Tuākana Science Scholar Halaevalu found a passion for empowering others to overcome their fear of asking questions as a mathematics and statistics double major.
Programme: Bachelor of Science
Subject: Mathematics and Statistics
“I studied Mathematics to help get into Engineering, and also to follow in my parents’ footsteps, as they were both always good with maths and engineering. I studied a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Mathematics and Statistics.
“One thing I loved about my time studying Mathematics and Statistics is the Tuākana programme. Sometimes there is a perception that Tuākana is for dumb students, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. To me, Tuākana is about having a place to feel you belong in the system, which is valuable for those students who are shy and feel embarrassed to ask questions. And that includes a lot more people than many might realise! The Tuākana room was my second home; lecturers and tutors were there every day just to answer questions and to hang out. I remember waking up every morning throughout my whole degree, looking forward to going to the Tuākana space, and having that relationship with the tutors made me fearless when it came to learning – it helped me take more control of my study. I succeeded because I realised that fear is the only thing that stops you from growing.
“My first internship was as a Data Analyst for Pacific Medical Association after I graduated in 2020, and I still use my skills in Mathematics every day. Without that basis in mathematics, I wouldn’t be able to get into Engineering, and I think it benefits me immensely in that field."
Overcoming the fear of asking questions is the first step of discovering how to fly.
“I also use my passion for Mathematics to teach kids in the community – I run a free maths class that has more than 200 kids in it currently. Some of them are now top in mathematics in their school, just from one year of study every Saturday. I’m proud to say the class has really opened the door for kids from all over Auckland, all the way from Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch, Australia, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, China, India, the Philippines, and more.
“Right now I am studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), and work with Women in Engineering (WEN). I really love working with WEN UoA because I get to help current students encourage young secondary school girls to pursue an engineering degree. We run workshops in schools all over the country, which is so exciting!
“Ultimately I would do anything to help motivate students who are going through what I went through. Overcoming the fear of asking questions is the first step to discovering how to fly. Overcome that fear and you will find out how strong you really are, and how far you can go!”