3rd-year student, Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
Certificate in Applied Science
She has always admired people who work in the hospital, says Rosemarie Tioti O’Connor who came to AUT as an international student from Kiribati to study medical laboratory science. Her studies are supported by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade New Zealand – Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship.
“To me, the people who work in hospitals are the definition of heroes. Some of my family members back at home in Kiribati work in hospitals and they were the best motivators for me to pursue a career in the medical field. Their immense dedication to their work and the positive impact they have on people’s health and lives were a major driving force in my career choice.
“Medical laboratory scientists play a huge role in the medical field by conducting diagnostic tests on patient samples to provide vital information to assist a doctor in the diagnosis, monitoring, treatment and prevention of diseases for patients. There currently aren’t enough medical laboratory scientists in my remote island country of Kiribati and medical laboratory science is one of the priority fields of study for my country.”
Expecting to complete her studies in 2023, Rosemarie is looking forward to applying her skills to make a difference to her people.
“Once I finish my study, I’ll return to Kiribati to work as a medical laboratory scientist in the histology and haematology departments. I’d like to play my part in providing better healthcare for the community, and contribute to the social and economic development of my country.”
Supported to thrive
Rosemarie says she is thoroughly enjoying her studies at AUT so far.
“I’m very fortunate to have great lecturers who are all very passionate about teaching their expert subjects. They always remind us how important the job of a medical laboratory scientist is, and I was especially captured when they talked passionately about their work experiences related to what we were learning. I also love that they frequently announce job opportunities for anyone interested in working part-time or full-time during the summer.
“I enjoy the laboratory sessions where we have hands-on experience of the practical aspects of our study. This helps us understand more about the subject matter, beyond the theory, and get a better picture of what to do in the industry. AUT labs have great facilities that enable us to be comfortable with handling laboratory equipment. I look forward to the clinical placements in the fourth year, which will provide valuable industry experience.”
She has also appreciated the range of support services students can access at AUT.
“I’ve really enjoyed the many great support services, including the library workshops, learning community peer mentors and Studiosity, to name a few. These are all very important when doing assignments. The AUT Student Hub is the most important place to go to if you’re lost or need help with anything. They will be able to help you or direct you to the right place to get help.”
Advice for other students
Never give up, Rosemarie advises other students.
“My advice to for other students is to never give up. Keep going, let yourself grow and never deny yourself. You have come this far – don’t let your fear and doubt get the best of you.”
Remember that university is very different from high school, she adds.
“It’s important to manage your time wisely, so avoid procrastination. Once you get the hang of it, then you won’t have any problems managing your social life while achieving your study and career goals.”