Meet our students

Our students have different research interests, and follow varied and exciting career paths after graduation. Meet some of our current students and graduates and find out their hopes for the future.

Bachelor of Science

Janel Tolentino, Bachelor of Science, Department of Exercise Sciences
Janel Tolentino

Janel Tolentino

Janel Tolentino is studying a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Music conjoint degree, majoring in Exercise Sciences and Composition.

“Both of my older sisters studied at the University of Auckland, and they told about the wonderful learning environment, extracurricular activities, and the resources that the University offers. The University’s world rank status also drew me to study here.

“I decided to take a conjoint degree because I have an equal interest in both fields – my passion for music and my love for science involving sports, the human body and human movement. I love the vast variety of topics covered, as my conjoint programme allows me to study two subjects – which are arguably very different from one another – that I very much enjoy learning.

“I’m lucky that my programme allows me to have a range of opportunities for the future. For Exercise Sciences, I would love to be able to work with everyday people and/or professional athletes, and help them to improve their performance. For Music, I would love to produce and write music professionally. I’m also interested in teaching either subject in secondary school – I’m keeping my options open!

“I have a University of Auckland Scholarship, which has helped me immensely. It has encouraged me to learn and perform to the best of my abilities in order to feel deserving of it, and it has taken some of the financial weight off my family’s shoulders.

“University has allowed me to mature – in terms of my learning and work ethic. I have been fortunate enough to be taught by lecturers that are passionate about what they are teaching, and tutors that genuinely care about helping students perform to the best of their abilities.” 


Alex Yang, Bachelor of Science, Department of Exercise Sciences
Alex Yang

Alex Yang

Alex is studying for a Bachelor of Science majoring in Exercise Sciences and Physiology.

“I have always been passionate about sport, exercise and health which is why I decided to do Exercise Science and Physiology. I am very interested in learning the science behind athletic performances, and the relationship between exercise and adaptations to the human body.

“I chose to study at the University of Auckland because I wanted to be in a position where I had many study options available. The range of subjects allows you to explore and determine which field of study you would like to specialise in. 

“I aspire to a career where I am able to interact with other individuals in a clinical setting. Becoming an exercise or cardiac physiologist really appeals to me. I believe that be choosing this undergraduate degree I will prepare myself for the many options within the medical and exercise science field of study which I am also very interested in.

“I feel like the all information I learn in my programme is applicable to everyday life. The topics connect well with other Science courses and the field is constantly evolving, which makes you eager to learn more.”


Andrea Kenwright, Bachelor of Science and Commerce, Department of Exercise Sciences
Andrea Kenwright

Andrea Kenwright

Andrea Kenwright is studying a Bachelor of Science and Commerce conjoint majoring in Exercise Sciences, and Marketing and Management.

“I choose to study at the University of Auckland due to it being rated as the top university within New Zealand, and its global recognition. The University of Auckland is one of the few New Zealand Universities that offers Exercise Sciences as a science major.

“Through many years of involvement in national and international level sports I developed a strong interest in anatomy, physiology, and how physical performance could be enhanced. I wanted to gain a greater understanding of how the human body works, so that I could further apply this knowledge to sporting environments (in particular through my work as a national-level competitive gymnastics coach), and in daily life. I chose to study a Bachelor of Commerce as a conjoint with my BSc so that I could have the ability to manager my own practice in the future.

“I’m looking to pursue postgraduate qualifications in clinical exercise physiology. Clinical exercise physiology is a field which focuses on the prevention, management, and rehabilitation of chronic conditions and injuries with the use of exercise. With my conjoint in Commerce, I could work in the high performance sport sector, in a management or marketing position.

“A highlight of my degree has been the EXERSCI 105 (Exercise Prescription) labs. In these labs we learn how to assess a person’s physical fitness, and interpret data based on this. We also had the opportunity to prescribe and administer (e.g. strength, cardiovascular fitness, agility, weight loss, or flexibility etc.) that we had personally developed.

“I really enjoy the amount of hands-on experience I get in my BSc. There isn’t a single week in which you aren’t required to put your knowledge to use in a practical situation. The Exercise Sciences major also offers a wide range of courses, which allows you to discover areas you are really passionate about.

