Influencing the influencers.
Getting to know Kevin
Master of Policy and Governance (MPAG)
What prompted you to pursue your Master’s Degree?
I’m live in Port Vila where I teach at the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education (VITE). There, we are responsible for implementing the government’s educational policies in relation to Teacher Education. In my role I’ve seen first-hand how important policy is, so I wanted to be able to participate and influence the decision makers.
You got your undergraduate degree at UC in 2013. Was coming back an easy decision?
It made perfect sense because I knew I could hit the ground running. I’ve always been impressed by the university’s graduate profile and its resilience in times of disaster. I was here through the 2011 earthquake, the mosque attacks and now COVID-19. Not only has UC shown incredible resilience each time, as an individual it’s given me courage to look for the seeds of benefits in times of uncertainty.
What’s been the highlight of your degree so far?
Our 2-day trip to the Beehive in Wellington, which was an amazing experience. We got to sit down and listen to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. It gave me a deep sense of the impact politicians can have on the citizens of a country. I was also invited by the UC VC for lunch and be part of the presentation between UC and Tourism New Zealand on bidding to host International Conference. That was a humbling experience.
What have you enjoyed about UC beyond the classroom?
I played football during my undergrad degree and jumped back into that when I returned. I used to play for the UC top team during my undergraduate days competing in the Mainland Football League in Christchurch. I came back last year and play for UNISOL, the team initiated in 2013 by mostly Pacific Islanders but now we have students from all over the world – Iran, Afghanistan, Australia, Europe competing in Uni League. It’s encouraging to see how sports bring different people together at UC. We’re more than a football team, we’re a family.
Is postgrad study another level of tough?
A lot of people are scared of postgrad studies. The key is to understand what the expectations are. As an adult student from a developing nation, I immediately reached out to professors, lecturers and tutors who have helped me transfer my life experience into an academic context. There’s a lot of support here that you can tap into. Key to being successful in thesis writing is establishing a professional relationship with your supervisor early on at the start and maintain right through the completion stage.
If you could share one piece of advice it would be...
At UC, you can balance both your academic and non-academic life. Capitalise on that freedom to make your university experience a memorable one. Go riding in the Port Hills, sightseeing to Lyttleton or a have a coffee in the city. Create your own story and make it count.
What difference would you like to make back home?
I want to help establish a knowledge-based economy in my country, to raise our collective literacy and inspire young people to pursue education. I’m a positive person and I want to find practical solutions to our problems. My thesis falls within aerospace discipline and I am hopeful it could influence young talents into the Space Industry, to pursue space-related careers.