Samoan gets N.Z. technology scholarship

A Samoan student at the University of Waikato has been awarded a Toloa Tertiary Scholarship funded by New Zealand's Ministry of Pacific People. 

Anunson Ott, a 2018 graduate of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), just completed his first year bachelor in engineering and is now in his second year of studying in New Zealand.

He is taking a bachelor of engineering with honors, majoring in civil engineering and is one of 13 Pacific Island students to receive the award, which is designed to encourage more Pacific Island students to go into the fields of science and technology. 

“It’s a real honour to receive the scholarship and it’s such a big help for Pacific Island students. Many students struggle to fund their tertiary study. This scholarship can help to take some of the pressure off,” he said.

The awards were announced by New Zealand’s Minister of Pacific People, Aupito William Sio late last month.

The Toloa Tertiary Scholarship winners represent some of the best Pacific talent, studying some of the world’s most advanced sciences and technologies.

Only two percent of the Pacific workforce are involved in science, technology, math and engineering (S.T.E.M.) careers and the Toloa Scholarship programme aims to encourage more Pacific people to embrace S.T.E.M. subjects to increase participation and interest.

Mr Ott said he hopes his achievement will challenge and help encourage other students to pursue engineering as a career, and is looking forward to sharing his experiences when he completes his studies. 

"Not many Pacific island students are aware of the scholarship and I want to let them know that there is a scholarship available and that they should go for it,” he added.

Peter Ott, the father of the scholarship recipient, told Samoa Observer they were shocked by the news and he only learnt about his son's award in an online article published by the University of Waikato. 

The scholarship is funded by the New Zealand Government which will assist him with fees and tuition as he completes his four-year degree. 

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