Personal Statements

Racheal Priestley

Racheal PriestleyI am currently studying towards a bachelor of social work.  I started my degree part time in 2012, just after my 4th child was born.  In 2015, I moved from part-time study to full-time study, which has taught me how to manage the demands of study and the demands of running a family.

I am a passionate supporter of mothers and facilitate a weekly breastfeeding group.  I have a son with autism, a daughter with severe food allergies and my eldest son is gifted and attends a gifted school one day a week.  I am very aware of what challenges occur when you mix study with the needs of children with health disabilities and special education.

Living in Christchurch makes you resilient and puts life very much into perspective, in 2013 2/3 of our house was pulled down and rebuilt.  For 11 months we lived in 3 rooms with four young children, with no kitchen or lounge.  I cooked outside on a BBQ and I studied in our bedroom/come lounge.

I feel like I am able to relate and empathise with many of the struggles and demands of being a mother first, and a student.

Jontelle Beech-Dempsey

Jontelle Beech-DempseyMy name is Jontelle and I was raised in Christchurch and moved to Auckland after the earthquakes. I now live about 5 minutes from the Albany campus but study extramurally due to the flexibility it offers. I have five sons including two Autistic children and have also fostered three teenagers through CYF. I have worked for over a decade in sales and advertising and am currently in my first year of my BA double majoring in Security Studies and Defence Studies and minoring in Politics. I am very interested in the humanities and approximately three years ago set up and still run an Auckland-wide food bank and also, a very busy and successful Facebook group called Pay it Forward – North Shore that has helped thousands of families. I recently helped organise and marshall the Queen St anti TPPA protest as well as the hikoi protest in Waitangi. I enjoy being a social activist and am an active member of a popular political party. I am a strong believer in Ghandi’s words “Be the change you want to see in the world” and so I am applying to be this year’s Northern North Island EXMSS Representative. I look forward to meeting everyone and making some fantastic new changes!

Lisa Mayne

LisaKia Ora, I am an Auckland based Massey student studying Politics.  I am studying full time while managing a household with my two sons who are at primary school, and my husband who works full time on the other side of Auckland.

My enrolment varies between internal and extramural, based on paper availability and timetables.  At present, I am an associate member of EXMSS, but completed 3 extramural papers in 2015.  Having experienced both extramural and internal papers is a benefit to being an EXMSS executive member as it gives me a clear comparison between the different delivery methods and how they affect student experience, and also the differing services offered on campus compared to those available to distance students.

I have a lot of relevant experience to being an executive member.  I have significant experience as a committee member serving on the committees of my local Playcentre (5 years), as an adult member of my local Girl Guides District (2 years), and Arocha Auckland (1 year).  I have also had experience at a higher level as a board member for North Shore Playcentre Association for the past 3 years and am currently the Association President, and National Meeting Representative.  Through these board roles, I have developed skills in facilitating committee meetings, policy and procedure writing, and have undertaken professional development in not-for-profit governance skills and applicable legislation.

I am passionate about improving the experience for Extramural Students.  This is motivated by my previous experience managing the site of a local PTE (private training enterprise – offering adult education in the field of early childhood education), as well as being a tutor of adults, and my own experience as a student.  I see EXMSS as our best option for advocating for policy changes at Massey to ensure that all extramural papers are well run and well resourced.

Nga mihi, Lisa Mayne

Amanda Nicole Dunn

Amanda DunnHi everyone,

I am Amanda Nicole Dunn (nee Stoneley). I am a recently married mother of two young girls residing in Bulls, New Zealand. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in History with minors in Social Anthropology and English. With the plans of working towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) and a Masters in History.

My path to study was not so traditional, or maybe it is in terms of the extramural community. After leaving secondary school early, and then having a surprise pregnancy, I decided I needed to better my education both for myself and my family.

This is one of the main reasons that I feel I would be suitable for this position.

I am passionate about helping people to overcome adversities that may be stopping them from going into study. Overcoming hardships that may threaten their study. As well as helping people through studying in less than ideal situations.

I believe that everyone has the right to study and that we as extramural students should have the same opportunities as internal students.

Furthermore, I am passionate about working towards both distance and internal students receiving the same quality of education. Ultimately through finding means to put strategies in place that can improve the delivery of papers to extramural students.

I would love the opportunity to receive this role and see what difference I could make in the extramural community.

Thank you so much,


Trudi Roberts

Trudi RobertsI have always been passionate about learning. I have encouraged my older children into higher education as well as homeschooling my special needs children. I have studied at various institutions that have delivered courses through various mediums. I have had an eight-year extramural relationship with Massey university, although more recently, due to personal illness, I am studying limited full time. I feel that to understand what is happening in the present with the delivery and retention of extramural studies requires an understanding of what has happened in the past as well as experiencing the changes and support that is available. The extramural study has had challenges; there has been little chance for me to become involved with the university community. Although this has made me more self-sufficient, it is isolating. I feel that this understanding is what is motivating me to join this committee.

