Student Stories

“Keystone has made so much more possible for me that would have not happened otherwise such as meeting other students on the same journey and industry professionals who have generously given of their time to build connections with me.”

Eden

Student

What are you studying, and why did you choose it?

I chose to study a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and a Bachelor of Music at the University of Auckland. This is an uncommon combination that has been a challenge but is also incredibly rewarding. Music has always been a very significant part of my life. I have learnt piano and violin since I was five and then started singing at thirteen. Music guided me artistically and strengthened appreciation for my other subjects such as calculus, physics and fine arts. I found relationships between all these subjects which caused me to choose to study architecture as I enjoyed working with different media in fine arts, the complexity, precision and dedicated study needed in taking mathematics and science and the correlations found between music and the other subjects. A main driver in studying these two degrees together is the hope that I will continue finding relationships between the two, culminating in the practice of designing acoustic architecture such as concert halls, recording studios and other performance venues to enhance the ongoing performance and celebration of art and culture.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

Being a recipient of the Keystone Trust Study Award has given me so much more than just financial aid. It goes without saying how much I have appreciated the extra help in terms of paying for accommodation near the University and the costs incurred in relation to both degrees but what has made a difference and been greatly valued is the Trust’s support, care, help with university study, and wonderful guidance in the professional field. Keystone has made so much more possible for me that would have not happened otherwise such as meeting other students on the same journey and industry professionals who have generously given of their time to build connections with me. My first year of university has been enriched and I have been able to have incredible experiences due to being part of the Keystone family.

Read more about Eden...

What is your favourite memory with Keystone so far?

The most recent site visit was amazing. It was an eye-opening and inspiring experience visiting the Auranga Urban Developments created by MADE, located near the Karaka Drury area, Auckland. MADE is a property development group with the intention to design cities based on human-centric values and ideals that include bringing people together and giving them a sense of true belonging through courage, integrity, vision, ingenuity and care. Seeing these intentions realised at the Auranga Development was an amazing opportunity to learn more about what is actually important and needed in society as future property leaders.

How have you connected with the Sponsor Family?

This year has brought about some valuable opportunities for me and I have had the privilege to connect with Warren & Mahoney for a few visits to the firm and a valuable “Architecture 101 – transition from study to practice” talk presented at the studio.

These opportunities are very helpful in the learning journey of student but are also awesome connections to make and continue. Being able to see clearly as to what future might hold is incredibly inspirational and having opportunities to visit a firm on a working day, experience what is it like in reality and talk to the graduate employees about how they worked to their positions is one of the most valuable things for a student that has been made possible through Keystone Trust and their sponsors.

Why is the Keystone Scholarship different to other scholarships?

The Keystone Scholarship in my mind is not really a scholarship because it is so much more! Receiving a scholarship is wonderful, the money is very useful and it can be noted on a resume because it takes effort and eligibility to receive one. However the Keystone Study Award extends much farther than that. I have already been blown away by the amount of support, opportunities provided and learning experiences that I have been able to benefit from. Receiving the award means you also receive a support network, participation in workshops, site visits, presentations, learning opportunities, job opportunities, help with everything from university course work to writing a successful resume, a professional mentor who can guide you into the career and field you want to be in, and most importantly, a family of amazing people. Applying for the Keystone Study Award was the best decision I ever made and I realise how fortunate I am to have received this scholarship every day.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

There is so much to look forward to in the new year, however I’ve got to say that the most exciting thing will probably be having in-person lectures and classes at university. I am maintaining a very positive outlook on the COVID-19 situation as it is just crucial to have live studio time studying degrees like architecture and music. I am very excited for another year with Keystone and there is already some exciting activities lined up such as the workshop in February. My coursework will be more challenging but the higher level of projects and singing music I will be able to engage in is something I enthusiastically look forward to. My goal is to work towards an internship at the end of the year!

What advice would you give for other students applying for a scholarship?

