What is a Student Advisor?

Student Advisors provide a range of support around your academic, personal, career pathway and advocacy needs. When you meet with a Student Advisor, they can listen to your concerns, help assess your needs, and provide personalised advice to help you make informed decisions. The team’s role is to provide you with immediate support, which can include referrals to other more specialised support services on campus or in the community.


“Sometimes a learner is feeling overwhelmed and doesn’t know what support they need or what is available. That’s why we’re here.”

Our Student Advisors are happy to chat and provide problem solving and guidance. No issue is too big or too small, you are always welcome to access their services.

What’s the difference between a Student Advisor and a Learning Advisor?

Student Advisors can provide guidance on a range of different issues, while Learning Advisors focus on academics. Don’t stress if you don’t know where to start or aren’t sure who to book an appointment with—all our Student Success teams are great at connecting learners to the right resources and will help you figure out the right place to go.

What roles do the different Student Advisors have?

The first thing you’ll notice about our Student Advisors is the genuine care they demonstrate for ākonga. The three members of the work with all students, but each also has a specific area of focus. Celia Hepburn specialises in on campus learners, Sheena Roy takes care of international students, and Katy Lockwood connects with our online/distance ākonga. Each of our Student Advisors takes pride in ensuring learners feel connected and supported throughout their academic journey.  

The Student Advisors point out that success might look different for every learner, and they work hard to make sure that your needs and goals are always at the centre of the conversation. Every learner has their own unique circumstances, and the Student Advisors design bespoke support for each situation.

“We work alongside learners. Whether that means a warm welcome on campus or guidance for a specific problem, we’re here to be the first port of call.”

How do I get in touch with a Student Advisor?

If you would like to chat with one of our Student Advisors, you can make an appointment by visiting Student Success at the Hub, emailing studentsuccess@op.ac.nz, phoning 0800 762 786, or you can book an appointment directly through our online booking system.

Meet our Student Advisors

Celia Hepburn (she/her) works with learners on the Dunedin campus. “It’s a real privilege to work alongside the curious, innovative, vibrant people who have chosen OP to further their learning. I feel very fortunate to be part of their learning journey. No day is the same—no question, concern, issue, or challenge is the same. I work to support learners with balancing the demands of Polytech life with the responsibilities and challenges of life outside of study.”

Sheena Roy (she/her) has worked with international learners at Otago Polytechnic since 2008, supporting them to settle into their new environment, providing campus and city orientations, advice on kiwi culture, social activities, help with personal challenges, and assistance with visa renewals and insurance claims. “International learners are a pleasure to work with, bringing a variety of cultural aspects, and share new ways of thinking and seeing the world. Multicultural classrooms are rich in diversity, with opportunities for growth and learning. Interactions between kiwi learners and international learners encourages friendship and understanding of other cultures.”

Katy Lockwood (she/her) works with distance and online learners. “It’s great to be able to work with ākonga and kaimahi all over the motu to find ways to support learner success. Studying online can be isolating for some ākonga, so it’s important to build a connection with them—whether that’s calling to check in and just see how they are doing, arranging learning support, or even co-ordinating a laptop to be sent to their rural address! I love building online communities that bring people together.”

Published on 12 May 2023

Orderdate: 12 May 2023
Expiry: 12 May 2025