3rd-year student, Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations
She has always had a strong interest in the film and creative arts industry, says Jzayla Hughey who is currently completing a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations with a minor in Screen Production.
“I’d love a career working with global on-screen productions. I’ve previously worked on filmsets and was immersed in Aotearoa’s film industry as an actress, production assistant and talent booker, and wanted to expand my qualifications even further. In addition to on-screen acting, I can’t wait to dive into other opportunities, using my PR knowledge gained from my Bachelor of Communication Studies and inspiring others to follow their hearts too.”
Jzayla says she was drawn to AUTs communications degree because of its strong connections to the film industry and the broader career paths it opens up.
“With modern facilities, a community-driven environment, a high standard of support and inclusivity throughout all areas of the university, I was convinced AUT was the best place to gain further qualifications.
“I love that the Bachelor of Communication Studies is very practical, enabling students to experience various roles, and understand the responsibilities and perspectives of each. Having the opportunity to challenge myself outside my comfort zone in practical applications has been a valuable experience. It has helped build my confidence working behind the scenes within the entertainment industry. Being multi-ethnic, the incorporation of cultural inclusivity within multiple courses is another aspect I appreciate.”
Valuable recognition from Discovery NZ
A major highlight of Jzayla’s experience at AUT was being awarded a Discovery NZ AUT Communication Studies Scholarship to support the final year of her studies.
“I remember realising mid-interview with the Discovery NZ executive panel that these inspiring and impressive people, who are high up in the industry, have values and passions that align with mine. To be mentored by and learn alongside experienced and influential professionals at Discovery NZ is an experience gained through AUT that I will forever cherish. I believe it is helping propel my career direction and life purpose.”
This scholarship is an incredibly valuable opportunity for her as a student and a woman of colour in New Zealand, says Jzayla who was born in the US, grew up in Queensland and moved to Auckland in 2016 to pursue a career in film.
“The work environment of Discovery NZ cares for diversity and inclusion within the entertainment industry, and this is exactly what I strive to be part of. The opportunity has sparked my passion and made me really excited and hopeful for my career. I’m truly grateful that AUT was able to partner with Discovery NZ to offer this opportunity.”
Advice for other students
Expecting to complete her studies in mid-2023, Jzayla has some great advice for other students who are just at the start of their university journey.
“Get involved and take up as many of the opportunities offered at AUT as you can. Sometimes you might bite off more than you can chew, but each opportunity may lead to something really exciting. Don’t sit back and wait for things to happen to you – go and get them! Make the most of your uni years.”
She is certainly making the most of her own time at AUT.
“My degree enables me to develop practical skills prior to graduation through an internship as a junior social media producer on Dancing with the Stars NZ. This internship introduced me to industry professionals, helping me network while also developing communication, technical and creativity skills for working on set. It has really opened my eyes to new and exciting possibilities within the industry.
“Outside of studying, I enjoy meeting new people through AUT clubs and events – especially the Student Volunteer Army AUT and the AUT Offgrid club, which is a hiking group. Not only has AUT helped me expand my skills and qualifications, it has also helped me build life experience, friends and connections.”