Send in the application. Do not doubt yourself. I firmly believe that luck or good fortune or chance has nothing to do with success; any single person has the ability and the power to make their dreams come true. If you think something is too difficult, the dream is unattainable, you are not good enough and you don’t do what you want to do because of fear of failure, or you settle for less, then it is likely your dream won’t come true. However, if you strongly believe that you are capable, you will apply, you will put in the work and make it happen, you have the power to do the things you want to do, study in the field you are passionate about, then with every action put towards your dream, the realisation of your goals only comes closer. We can only benefit from the things we do. We can’t gain anything from something we didn’t do. It is as simple as that. If you think it is no use applying for a scholarship then there is a 100% chance you will not receive it. If you still apply, and apply for many others, you might not receive everything but you will definitely get something, as well as the valuable experience.

It is the same with the process of preparing for university and applying for scholarships etc.

Do engage in activities that will enhance your applications and that you will be able to benefit from. Extra activities such as volunteering, playing sports, applying or receiving school leadership positions, being part of committees or organisations that are doing something you are passionate about, being part of theatre productions or just taking extra lessons in something like a language or teaching/mentoring others are all valuable additions to a scholarship application along with evidence of being a hard working student who is willing to try their very best to succeed, be a change maker and then in turn help others. Doing things that are useful and that enhance your capabilities as well as your personal self will only benefit you. You only gain from the things you actually do.

Above all, keep deciding every day to follow your goals and dreams no matter what. Don’t give up.

“The team at Keystone really understand that every student has a unique background and will undertake their own personal journey”

Michael

Student

What are you studying, and why did you choose it?

I’m studying a Bachelor of Engineering (honours) at the University of Auckland. I enjoy the technical aspects of maths and science, and I also like opportunities to be creative, innovative and practical. Engineering offers a combination of these things and so presents a career path I am excited to go down.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

My experiences with Keystone have given me perspective and invaluable insight into the journey towards becoming a successful professional. By hearing the stories of students and industry leaders who have already been in my position, I have learned that getting a degree is just one aspect of the process (albeit an important one). Quality hands-on experience and a large relevant network are also important, and Keystone is very well equipped to help with these aspects. 

Read more about Michael...

What is your favourite memory with Keystone so far?

The workshop that we had earlier this year was a very valuable experience for a number of reasons. From a number of guest speakers, we learned about achieving goals, the science of learning and how to study more effectively. We also heard from past Keystone scholarship recipients about their stories, and had a Q and A session. This event was not long after I was welcomed as a brand-new Keystone student and so it also allowed me to connect with the other Keystone students and staff in a fun, comfortable environment. 

How have you connected with the Sponsor Family?

The Keystone awards evenings, sponsor thank you event and site visits have all been great opportunities to meet with industry professionals, some of which do exactly what I am aiming for. Hearing their stories has been inspiring and being able to ask them questions has been incredibly useful. I have gained connections that will prove to be very useful in the future. 

Why is the Keystone Scholarship different to other scholarships?

Scholarships tend to be awarded to students who are likely to succeed, in order to help them past financial barriers. The Keystone Scholarship does this, but also goes far beyond it. The team at Keystone really understand that every student has a unique background and will undertake their own personal journey. There is heavy emphasis on helping students remove barriers, get past obstacles and gain opportunities that they may not otherwise get. Ultimately, the result is that students are much better equipped to achieve their dreams and fulfil their potential. 

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Specialising further in my university studies and better preparing myself for a meaningful career. Keystone organises a number of enjoyable and valuable events so I am excited for those, as well as any other opportunities that they bring our way. 

What advice would you give for other students applying for a scholarship?

Know yourself well. Make sure you are consciously aware of things like your traits, strengths, weaknesses, experiences, goals and why you are going down the path that you are following. Organisations offering scholarships often want to understand your personality. Introspection is important for you to be able to showcase yourself, but it can be difficult to do on the spot when writing an application or in an interview setting

“The Keystone Study Award gave me the confidence to excel in my papers”

Jett

Student

What are you studying, and why did you choose it?

I’m studying for a Bachelor of Surveying, at the University of Otago. I chose the Bachelor of Surveying so I wouldn’t be stuck at a desk all day, and I could work outdoors!

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

It’s not just about the money. The Keystone Study Award gave me the confidence to excel in my papers, knowing that if a team of people as qualified as Keystone thought I’d succeed, I would succeed. It’s working out well thus far. 

Read more about Jett...

