She masteredher cell phone and more
A Porirua woman who once feared her mobile phone has become the first student to graduate with a master of information technology from Whitireia Polytech.
At 64 and of Samoan descent, Leutele Grey knows she stands out against the stereotypical ICT student image, but says anybody can become proficient in the area.
‘‘I used to work at the Citizens Advice Bureau and saw so many people, especially women, come in with no understanding of how to pay their bills, how to fill out immigration forms, how to know whether they’d been scammed,’’ she said.
‘‘Everything is online and technically based these days – [if you don’t understand how ICT works] you can be left behind.’’
She said it was her young sons, and the realisation that their schooling was superseding her own that pushed her.
‘‘When my sons started college I wasn’t able to help them with their homework. I was scared to use my cell phone, I didn’t speak very good English. They were learning new things and using new technology.’’
‘‘I don’t want to lie down and become a vegetable in my old age. I became an independent researcher and empirical student so I can be competent and solving problems when I reach my retirement.’’
Solving problems on an international scale is Leutele’s forte. From developing the concept for a Samoan/English translation app to her thesis on the need for underdeveloped and developing nations to adopt a comprehensive e-government approach, Leutele is proof of the broad application of ICT knowledge.
She said her thesis was born from recognising the lack of ICT knowledge and adoption in government projects in her home country, Western Samoa.
‘‘[Western Samoa] needs experienced and technical people who can align the physical – such as business development – with information technology.
‘‘The Government cannot develop business or implement important social and economic projects without the understanding of their people, and that’s where ICT comes into play. It pulls down barriers and [enables] communication.’’
Leutele said the growth of ICT education in Wellington would bring opportunities.
‘‘This is the age of science and innovation, and ICT is where the jobs are.’’
Leutele Grey has graduated with a Master’s in IT.