Master of Sport, Exercise and Health student
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Exercise Science and Nutrition & Sport and Exercise Science
Studying nutrition really sparked her passion for food and its use as medicine, says Olivia Malamatenios who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, and is now enrolled in a Master of Sport, Exercise and Health.
“My nutrition courses made me realise that what you put in your body is so important. Once I got into the final year of my bachelor’s degree and I started to branch out more into my majors, this helped me find my path of wanting to help others to incorporate healthier lifestyle factors to benefit their overall wellbeing. My goal is to work in health promotion once I complete my studies, and inspire others to live a more active and healthier life.”
It’s little surprise that Olivia is following her passion for nutrition for her master’s degree research, and is developing a food classification system to accurately quantify food quality by looking at the levels of food processing.
“I’m doing this research because there’s a need for a more robust determinant capturing food quality and intake. My research could help create more awareness around levels of food processing, beyond nutrients, by using a rating system that can be easily understood and applied to the wider community. Upon completion, this system could also be applied to future public health research to quantify food quality, and would benefit nutrition epidemiology and practice.”
Olivia’s research is being supervised by Professor Grant Schofield.
Following her passion
As someone who has always loved sport and fitness, studying sport and recreation was the obvious degree choice for Olivia.
“I chose to do a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation because of my passion for the outdoors and because I’ve always been an active person who loves sport and fitness. I wanted to learn more about the sport and recreation industry, and helping people has always been a passion of mine. The reason I came to AUT was because it’s a modern university that is ranked highly for sport and recreation.”
After thoroughly enjoying her undergraduate degree, returning to postgraduate study was an easy decision for Olivia.
“I decided to continue into postgraduate study because I love learning, and I wanted to gain more knowledge and expertise in the field of physical activity and nutrition. I’m so grateful to have received a scholarship to support my postgraduate study; giving me another incentive to do extra well.”
Highlights and opportunities
While she has had a number of highlights throughout her time at AUT, the workplace experience and practical courses are what Olivia has enjoyed most about her studies.
“I’ve loved having the opportunity to gain industry experience throughout my studies and apply the theory I had learnt. For my workplace experience I was placed in some awesome positions including working with the New Zealand Police, or doing strength and conditioning roles with the performance hub. These experiences also encouraged me to do extra volunteering outside of my studies.
“All the practical courses have been another thing I’ve loved. I’m a kinaesthetic learner, and have found the outdoor activities and lab workshops a rich learning experience.”
She has also been particularly impressed by her master’s degree supervisor.
“My supervisor and lecturer Professor Grant Schofield has been inspiring throughout my studies; always challenging and influencing me to keep up to date with the latest science and research in the field. He also helped me realise my potential and discover the areas that interest me the most.”