Master of Public Health student
She has a passion for improving children’s nutrition in Papua New Guinea, says Princess John who came to AUT as an international student, supported by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade New Zealand – Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship.
“My motivation is driven by the high stunting rate in children under five in Papua New Guinea. I used to wonder why there are so many stunted children in a country of food. If there’s an opportunity in the future, I’d love to work in a field related to nutrition and children, primarily to implement the existing policies around children’s nutrition, with the aim of reducing the high stunting rate in children in PNG.”
What fascinates her about public health is that enables her to play a part in improving people’s lives every day.
“Public health plays a crucial role in the promotion of health, prevention of disease and the empowerment of individuals, especially in vulnerable populations. Not only does this discipline help promote good health and prevent diseases, it also puts an emphasis on research which I’m passionate about. Evidence-based research is essential for informing policymakers about ways to improve the health and wellbeing of the population at large.”
Expecting to complete her studies later this year, she has thoroughly enjoyed the Master of Public Health.
“I enjoyed the different courses across the discipline, including courses on the global burden of health issues, public health policies and management, nutrition and research. I also took some fascinating courses from the disaster risk management programme, which gave me some insights into how to build resilience, especially in the aftermath of a natural disaster, as well as how to get prepared for such hazards.”
She has been particularly impressed by her postgraduate supervisor, says Princess whose master’s degree research focuses on sociodemographic determinants of essential health interventions and nutrition outcomes for young children in Papua New Guinea.
“The primary supervisor for my master’s degree research is Dr Ailsa Holloway and the co-supervisor is Dr Melanie Moylan. Dr Ailsa Holloway was my inspiration since she nurtured in me the knowledge of issues around children’s malnutrition and food insecurity in developing countries, including PNG. I’ve learnt a lot from her during our discussion sessions, not only on nutrition but also on other health issues that contribute to poor nutrition in children and their entire household.”
Advice for other students
Princess says she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the public health programmes.
“I’d highly recommend studying public health because it improves health awareness, influences government policies and ensures that everyone is aware of health hazards by offering educational programmes.”
AUT offers a good university environment for international students, she adds.
“As a new international student, you won’t feel lost at AUT as the student support services are awesome. There is this great team at the Student Hub, which will be your first contact point where you can get all necessary advice. And after all your hard work, you’ll be a great graduate from a university that is highly recognised globally.”