Stephanie Tapungu

Stephanie Tapungu

Doctor of Philosophy candidate

Stephanie Tapungu says she is truly honoured and blessed to have been awarded the New Zealand Pacific Scholarship to come to AUT to complete her PhD in communication studies.

“This is not only an opportunity but a blessing for me to be here, and to have my children and husband here with me.

“If anyone else is thinking of applying for a scholarship and coming to AUT – you have to go for it! Have the courage to go out and try to fulfil your dreams. You are good enough.”

Shedding light on communications professionals
An international student from Papua New Guinea, Stephanie decided to come to AUT due to the reputation of its School of Communication Studies.

“For my doctoral thesis, I’m researching the relationship between journalism and public relations in Papua New Guinea, working under the supervision of Dr Helen Sissons and Dr Petra Theunissen.

“I hope to shed light on how journalists are treated in my country, and capture some experiences for people to appreciate their contribution to our country. I want to give journalists, as well as public relations people, the voice they deserve.”

Stephanie is currently back in Papua New Guinea to complete fieldwork for her PhD research.

Feeling at home
What she loves most about studying in AUT is the diversity of its staff and students, Stephanie says.

“The first thing I notice every day when I arrive at AUT is how many people of different races, cultures and backgrounds there are; all mingling together. I feel right at home among them because I feel no different from them.”

Make the most of the facilities and services AUT provides, Stephanie advises other students.

“Everything you need is provided on campus, so make the most of it to make your AUT journey comfortable and enjoyable. There are so many excellent facilities for students and even for students’ families.

“My partner and my children especially enjoy the comforts of the parents’ room in the library. I can have them with me, and they work on their homework or watch a DVD until I’m done and we go home.”