Lanuola Anna Jeffries (pictured) dreams of a future where Pacific peoples of all walks of life see the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) sectors like she does.
“The opportunities these sectors have to offer are endless,” says the 27-year-old from Hastings.
A second-generation Samoan, Lanuola was born in Wellington and grew up in the Horowhenua.
She is currently enrolled in her third and final year of design at the Eastern institute of Technology (EIT) in the Hawkes Bay.
Lanuola is also enrolled in an online course studying User Experience and User Interface with the UX Design institute to develop her skills in website and app design.
Last year, Lanuola received a Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Toloa Tertiary Scholarship which she says has enabled her to pursue her design career aspirations.
The Toloa Tertiary Scholarship initiative aims to inspire and support Pacific students in their engagement with STEAM, providing funds to cover their tuition fees and compulsory course related fees.
Tertiary Scholarship packages include tertiary tuition fees and compulsory course related fees up to $10,000, for one year of fulltime study for STEAM-related tertiary courses and subjects.
“The Toloa Scholarship has allowed me to pursue my dream career in design and given me the opportunity to grow my knowledge and education by allowing me to focus solely on my studies and commit to a three-year degree,” Lanuola says.
Over the next two years, she hopes to complete her Creative Practice degree and chase a role which not only utilises her skills but allows her to give back to the Pacific community by promoting STEAM opportunities.
“During the next five years I would also love to start a business venture using Pacific concepts and designs I learned at university and through my own research.”
In the meantime, Lanuola will continue supporting Pacific students at EIT and the community, showcasing her ambitions within STEAM sectors and promoting the support which is available.
“There are several regional Pacific hubs, such as Tautua Village in Gisborne, that allow Pacific people to be creative, innovative and inspire them to be confident in themselves and their goals - I want to encourage them on their journey,” she adds.
In February and March, MPP will be awarding the 2023 Toloa Tertiary and Secondary Scholarships to 300 people, and the Toloa Contestable Funding to five groups.
Visit the MPP website for more information on the Toloa initiative.