Thank you so VERY much, this is overwhelming and unexpected!
This means so much to me and will make a huge positive difference to me.
I am nearing the end of the first year in my Master of Science, majoring in forensic psychology at Victoria University Wellington. To gain entry to this qualification has been a dream come true. My voluntary work at Manawatu prison and with Women’s refuge, and my work at the youth justice residence in Palmerston North, has reinforced for me that I am studying the right thing, and the strong determination inside me is growing to create a positive change in the lives of offenders, particularly youth offenders. My next academic goal is to gain entry to the doctorate of clinical psychology, allowing me to practise as a registered clinical forensic psychologist.
My Master’s thesis will investigate how traumatic brain injuries influence conduct disorder in children. I will also look at protective factors which could reduce the incidence of conduct disorder. This is an important area to research due to the very high rate of child abuse in New Zealand, with over 80% of youth offender’s having a care and protection history with Oranga Tamariki, and an increasing number are involved in gang related violence.
Receiving the Graduate Women New Zealand Susan Byrne memorial scholarship has been amazing, and very unexpected. This means I am less pressured to work while I study, giving me more time to focus on my academic goals and continue with voluntary work gaining valuable experience.
My home is my sanctuary, where I take time out from study and work to spend time with my horses and dogs. It is a necessity to be able to switch off from the work and study I am doing.