What is your favourite memory with Keystone so far?

Louella and Amanda coming down to Dunedin, to visit just 3 students. Seeing that they cared enough to fly almost the length of the country to see us in person really motivated myself for my studies, and was a great break in the middle of my first Dunedin winter. 

How have you connected with the Sponsor Family?

I’ve been lucky enough to have been put in touch with previous Keystone surveying graduates, who’ve gone on to work in firms in the family. They’ve given me great perspective to the possibilities my degree offers me. 

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

I’ll be undertaking the first professional year of the BSurv, meaning I’ll now be working towards my chosen degree. This will mean I’ll be out and about, working in the field, and completing larger projects, which I can’t wait for. 

What advice would you give for other students applying for a scholarship?

You’ve got nothing to lose! Spend the time and effort to write your application, as it might just be one of the best decisions of your life. It was for me. 

“You’re also supported by other students taking the same path as you which makes you feel more comfortable.” 

Samuel

Student

What are you studying, and why did you choose it?

I am studying a Bachelor of Architecture and Future Environments at AUT because it will prepare me for the modern and conscious style of architecture needed to successfully navigate the 21st century. It specifically focuses on climate action, social inequity, and indigenous design, all of which I am very passionate about. 

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

This year the Keystone Study Award has meant I was able to live in the Akoranga Student Village on the North Campus at AUT. I haven’t had to travel 4 hours per day to attend University, and I’ve had more time for my studies and a part-time job on the North Shore. 

Read more about Samuel...

What is your favourite memory with Keystone so far?

I really enjoyed the visit to Auranga earlier this year. It was inspiring to see how the developers had a vision for what the project would do for the people that lived there, especially addressing problems like loneliness; they have a passion to create a better quality of life for the community. 

How have you connected with the Sponsor Family?

This year I attended a visit to Warren and Mahoney Architecture to learn about their practice and how they operate. Arch, who showed us around andattended my reviews at the end of the year for AUT, which was quite cool. I have also connected with the sponsor family at events such as the Sponsor Thank You Event and Awards Night, I have also met a lot of sponsors – I just wish I could remember them all! 

Why is the Keystone Scholarship different to other scholarships?

The Keystone Scholarship varies from other scholarships because of the connections you can create with people in the industry and the opportunity to learn from the best. You’re also supported by other students taking the same path as you which makes you feel more comfortable. I think what separates the Keystone Trust is that they invest a lot of time to help you grow and become accustomed to the building and construction industry too. 

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Next year I am looking forward to commencing my second year in Architecture as well as beginning my minor in Te Reo Māori. My dad has also started to play golf, so I will hopefully be able to see him more as we share this hobby. I’m also excited about the second-year mentor program provided by Keystone. 

What advice would you give for other students applying for a scholarship?

The advice I would give is to not be ashamed about your situation or worried about putting yourself forward. There are people who want to see you succeed and are willing to invest in your future, because in the end, that contributes to all of our futures. 

“Having the chance to meet such professionals in a warm and supporting environment allowed me to connect with each and every sponsor on a personal level.”

Nikita

Student

What are you studying, and why did you choose it?

I have chosen to study a Bachelor of Design Innovation at Victoria University majoring in Social Innovation and Development. My passion lies deeply within creating sustainable design solutions for the future of people, construction and the environment and I could not have a picked a degree that better reflects this. As a believer that all great things always start with great design ideas, I am excited to see what limitless opportunities my future within the field holds.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

The keystone study award has made an immense difference to both my studies and my life. The financial assistance allowed me to move from Auckland to Wellington to pursue my passions and support myself living away from home, a dream I always had but was so doubtful about. My results this year would have never been possible without the support from the Keystone family always pushing me to success. I have also had the opportunity to meet such like-minded students who I now consider some of my greatest friends. The connections I have made through Keystone even allowed me to find an awesome flat in Wellington for next year!

Read more about Nikita...

What is your favourite memory with Keystone so far?

There are so many to choose from! One of the best would have to be our visit to Warren & Mahoney Architects in Wellington. Being able to attend an architectural presentation my eyes were opened to a world of opportunity. The thinking and thought process behind each design from where a singular tap needs to be placed to the entire exterior composition are things you never realise when walking down the street but this visit has made me appreciate each small detail within the built environment.

