Jackie Berryman

Jackie Berryman

Digital Marketing Assistant, AUT
Bachelor of Design in Communication Design

Tainui, Maniapoto

She has always loved art and design, says communication design alumna Jackie Berryman.

"In secondary school, I really enjoyed studying art. I knew that when it was time to go to university, I would either study art or music. Word of mouth was that AUT was the best when it comes to art and design, and a lady from AUT's student recruitment team came to our school and encouraged me to apply for AUT. And what do you know? It changed my life.

"When I arrived at AUT I realised how much I enjoyed the diversity here and that it's a university that encourages a lot of different opinions. I really appreciated that."

Bringing art to life
The calibre of the academic staff was one of the highlights of her studies, says Jackie who received a Significant Student Scholarship to support her studies at AUT.

"One of the people I'll always remember is Dr Johnson Witehira who brought the Māori aspects of art and design into the classroom. Having grown up in a wharekura, this was something I immediately felt familiar with. Another lecturer who stood out to me was Dr Peter Gilderdale who always managed to bring the topics to life in his lectures."

She enjoyed being able to try out different techniques and technologies throughout her degree, Jackie says.

"One of my favourite papers in the first year was the Materials and Media paper as it was so hands-on. I also loved being able to try out different technologies and apply them to my artwork. This was very different from secondary school where we had mainly used pencil and paper."

Advice for other students
Don't be scared of the move to university, Jackie advises other students.

"I grew up in a Māori language environment, so coming to AUT was a bit of a culture shock. At first, I was very shy and quiet, but looking around the classroom I could see that everyone else was in the same boat. My advice to others is not to be afraid, especially if you're moving to the big city. Just take the risk and you'll soon see the benefits."

There's plenty of support to help students adjust to university, Jackie says.

"My supervisor, Wiremu Tipuna from the Māori student support team, was awesome and he would catch up up with me to check I was on the right track. Wiremu was one of the significant people for me, and really helped me through my degree.

"Living in the Akoranga Student Village at the AUT North Campus also really helped me. The accommodation advisors helped us settle in and made everything easy. Living in accommodation opened me up to new experiences and helped me make new friends who then became my flatmates in my second year."