'If science is what you love then you should go for it...'
Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with an endorsement in Ecology
Studying towards a Master of Science in Ecology
‘Science and nature have always been a big part of my life,’ Christie says, when explaining her choice of study. She was encouraged by her parents to explore nature from an early age, and has fond memories of tinkering with chemistry and biology sets with her older brother and twin sister. ‘Biology is fascinating and all you need to do is look out the window to see so many different biological processes going on. It was always my favourite subject at school and it was an easy decision to carry on studying it at university.’
Having followed her brother’s recommendation of UC’s Department of Biological Sciences – ‘he loved it here, and so do I’ – Christie has completed her BSc and is currently studying plant pollinators for her master’s degree. One aspect she enjoys about her degree is the range of the day-to-day work she does.
‘I can be out in the field capturing insects one day and the next I could be in the office on the computer, or in the lab looking down a microscope. There are so many different sides to an MSc and all of them provide invaluable experiences for future study or careers.’
Other experiences that have already shown their worth are several scholarships that Christie has earned throughout her time at UC. These include the Canterbury Bright Start Scholarship from the Canterbury Tertiary Education Millennial Trust, a UC Summer Scholarship, and the UC Ngāi Tahu Research Centre postgraduate scholarship.
Christie highly recommends applying for UC’s Summer Scholarships because of the chance to gain important research skills. ‘It’s an opportunity that should not be missed!’ she says. ‘My project involved studying native and exotic pollinators and their plant preferences at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. You get hands-on experience and in my case, an opportunity to write my first scientific paper. It is a good insight into what postgraduate study involves.’
Christie’s passion for biology has filtered into her interests outside study. When she isn’t collecting insects through outdoor exploration and practising pinning and photographing them, she’s also using them as inspiration for a small jewellery business she has with her sister. ‘Our pieces are hugely influence by our studies and we have running themes of nature and geometry (my sister is studying statistics).’
Christie could not endorse learning biology at UC enough. ‘If science is what you love then you should go for it!’ she says. ‘When you start you don’t necessarily know what field you want to end up in, but your first year is really great for exploring all the different subjects within biology. This allows you to find what you are interested in.
‘The staff at UC are truly amazing. All of them are so passionate about what they teach, it is infectious!’
Christie hopes that she will continue to work in the research field on pollinators here in New Zealand and that her work will lead to some time overseas in the future.