ESR Masters student Kent Onesemo will soon return to his work in Samoa Police Forensics, armed with the skills and experience gained by spending time with ESR’s Drug Chemistry team.
Onesemo says his ultimate goal would be to improve the reliability of forensic evidence in Samoa.
However, perhaps one of the most important lessons he learnt during his time studying in Auckland is to ask for help if necessary.
Onesemo, the recipient of a Science Support Award from the University of Auckland, says he would have struggled to afford his studies without the scholarship.
He chose to come to the university because he was able to study for his masters in conjunction with ESR, the sole provider of forensic work to the New Zealand Police.
“Back home in Samoa I’m mainly a field officer, but studying for my masters here in New Zealand allows me to observe and experience first-hand how forensic analysis is completed in the laboratory setting.”
“I’ve found my time with ESR very valuable and my ultimate goal would be to improve the reliability of forensic evidence in Samoan and increase the use of forensics in court rooms."
He’d also love to teach forensics in Samoa and make a difference with the career choices that young people make
“The career opportunities for graduating students with backgrounds in chemistry and biology are limited to the health sector. Often students are forced to change career paths despite their passion being with these subjects.
“Having the Forensics division with the Samoa Police allows another career avenue for students who can use their knowledge to help with police investigations and furthermore increase the standard of forensics in the Pacific."
The Science Support Award really helped him with the financial struggles he experienced living in Auckland, and he points out that for international students there is a range of help and support groups dedicated to helping students achieve their academic goals.
“There are some difficulties for international students, such as language barriers and culture shock, which can really affect your ability to stay focused,” he says.
“The best advice I can give is always to ask for help.”