Graduate Engineer, Electric Power Corporation, Samoa
Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Electrical Engineering
When Sueina Vaatausili was offered the chance to study electrical engineering in New Zealand, she jumped at the chance.
“During my Foundation Year at the National University of Samoa I developed a passion for physics and technology. When I was blessed with a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade NZ Scholarship to study in New Zealand, I chose to study a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Electrical Engineering because I loved problem solving and physics. I also wanted to empower more women in my community to study engineering as some believe it’s a career only for men.”
Because she had family in Auckland, AUT was an obvious choice for her university study, Sueina says. It’s a decision she hasn’t regretted.
“The highlights for me included the robots competition in my second year where we got to create and program robots that were then racing each other, and the Amazing Race for scholarship students, which was a fun way to get to know the big city of Auckland and students from other countries. I also loved Samoan Language Week at AUT, and was amazed at how Samoan culture and language was acknowledged by AUT.
“My graduation was another highpoint for me. Being a scholarship student is not easy, especially when you’re studying abroad, flatting alone and not having your close family with you. Graduating was a big thing for my family. For me it was a way to repay my parents for all their sacrifices and grant my late grandmother’s wish.”
A rewarding career
Since finishing her studies in 2018, Sueina has returned to Samoa where she now works as a graduate engineer for Samoa’s Electric Power Corporation.
“In this role, I’m working with experienced engineers and technicians to provide electrical support for the Electric Power Corporation’s power generation, transmission, distribution and utilisation departments, including infrastructure development.”
Her work is rewarding, Sueina says.
“I love what I do, and I love working together with my team to provide and maintain quality electrical services for our country. Being a female engineer in such a male-dominated workplace can be challenging, but I enjoy my role and working at the Electric Power Corporation is exciting.”
Advice for other students
Sueina has some great advice for other international students thinking about studying at AUT.
“If you’re an international student, my advice is to identify people who can inspire you to do greater things. If you ever feel like you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to speak up. Talk to your lecturers, or mentors, fellow classmates or a student advisor.”
She would highly recommend AUT’s electrical engineering programmes to other students.
“Studying electrical engineering is a great challenge and if you feel like challenging yourself in this field, I highly recommend AUT because they have the most supportive and amazing academic staff.”