Graduate Electrical Engineer, Electrical Power Corporation, Vaitele, Samoa
Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Electrical Engineering
Studying engineering was the obvious choice for her, says Luna-Rossa Lomitusi-Ape who came to AUT from Samoa to complete a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Electrical Engineering.
“From a young age I’ve had a deep love for technology and how things worked, as well as problem-solving and puzzles. I knew that becoming an engineer in Samoa will allow me to work with new technology and contribute to the development of my country. I strongly believe in sustainability, so the best way for me to promote sustainability was to become an electrical engineer and help Samoa and other Pacific nations develop towards a sustainable future with renewable energy.
“I also want to be able to encourage more women, especially in the Pacific, to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths as a potential career path as well as promote sustainability in the Islands.”
Since completing her degree, she has now returned to Samoa where she works as a graduate electrical engineer in the Distribution and Utility Division for the country's only power provider, the Electrical Power Corporation.
“Our division team is located at Vaitele, on Samoa's main island, Upolu, and we ensure that the electricity supply is efficiently maintained and delivered. We repair and instal power poles and transmission lines across the island weekly to ensure that everyone gets power securely and safely.
“In the event of an interruption in the supply of power, we have a dedicated transformer, switchgear and underground team, along with our trusty linesmen on each unit. These teams work around the clock to ensure the supply of power is secure. As one of three engineers based in this division, it is my privilege to work alongside professionals who have served the company for over 30 years, sharing knowledge and learning from their experience. We meet many different people each week and have tasks to accomplish throughout the island.”
She has always wanted to attend AUT, Luna-Rossa says.
“I used to visit it when I was younger as my mother attended university here. I also chose AUT because not only does it have great student support services, a welcoming community and a beautiful campus, it also has various study options for students pursuing STEM degrees. There are also many fun clubs and events to join at AUT. Believe it or not, they even have an anime and gaming club. There are also many professional events to help you develop your professional profile for your future career.”
There have been many highlights throughout her time at university.
“So many engineering lecturers were very passionate about what they taught and about their students’ future careers, and they had a lot of life experience to share in class. They were also very wonderful to connect with outside of class and welcomed all forms of questions, from class lectures and assignments to career advice. My time at AUT wouldn’t have been as delightful without the liveliness of our electrical lecturers and technicians.
“During my time here at AUT, I was blessed with many achievements and experiences. After my first year, I was awarded the 2020 Ross Muir Award by the New Zealand Institute of Electronics for being a promising student in my field of study. I was also blessed to be offered an engineering internship from the Pacific Cooperation Foundation in my second year. Another highlight was participating in the AUT Young Sustainable Leaders programme, which led me to becoming a student ambassador and welcome new students to AUT and show them the ropes.”
Advice for other students
Luna-Rossa’s advice for other students is simple: make good friends.
“The best way to make it through uni is to make good friends; friends who keep you in check, friends to work with on assignments and friends you can ask for help. You never know, you might know something they don’t, and they might know something that you don’t, and if we all come together, think of the great things and memories we can achieve.”
She also has some advice for students still wondering if an engineering career is right for them.
“Engineering isn’t for everyone, but if you do want to pursue a career in engineering, I can tell you there’s a large selection of specialisations you can choose from. This is because every industry has a sector dedicated to specific engineers that solve technical problems and provide solutions to ideas and issues that happen in our everyday lives. If you love technology and problem solving, then maybe a career in engineering is what you’re looking for.”