Growing up, Anna Siohane-Royle has always had a soft spot for animals.
Add to this an interest for the sciences, and a career in Veterinary Science and Healthcare seemed a logical path to take.
“In high school I started to cultivate an appreciation for the sciences, and I had some enthusiastic teachers that aided in this,” Anna explains.
“So, for me, it was an easy decision to study a degree combining all my interests - elements of science, animal health, welfare, and human relations.”
Of Niuean descent, Anna grew up and went to school at Auckland’s Epsom Girls Grammar School and immediately following high school, she moved to Palmerston North to start a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Massey University.
This year, she has been named as a Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Toloa Tertiary Scholarship recipient in the Central Region.
Toloa Tertiary Scholarships aim to support Pacific students to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
Anna says there is a severe lack of Pacific representation among Veterinarian students and practising Veterinarians.
“We are of a class of 130 people, yet I am one of only two Pacific people enrolled.
“We need my profession, and all STEM fields to reflect the diversity of our country - to bring in new ideas from a range of perspectives, and to have professionals Pacific peoples can easily identify with.”
Recognising the lack of animal healthcare available throughout the Pacific, Anna says she has aspirations of integrating more understanding of animal care practises into communities, and making knowledge accessible to everyone.
“Unfortunately, animal healthcare is largely limited on most Pacific islands - Niue doesn’t even have a vet clinic on the island.
“Pacific Outreach programmes provide veterinary care services and welfare education for remote regions.
“I hope to volunteer for these programmes – Veterinarians can effectively provide our time and skills, as this scheme provides facilities and support staff.”
Once she has fully qualified as a Veterinarian, Anna plans to enter a mixed clinic practice, which provides healthcare services for both farm and companion animals.
“I still am a strong advocate for animal welfare, so I also plan to continue my involvement with volunteer dog and cat de-sexing programmes, an aid to keep cat and dog populations controlled.”
Anna is a strong advocate for education, and says if anyone is contemplating entering a STEM-associated course, they should most definitely apply for the Toloa Tertiary Scholarship initiative, as it provides many benefits to successful students.
“We humans are inherently curious, and learning should never feel inaccessible or a negative experience.
“However, we continue to associate university with a large student debt – the Toloa Tertiary Scholarship lifts this burden that may be stopping many people from learning and creating.
“If you’re thinking about entering a STEM associated course, you should apply.”