Professor Andrea Alfaro moved to New Zealand from America 18 years ago and loves this country for its vast marine life. She feels right at home here, with aquaculture being one of New Zealand’s biggest primary sectors.
Day to day, Andrea works on a number of different projects in her role as Research Cluster Leader for the Institute of Applied Ecology New Zealand at AUT.
Throughout her time here, Andrea has worked closely with the Pacific. She has facilitated a distance learning programme that enables students from Fiji National University to finish their third year of a Bachelor of Applied Science through correspondence with AUT. This went on for 12 years and now Fiji National University has the resources and knowledge to teach the degree itself.
Andrea currently has a lot of students from the South Pacific who want to learn techniques and complete degrees here at AUT in order to return to their countries and enhance their productivity.
"I've got projects in places like Indonesia and New Caledonia, and the idea is to really work with communities through students."
AUT has helped Andrea grow within its flexible environment. She believes that with the focus on culture, innovation and applied technologies, AUT is an ideal place to work as a professor and a researcher.
"The environment at AUT allows for growth and gives us the support to succeed," she says.