USP Alumni Network

Name: Tevai Matapo
Country: Cook Islands
Programme: Bachelor of Arts (1981)

Why did you choose your field of study? To enhance my ability in Police Administration – the Police being my professional career.
Briefly reflect on your student life at USP? All my studies at USP were done by distance and flexi learning.  I enjoyed the challenge but I also wished to use my USP learning experience to inspire and motivate other Police Officers to study at tertiary level.  I believed at the time that USP was critical to the development of human resources in my country Cook Islands.
Greatest achievement[s] as a student: Graduating with a BA and an MBA through USP.
Career Highlights since Graduation: I graduated with both academic degrees after I had retired from 30 years as a police officer in the Cook Islands Police – the last 7 years as Commissioner of Police.  The highlights of this journey with USP included witnessing many of the students studying through USP Cook Is Campus (USPCIC) graduate with their degrees on a regular basis between 2000 – 2014.
Who/what do you credit your success to? What inspires you? The desire to see many Cook Islanders, young and old, take up tertiary studies, became the motivating factor for my studies.  I wanted to experience and understand the challenges of being a distant learning student so that I could proactively guide and motivate younger students to their successes.
How do you think USP helped you in your career? As mentioned before, I graduated with my degrees through USP after I had retired from the Police.  So USP had minimal effect on my career as a Police Officer.  However, I was elected as the Chairperson for our local USP campus Advisory Committee in 2000.  Since then, my focus has always been to see as many students as possible study and graduate through USPCIC.  And this is where the skills I learnt through my USP studies became extremely helpful.  It gave me the ability to clearly articulate and develop strong links between our communities and USPCIC.  
Describe any challenges you face to reach where you are today and how you overcame those challenges? As a senior (in age) student, the biggest challenge was maintaining the ability to prioritize ones numerous responsibilities within ones community so that you can keep studying towards ones clearly defined academic goals.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years (career and/or personal goals)? At my age (68 years), 10 years seem a long way off, but I would like to see our USPCIC goal of 20 PHD graduates through USP fulfilled by 2020.
What advice would you give to current and future students of USP? Try to clearly define what you wish to become, map out your career-path and the skills you wish to attain, and diligently pursue your studies through USP whether by DFL or on the main Campus in Suva.
Please share top three tips that you think are most important for our current students or recent graduates that will help them when starting out on their career paths.
1.    Have a clear idea as to what you want to become – your preferred career or profession.
2.    Seek the guidance of USP academic staff at your local Campus, choose the appropriate academic program, and then map out your pathway to successfully achieving your academic goal.
3.    Stay focused, don’t be swayed by any distractions along the way, believe in yourself and never give up.
What has your involvement been with the University since you graduated?  I have been the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee at USPCIC since 2000.
Any other information you would like to share. It is exciting to note the growing international reputation of USP as a regional University of excellence.  


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