Martha McDonald

Martha completed a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Criminology and Sociology and is now a Youth Worker with Child, Youth & Family.

Martha McDonald

“I am currently working for Child, Youth & Family at Korowai Manaaki, a youth justice residence in Manurewa. This is a secure facility for delinquent youths — we have young people come to us when they are waiting to be sentenced, or they can be sentenced to a number of months with us. This is a serious intervention and the young people often have complex needs, problems and challenging behaviours.

“As a member of the Care Team I am on the floor all day with the young people. Youth workers have the opportunity to inspire growth and development in our young people and Korowai Manaaki is a place where we help young people to get their lives back on track.

“I came to the University of Auckland because it had a good reputation and a lot to offer, and I sort of fell into Criminology. I was taking Sociology papers and noticed that I had the requirements to take a Criminology paper which interested me. I then found Criminology so interesting that I made it my major.

“My degree has helped me in my role to have a deeper understanding of why the young people I work with are the way they are. I know the kinds of backgrounds and environments that they come from. Because of my knowledge, this makes me empathetic and non-judgemental, meaning that I treat everybody with the same respect and kindness, irrespective of their offence.

“I really enjoyed my study with the Faculty of Arts. All of the lecturers were very approachable, and by my final year I knew my classmates and lecturers well, so the discussions we had were very productive.

“I would encourage future undergraduates to take papers that interest you — as well as topics you excel at — because you are more likely to succeed at university if you are passionate and interested in your subjects. My last two years of university were especially enjoyable because the subjects I had chosen were so interesting and intellectually stimulating.”

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