Class of 2017 - Jesse Veamatahau

15 Jun 2017

Congratulations Class of 2017

Name: Jesse Veamatahau

Degree: Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Full-time/part-time: Full Time

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Tell us a little bit about yourself - e.g. your family background, interests and career aspirations...

I am a proud Pacific Islander (Tongan/Maori) who was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. I have been raised with a strong respect for culture and tradition and have been afforded all the love and support from my family (very large family) which motivates me to get where I am today! I've been really into sports from a young age playing everything from netball to touch football.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up I watched a lot of crime television, binging on shows like NCIS, The Mentalist, Criminal Minds etc. This generated my interest in law enforcement and passion for people. Basically the Australian version of an FBI Agent.

Did that change as you got older?

Nope. It's something that I still want to do and I am working towards achieving.

How did you decide what degree to do and what initially attracted you to your degree?

As I said, I was hooked on crime shows which generated an interest in pursuing a similar career. After some research, that then lead me to my current degree.

What were the highlights/best aspects of your degree and why?

Highlights of my degree was actually getting to explore what I wanted to do with my degree. With so many electives on offer, I tailored my course to my interests which I've continued to grow. Of course, the social and volunteering aspects of university were amazing.

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Did you take part in any mentorship or scholarship programs, internships or exchanges during your time at UNSW? 

I did an internship during my degree with NSW Police. During the semester I worked on a research project that looked at measuring the effectiveness of crime prevention programs. Being able to attend community days and internal training sessions made the internship very interesting. Working alongside the police was an amazing experience.

Were you a part of any clubs and societies on campus?

I was a part of a lot of different clubs and societies on campus from the UNSW Touch Football Club to AIESEC, but being an executive member for the UNSW Criminology Society, was by far the highlight of my university experience.

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What knowledge, skills and experiences have you found most useful for your personal/professional development?

Being adaptable and just ready to take on anything. University can be just as volatile as the workplace so learning to cope with change is a bonus! The knowledge I obtained from my degree serves as background knowledge in my professional life which helps bring understanding to issues and cases that I am working on.

What are your plans now that you’ve finished uni? Are you currently working? And if so, as what?

I am currently working for the NSW Justice Department but I have been offered a position with a Federal Government department which I am going to pursue.

Do you have any advice for students?

Chase your passions. Don't be afraid to change or drop courses because you think you need to be in that degree.

Make the most of student life! Join a club, learn a new sport, hit up a roundhouse party (or greenhouse or Coogee Pav) and experience it all.