To'oa Faleaupu Brown
To’oa, from Samoa, graduated from the University of Auckland in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geography and Environmental Science. She was the recipient of a New Zealand Scholarship.
“I currently work as a GIS Specialist at a regional company called Skyeye Pacific based in Samoa. I was first introduced to GIS – Geographic information Systems – through my geography courses at the University of Auckland and thought “Wow, this is interesting. I could actually apply it to a lot of the issues we face in the Pacific as we are at the frontline of climate change.”
“Geography wasn’t my first option to be honest, as I never studied geography in college. I mainly focused on science subjects such as biology, physics and chemistry and wanted to become a doctor or an engineer. However, with climate change becoming such a global problem, I wanted to align my studies with my passion for conservation.”
Throughout my degree I gained a lot of knowledge that enables me to confidently find solutions in my current role. It has greatly enhanced my decision-making abilities, my confidence in public speaking, my English vocabulary, and other hard and soft skills.
“I worked on various projects during my time at University. As a team research project in my third year, we mapped, accessed and surveyed areas along four urban rivers in Gisborne to test water quality indicators and E. coli levels. This field research allowed me to develop both theoretical and practical skills, and to gain experience of field techniques.
“My advice to future University of Auckland students is to take the opportunity to soak in everything you can. Expand your network and take work experience relevant to your degree, such as summer internships. It will pay off to have work experience before you enter the ‘world of work’ once you graduate.”