I have had experience on a committee, where I was a parent/member of a kindergarten. One of the challenges we faced was decreasing enrolments and dwindling funding. This experience increased my knowledge of the changing socio-political system and its relationship with education.

I am a highly motivated and dedicated person that is committed to my studies and helping many others to enjoy the learning process.

Trina McLachlan

TrinaMy name is Trina McLachlan. I am currently a Massey University student studying Business Communications extramurally. I have been studying since the end of 2011.
Soon after beginning my studies I got involved in the EXMSS society via meetings and events. At the time, EXMSS was a great organisation that linked the students to the University, where strong relationships were formed. EXMSS provided students with a voice and direction. Students formed relationships with other students because of a common goal ‘to have a voice’. Sub relationships include media, the wider community and future scholars.

EXMSS has gone through a lot since 2011 where relationships have been damaged and trust has been lost. We are now at a time where we must look to EXMSS’s future. I believe having a strong board with a specialised skill base will enhance our chances of this development.

I can offer the board my skills, time and experience.

Previously and during my studies at Massey, I have been a parent educator, where my role included motivating individuals to get engaged, involved and succeed. I’ve worked with low socioeconomic families in the community to achieve their academic goals.

My extensive volunteer work has involved being a committee member for; Volunteer Otago, Volunteer Whanganui, YWCA Whanganui, Castlecliff kindergarten board member and a primary school parent helper (several times). My commitments in these roles include; board room meetings, business management, employment, business plans, community days, and external communication with other organisations.

I’m an outgoing person that is very approachable. I am time poor like most students studying, with a family and work commitments, however, I feel that my time can include helping EXMSS succeed in their goals as a collective.

Elaine Stone

ElanieI am a hardworking single mum of two young girls (5 and 6) who works full time and is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts part-time. I have been chipping away at my degree since my youngest child was 3 months old and with 3 more years and 6 papers left I am on the home straight! I am currently a distance volunteer advocate for Massey, but would like to do more for the extramural community as I know how hard it is to juggle work/life/children/study and can see ways that Massey could help improve this.

Over the years I have seen our printed resources taken away, and replaced with reading hundreds of pages of online pdfs – or having to print them at our own expense. I have done amazing papers, with tutors and lecturers who are engaged and make the most of the online environment – videos, podcasts and the like and host amazing contact courses. But I have also seen the other side of extramural study, out on your own with nothing but readings you don’t understand and a lecturer who isn’t really interested in the paper. These are the papers that make you question what your money is really paying for!

I would like to be able to bring the extramural community closer together so that we are in a stronger position to stand up and question the university about the things that are important to us and believe that a place on the extramural student society executive would help achieve this. Together we can petition for better resources, better teaching and a better university education. Let’s truly make Massey stand up to the claim that it is the leading distance tertiary provider!

David McNab

DaveWe all know that extramural study is one of the toughest modes of tertiary education. Most of us study in isolation, distracted by life, without the encouraging support of face to face lectures and the general “buzz” of a vibrant student atmosphere.

I speak from experience, having just completed my first degree, a BBS (Entrepreneurship). In the process, I had to overcome many devastating personal difficulties. The most powerful support was
actually the encouragement of other students in the various Massey student Facebook groups. There were times I thought I’d never finish. Now, I’m studying my masters.

From this, I’ve learned how powerful and energising the right support can be. It can make the difference between whether we give up, fail, scrape through or excel. I’ve also been astounded at the huge spectrum of lecturer attitudes – some brilliantly supportive, others very neglectful and sometimes even contemptuous.

As a prospective EXMSS Vice President, I offer myself in service to you, to actively support the regrowth of EXMSS into a more effective and engaging organisation than ever, one which has the
backs of all extramural students. I am especially interested in advocating for:

  • Mentoring and buddying networks for mutual encouragement
  • Improved transparency and accountability of lecturer engagement with distance students
  • Restoring and improving the EXMSS “RateIt” web app, which allowed students to see how
    other students have rated certain papers and lecturers
  • Further usability improvements in Massey’s Stream online delivery platform, especially for
    mobile devices
  • New creative initiatives for EXMSS to further support students’ success
  • Regional EXMSS events such as workshops and support groups

If elected to this role, I will make it my mission to ensure that no student is left behind.

Scholarship Winners 2015

Contact Course Scholarship – Karee Boswell and Racheal Priestly

Second Chance Scholarship – Rachel Friend

Disability Scholarship – Peter Archer

Post Graduate, Masters, Honours Scholarship – Carly Johnston, Ange Hartshorne and Julia Hill.

Undergraduate Scholarship – Helen Preston, Michelle Leech and Ashley Barns.

Bi-cultural Scholarship – Ange Watson, Teresa Froster and Racheal Priestly.

Academic Excellence Scholarship – Jenna Mildenhall, Wade Gadsby and Sascha Stoddart.

Congratulations to everyone that won a scholarship. We will be announcing two more scholarships in the New Year.