Bridging the gap between leaving uni and entering the industry - what we can learn from an undergrad student

This year, I was nominated as the recipient of the Potentia Undergraduate Scholarship in Computer Science - and to say it’s an absolute honor is an understatement. When I found out that I had received the scholarship, I expected my association with the company to begin and end at the award ceremony like many other company-sponsored scholarships I’d heard about. I was wrong. As soon as I stepped inside the office for the first time, I was warmly welcomed into the whanau, and immediately I felt like part of the team. Our regular catch ups - whether it is at the office or over the phone -  have not only helped me to develop professionally, but also personally in achieving my full potential as a student.

One of the main projects we’ve been working on is how we can bridge the gap between university and industry. Being an undergraduate student myself, I know firsthand how daunting it is to prepare for that transition into post-graduate life. As an executive team member of the AUCS (the Auckland University Compsci Society), it has been wonderful to be able to work so closely with a team of professional mentors at Potentia and organise a number of events for fellow Computer Science students to help them prepare for post-grad life which have included an interview workshop and a student showcase. Potentia is a committed sponsor of AUCS and we can’t wait to see what changes we will be able to make with their extra support. Another role I have is the  Resident Advisor at University Hall - the biggest first-year hall of residence at The University of Auckland - and as part of this, we are currently organising a CV workshop for residents to help them prepare for the upcoming summer holidays.

My current focus for this semester is a research project about virtual reality art therapy for post-stroke patients. This has sparked a huge interest for me in human-centered digital design, as working directly with participants you get to see how each individual interacts with technology - and I can’t wait to explore this further. I also participated in ‘Summer of Tech Create Camp’ as a lead UX designer - it was a proud moment for me when our team was awarded the Best User Experience Award. Our team is continuing to work on the project on the side and we are excited to see where it will take us.

With less than 10 weeks of school left for me, I am a little nervous about what the future holds, but I am confident that with the ongoing development support of Potentia, stepping out of my comfort zone and hard work means the right opportunities will come up when they’re meant to!