Apriel Simpson awarded scholarship

Waiuku’s Apriel Jolliffe Simpson was awarded a $6000 Freemason’s University Scholarship on Tuesday 8 May. Twenty-one year old Apriel is studying towards a Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours at the University of Waikato. Her twin fields of interest are psychology and sociology and after completing her PhD, she hopes to become a qualified clinical psychologist working with offenders in a community setting.

Apriel said, “the scholarship makes a big difference! Being a student isn’t easy and it is expensive. For an organisation like Freemasons to recognise achievements and then decide to help you is really a big thing!” Apriel is in her fourth year of university, doing her Honours year. “It takes a big pressure off and makes things possible that would not have been possible otherwise,” said Apriel. “I just want to express gratitude really. It’s crazy that they’re investing in young people, but so cool!”

Research with a psychologist, who is a leading researcher in forensic psychology, led to an internship for Apriel at the Waikato District Headquarters of the New Zealand Police over summer. Harm to families, or a related aspect of criminal psychology, will form Apriel’s forth coming studies and career. Her work in the future will involve district health boards and corrections facilities.

Volunteer work has strengthened Apriel’s desire to improve people’s lives. Her most rewarding volunteer role has been as Kaiāwhina (student mentor) through Te Aka Matua, the university’s Maori mentoring unit. Apriel’s customer service experience is as strong as her range of awards for achievement and excellence. She’s worked front of house in hospitality and to managerial level in retail.

Apriel, who was dux of Waiuku College in 2014, is quickly developing the depth and range of skills needed for a future helping people with psychological needs to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society. She hopes her personal contribution will lead to a decrease in family harm in New Zealand. The scholarship was one of 27 given to postgraduate and undergraduate students. The ceremony was held at Parliament’s Legislative Council chamber.

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