Masika Alexia Paky

Masika Alexia Paky

Trainee Medical Lab Technician, Labtests
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science and Microbiology

Hearing her lecturer outline all the different pathways a microbiology degree could lead to was eye-opening, says Masika Alexia Paky who studied a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science and Microbiology.

“My lightbulb moment was during a first-year microbiology lecture when Associate Professor Donnabella Lacap-Bugler was going through all the sectors that connect to microbiology. My mind was blown because I thought it was only in the hospitals that microbiology could be used. I was excited because my career path had been spread wide open, and she really helped to keep the spark of passion alive with her great lectures and fun lab assignments.”

Now Masika gets to live her passion for microbiology every day through her role as a trainee medical lab technician for Labtests.

“In this role, I’m helping with the processing of COVID-19 tests and other tests. It’s a dream come true because Labtests was one of companies repeatedly mentioned to us as students as one of the companies we could potentially work for when we graduate.”

An enjoyable university experience
She has loved science since high school, Masika says.

“I have an inquisitive mind, and I wanted to know how small organisms affected the world we live in and how they can be used to make our lives better. When I was deciding where to study, I was drawn to AUT because of its friendly atmosphere, plethora of course options and good reviews from my family members.”

There were plenty of highlights for her throughout her time at AUT.

“One of the highpoints for me was meeting lifelong friends because a good support system is so essential in keeping you afloat if things aren’t going according to plan. I was very proud when I passed a course that many students fail the first time round – that was a sign of reassurance that I was in the right degree. Because AUT is based in Auckland’s CBD, I also got to explore Auckland City and see what it had to offer.”

Advice for other students
Having completed her studies in 2020, Masika has some great advice for other students.

“My advice to future students is to always ask ‘Why?’. You never know what you could find out. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.”

She admits that the start of her own degree had its challenges, but reaching out for help made a big difference.

“My biggest challenge was dealing with mental illness because the stress of uni life is a lot more than high school. I wasn’t doing so well at the beginning of my degree and my grades were taking a hit. I reached out to the Disability Student Support team at AUT, and they were able to support me to help reduce the stress. This allowed me to bounce back and power through the rest of my degree.”

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