“The Exercise Sciences lecturers are very approachable and willing to go out of their way to support you in your studies. I’ve been able to build strong relationships with my classmates and form valuable student networks – we’ll all really supportive of each other!”



Master of Science

Megan Reyden, MSc, Department of Exercise Sciences
Megan Reyden

Megan Reyden

Megan Reyden completed her Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Science at the end of 2016 and is considering studying towards a PhD specialising in Exercise Sciences in 2018.

“I’ve always had an interest in exercise, sports and health. It led me to apply for a Bachelor of Science majoring in Sport and Exercise Science, and then a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Exercise Physiology.

“I chose the University of Auckland’s Sport and Exercise Science programme because it is internationally recognised and I liked the fact that the degree was heavily science-based rather than recreational. 

“One of the most welcoming things about the Department of Exercise Sciences is that it feels like a real community. The staff and lecturers are always extremely helpful and caring, and everyone from first-year students to the Head of Department gets along with each other.

“The programme pathway was great. I was able to get a lot of real-life, practical experience with a variety of clients and research participants. This improved my knowledge and confidence in working with a clinical population, and reinforced the theory I was learning. 

“I’m very passionate about this area of science, so I exceeded in my studies and qualified for a University of Auckland research scholarship to complete a one-year masters’ degree.

“Having that financial support meant I could stop worrying about my student loan and devote more time and energy to my research.

“My thesis focused on the effect of healthy aging, and cardiovascular disease on maximal exercise capacity and blood flow during short duration exercise.

“Completing this qualification has only made me more inquisitive. I would like to keep learning and in the future hope to continue to explore a mixture of clinical research and exercise rehabilitation.”


Josh Foreman, Master of Science (Clinical Exercise Physiology), Department of Exercise Sciences
Josh Foreman

Josh Foreman

Josh completed a Master of Science specialising in Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2016.

“I have always been passionate about health and fitness and strived to help those wanting to achieve their fitness goals.

“After completing my undergraduate studies I decided I wanted to gain more knowledge in the field of exercise science.

“I had a keen interest in exercise physiology, from high performance athletes to clinical patients with chronic diseases, and I wanted to develop the skills to rehabilitate those with chronic diseases.

“After having completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Science at the University of Auckland it made sense to stay on and complete my masters here. My dissertation topic my MSc was “Detecting Occult Airflow-limitations in Phase Two Cardiac Rehabilitation Clients”.

“I have great respect for the University lecturers as they’re always approachable and happy to answer my questions. I think we are lucky to have a fantastic, all round university providing a quality education to people from all over New Zealand and internationally.

“One part of the programme I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to work in the Cardiac Rehabilitation clinic. It was such a bonus experiencing what it is like to be a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in a real setting, with real people who have real diseases. All the theory that we learn, is put into practice.

“I’d like to open my own clinic one day, a space that will not only rehabilitate people with chronic diseases, but also people that have undergone an operation and need assistance to get back to pre-operative condition.”

Josh is currently working at the Auckland District Health Board as a respiratory physiologist. His role includes a variety of pulmonary function testing, as well as conducting cardio-pulmonary exercise tests on high risk patients with a variety of diseases.

"My masters degree enabled me to enter this field well prepared with the necessary theoretical knowledge and clinical experience."


Doctor of Philosophy

PhD student Ronan Mooney, Department of Exercise Sciences
Ronan Mooney

Ronan Mooney

Ronan is a doctoral student in the Movement Neuroscience Lab (MNL), under the supervision of Professor Winston Byblow.

“I began my PhD in 2015. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a PhD scholarship in the Movement Neuroscience Laboratory (MNL) through a Health Research Council Project Grant.

“The aim of my doctoral research is to investigate the effects of healthy ageing and stroke on intracortical circuits within the primary motor cortex and the implications this may have for motor learning and motor recovery, using neuroimaging and non-invasive brain stimulation.

“My interest in neuroscience began during the third year of my undergraduate studies here at the University of Auckland.

"I completed my Bachelor of Science in 2013, in Sport and Exercise Science and Physiology. Exposure to courses which focussed on the neural control of movement led me to pursue an Honours project in 2014, within the MNL.

“As I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the lab, I made the decision to remain in the MNL and began a PhD.”

Ronan is currently investigating the effects of ageing and stroke on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and its implications for motor learning and recovery.