Project Manager, WSP New Zealand
Bachelor of Health Science in Public and Environmental Health
Sarah Yzendoorn has always envisioned herself as a changemaker.
“I’ve always been passionate about developing countries and improving the quality of life for nations. In my first year at AUT, I studied psychology and marketing conjoint degrees, and while I enjoyed what I was studying, I knew that something was missing. In my second semester, I heard about the Public and Environmental Health major and instantly knew it was the degree for me.”
Sarah says she would definitely recommend the Bachelor of Health Science in Public and Environmental Health to others.
“If you’re passionate about public health issues like smoking, depression or obesity, enjoy problem-solving and want to facilitate change amongst populations through strategising, planning and implementing initiatives, then studying public and environmental health is for you.”
Choosing to study at AUT was a no-brainer for Sarah.
“AUT’s reputation as a modern university, as well as its collaborative facilities and practical teaching style won my heart. The small classes also made it easy to get to know my peers, and have open and honest, health-related discussions. This helped to cement my learnings, challenged and shaped my thinking, and enabled me to see the world from a plethora of perspectives.”
After graduating from AUT at the end of 2019, Sarah joined the Ministry of Education in Wellington and worked in the school infrastructure team to improve the quality of learning environments.
“I supported the procurement of goods and services to roll out a national programme to improve the internal environment of school classrooms in small and remote communities. I then moved into school design policy where I supported the development of and facilitated communication for the Ministry’s Designing Schools in Aotearoa New Zealand suite of standards and requirements.
“I recently accepted a role in the private sector with WSP, a global infrastructure consultancy firm, as a project manager working with schools in the Taupo region to deliver building projects. My goal is to improve public health outcomes through quality infrastructure.”
The skills to succeed
Being able to apply her knowledge during a summer internship was one of her greatest achievements during her time at university, Sarah says.
“During the 2018/19 summer break, I was selected for a health and safety internship with the Government Health and Safety Lead in Wellington. Through this experience, I was also able to establish a relationship with Air New Zealand and completed 150 hours of workplace experience within their strategic wellbeing team.”
Her advice for other students is simple: speak up.
“No matter what the situation looks like, always speak up! Someone will hear you.”