skills so people can make their own information-based decisions about their health,’ she says.
UC’s approach to health education and critical analysis of health issues was exactly what Megan was looking for in Health Sciences studies.
‘I love my degree and love my lecturers – especially the Health Education lecturers,’ she says. ‘They were passionate about the area they teach in and were very supportive and accessible. I enjoyed having lots of opportunity to practice skills and apply knowledge in classes.
‘The degree focused on contemporary health issues faced nationally and internationally increasing my understanding that a person’s health and health behaviours are impacted on and influenced by multiple, interconnected factors.’
Her favourite aspect of the degree was the opportunity to complete an internship in the workforce during her final year. Megan’s internship involved work with Dr Lucy Hone, from the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience.
‘I developed a programme of workshops for primary school parents, based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, with the purpose of increasing their Wellbeing Literacy. It was an amazing opportunity to work with a highly respected consultant, guest speaker, author, blogger and columnist,’ she says. ‘I gained invaluable, practical, “real world” experience during my internship with Lucy.’
Another amazing opportunity was through the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship Summer Startup Programme, in which students can pitch their ideas for a business venture and receive mentoring support or funding.
Megan’s project received a UC Innovators’ Summer Start-up Scholarship, which involves developing a ‘wellbeing toolkit’ for schools with year 9-13 students, based on evidence from wellbeing science.
Working as a member of the UCSA Equity and Wellbeing Advisory Group in 2017 was another way to consolidate her experiences from study. UCSA EWAG ensures that students have a range of support services and inclusive activities available.
‘There are lots of opportunity to get involved in clubs and the UCSA, and heaps of support for students who struggle academically or have disabilities which impact on their learning,’ she says.
Now finished her degree studies, Megan’s next step is work as a facilitator of the ACC ‘Mates and Dates’ programme for Christchurch high schools, teaching healthy relationships and reducing sexual violence.