How have you connected with the Sponsor Family?

Keystones sponsor family are an amazing team of hardworking and ambitious leaders whom I really look up too. Having the chance to meet such professionals in a warm and supporting environment allowed me to connect with each and every sponsor on a personal level. It is always clear how much the family truly cares about you and pursues such an interest in your future.

Why is the Keystone Scholarship different to other scholarships?

It’s not often you find a scholarship that doesn’t just hand you cash and send you out into the world. Keystone is about creating a support system, connections and pushing you to achieve the goals you thought were never possible with financial assistance on the side. Every time I walk away from a keystone event I feel so blessed, grateful and loved and I do not know of another scholarship that would make a young first-year university student stepping foot in the world feel so empowered.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

I am really looking forward to continuing to grow and learn in both myself and my studies. Next year my degrees undoubtably begins to specialise in sustainable solutions and I couldn’t be more excited to see what this entails. 2021 also brings me my first year of flatting! I know this will be an awesome experience although I’m not sure how much I am looking forward to the meals…

What advice would you give for other students applying for a scholarship?

Just do it! I was never going to apply for the keystone scholarship as I didn’t think I’d ever had a chance however one of my high school teachers really encouraged me and I couldn’t say no. Put your barriers behind you and believe in yourself because if you put good energy into the world, good energy will come back.

“I came to realise that the sponsor family are very down-to-earth people who are willing to help. Letting us know that they were once in our shoes!”

Maxine

Student

What are you studying, and why did you choose it?

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Urban Planning (Honours) at the University of Auckland. I chose to study this degree because people who know me would understand how much pride I take in where I come from. Growing up in a low socioeconomic urban area has created my passion for people which I am hoping to integrate as an urban planner, alongside my passion for design.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

As the saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child.” The Keystone Study Award has allowed me to gain another group of support who encourage me the same way my family at home does and so I consider the Keystone family as a part of my village. Regular check-ups were made through text or call which helped keep me on my feet throughout the year. I have reached the end of my first year and thinking back on it, I don’t think I would have started uni as confidently as I did without knowing that I have got the support of my village behind me.

Read more about Maxine...

What is your favourite memory with Keystone so far?

All site visits so far have been very interesting and I enjoyed myself at every single one I was able to attend! However, the first event for 2020 has been the most memorable one for me which was the Keystone Future Property Leaders Workshop. We had Dr Kerry Spackman and Graeme Martin who held sessions on study skills and personal motivation, which I found valuable as it made me feel less nervous about starting my first year at uni. I was also able to interact more with other students throughout the team building sessions which was awesome as I got to meet more of the Keystone family!

How have you connected with the Sponsor Family?

I have had the opportunity to meet and hold great conversations with Keystone’s sponsor family through networking events and site visits! Meeting sponsors for the first time was nerve-racking for me because I felt intimidated as they have been in the property industry for so long and I have not, then I came to realise that they are very down-to-earth people who are willing to help. Letting us know that they were once in our shoes! 

Why is the Keystone Scholarship different to other scholarships?

The Keystone Scholarship uniquely stands different to other scholarships because other than financial help, they invest so much of their time and effort to ensure the students are achieving to the best of their ability. They organise events throughout the year which I personally think encourages students the most. For me, there were often times where I felt exhausted or unmotivated to study but attending the networking events and meeting urban planning graduates or sponsor’s in the family reminded me of where I want to be and so I would feel inspired to keep going. 

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Despite the interruptions Covid-19 made, I really enjoyed the first year of my degree so I’m looking forward to continuing studying! Keystone always organises great events for us students so I’m also looking forward to more of those, as well as getting to know our new family members!

What advice would you give for other students applying for a scholarship?

The best piece of advice I received when applying for the Keystone Study Award was to be myself and so I would say the same thing to those applying for this scholarship! It’s so easy to doubt yourself maybe because your friends hold more leadership roles than you do or for whatever reason, but if you apply knowing that you are capable and passionate about what you want to achieve then Keystone will see the potential right through you! That’s one of the many things I love about Keystone, it’s about who you are! 

Our sponsor family