Hanne Mellsop

Hanne Mellsop

Senior Leader for Programmes, Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC)
Master of Sport, Exercise and Health
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Outdoor Education and Bachelor of Business in Marketing

The people she met throughout her studies were the highlight of her time at university, says Hanne Mellsop who completed double degrees in business and sport, followed by a Master of Sport, Exercise and Health specialising in outdoor education.

“What I enjoyed most about studying at AUT were the relationships I built with my lecturers and classmates. From my first day at AUT I’ve felt so welcomed and supported, and my postgraduate degree was no exception. The lecturers want the best for you and they want to know about you, which makes you feel valued and encourages you to strive for your best. It’s an awesome community!”

Being able to learn more about outdoor education through her studies was inspiring for Hanne.

“My journey through the outdoor education pathway has continuously inspired me and sparked my passion to pursue a career in this industry. I can’t thank my outdoor lecturers enough for the impact they’ve had on me. If you ever have the opportunity to take an outdoor education course, even as an elective, I’d highly recommend doing so. You meet some awesome people and see some epic places.”

Finding her passion
As passionate as she is about outdoor education now, Hanne admits she wasn’t always sure what she wanted to do once she finished high school.

“When I left school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I knew I loved learning, so I chose the two subjects I enjoyed most at school – business and sport. I chose to study at AUT because I knew it was one of the leading universities in the sport and recreation space, and I had heard that AUT had smaller class sizes and offered more practical elements in comparison to other universities. I knew that being in a lecture theatre with 1,000 people isn’t the best way for me to learn.”

She would highly recommend AUT’s sport and recreation programmes to other students, says Hanne who is proud of being on the dean’s honour roll in the first two years of her business degree, and received the award for the best student presentation during her final-year workplace experience.

“I’d absolutely recommend the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation to others, especially if you’re unsure of what you want to do after university. You get a taste of each major in the first year, which was where I gained my passion to study outdoor education. Then, if you’re still unsure, you can do a mix of all the majors through a standard pathway. The opportunities to gain industry experience and connections throughout the programme are another reason I’d highly recommend this degree.”

New insights into outdoor education
When she had the chance to continue her studies with a master’s degree, Hanne didn’t hesitate. Her Master of Sport, Exercise and Health research was supervised by Associate Professor Mike Brown from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation.

“Following my undergraduate study, I was still a little unsure of what I wanted to. I love being in this learning environment, so I decided to continue into postgraduate study to further develop my knowledge and understanding of outdoor education.

“My master’s degree research aimed to better understand the role of the facilitator in outdoor and environmental education, and find out what is best practice in achieving sustainability outcomes. After many discussions with my supervisor, we chose to conduct this research through an autoethnography to broaden my understanding of my own facilitation and positively influence how I lead outdoor sessions. I look forward to sharing my learnings with my colleagues in the outdoor industry and hopefully feed back into AUT’s outdoor education degree.”

Having now completed her master’s degree, Hanne has recently been offered a full-time role at the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC) as a senior leader for programmes.

“This involves designing programmes, developing new offerings, supporting management team initiatives and developing green initiatives. I’m excited to incorporate the learnings from my master's degree into my new role.”

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