Joape Kuruyawa -  USP Alumni Network

Name: Joape Kuruyawa

Country: Fiji

Programme: BA (2002)

Why did you choose your field of study?

I really wanted to do medicine at FSM and needed a bridging first year Chemistry and Biology. I tried Information System and Biology and loved it. I enjoyed every single day of being a student at USP.
Briefly reflect on your student life at USP? It was awesome, I connected into a network of Marist Old Boys and a little bit of this and that to form a core of diverse multi background group. We may have not been the most studious lot and mostly congregated around the pool instead of the library, but we made it through. So we’re scattered here and there and those that ‘could be’ have become an ’are’ or a ‘maybe’ and a ‘might have been by far’. We cherish our days as students at USP and it has created networks with people and individuals that will be there for a while.

Greatest achievement[s] as a student
Gold Award for a Team based research into the Conservation Status of the Fijian Ground Frog (Platymantis vitianus). I don’t think Ive ever accomplished anything that fits the thrill of that experience to date.
•    Career Highlights since Graduation Working as a Project manager for an Emory University Anthropological Survey based in Yasawa Islands.
•    Becoming the Project manager for the first Inhabited Island Invasive Species Management Project on Viwa Island, Tailevu.
•    Travelling twice to USA, Washington DC and then New York on the invitation of the BP Conservation Group.

Who/what do you credit your success to? What inspires you?
Volunteerism inspires me, it’s formed the cornerstone and enthusiasm of my career and personal life. Humility and grit also can set you apart, it doesn’t drive you at 200 miles per hour towards your goal but a snails pace, confident, knowing you will get there and after all ‘it’s the climb”.

How do you think USP helped you in your career?
USP enhanced by perspective, it connected the dots for me and I discovered my passion for the birds, bees, frogs and the trees. The biggest output from USP was the network that I built; I was able to meet people and opportunities that opened up the world for me.

Describe any challenges you face to reach where you are today and how you overcame those challenges?
Tertiary education scholarship was a great enabling gift and its related benefits really allowed you to step outside the boundaries of personal financial constraints. Then you have to repeat one unit and you’ve got no backing, you have to really struggle. This included walking home after class not far, just nine and a half miles. It had to be done and you make it happen. You had a future waiting and friends expecting you to show up…one just had to do what one does.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years (career and/or personal goals)?
I’m already behind schedule to be a Prime Minister of Fiji one day, so my aim is to pursue the corporate halls of fame, MSc in a unique field of Bio Informatics in the next 10 years. Than transition to deliver any lifetime lessons learned for the greater good of Fiji. Prime Minister in 16 years. I’m hoping that your readers have long term memories.

What advice would you give to current and future students of USP?
USP is about the total student experience, sure we’re there to study but that’s half the fun. You all make it in the end in some shape or form, I love to do something and get a kick out of it. Or a few that you can recall with painful fondness in your later years.

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.    Persevere everything is always hard and arduous until you start having fun.
2.    Libraries are cool but studying in the outdoors can rock ones socks silly.
3.    Don’t forget the skills you need in your career are found in between the lines of your notes and the interactions outside your book.

What has your involvement been with the University since you graduated?
Joining the Alumni and Mentoring Fijian Affairs Board scholarship recipients earlier on.

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