For 2018/19 Toloa Tertiary Scholarship recipient Sunny Tavite, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is the future for Pacific peoples.
“We can challenge ourselves by being technology innovators; by becoming a STEM advocate,” Sunny says.
“Our challenges, sufferings, sacrifices, our cultures and traditions make us ideal future leaders.”
Born and raised in Houma, Tongatapu, Sunny now lives in New Zealand, where he is half-way through doing a Master of Analytics (Mathematics) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).
Receiving a Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Toloa Tertiary Scholarship has been a huge help to him financially.
The purpose of the Toloa Tertiary Scholarships is to encourage Pacific students to pursue studies in STEM subjects at tertiary level and increase the numbers of pacific people employed into STEM careers.
“We are so grateful for the opportunity and I am blessed - knowing my fees have been taken care of is a huge weight off my shoulders,” Sunny says.
With a young family, raising his children while studying has presented some challenges for Sunny along the way.
However, he has an excellent support network.
His wife and their extended family work together to ensure his home and church responsibilities are covered so he can attend to his study commitments.
His Toloa Tertiary Scholarship has allowed him the luxury of being able to focus on his studies, while minimising the financial burden associated with taking out a student loan.
After completing his Masters, Sunny aspires to find work as a Data Scientist/Analyst.
“I am also looking into completing my PhD in Mathematics.”
“I hope I am able to help the next generation by encouraging them to follow the STEM pathway,” he says.
Applications for the 2020 Scholarships are now open.
In 2018, the Government introduced fees FREE for first year tertiary students.
With the first-year fees covered by the Government, applications for the Toloa Tertiary Scholarships are open to tertiary students in their second, third and / or fourth year of study.
Applications are also open to STEM postgraduates in their first and or sequential years.