Emily Gualter

'We all work together and I enjoy that camaraderie...'

  • Emily gualter

(Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Tuwharetoa)

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Civil Engineering

Studying towards a Master of Engineering in Management

Even in the early stages of her undergrad degree, Emily was grateful for the opportunities that studying at UC had provided so far. Although often busy with her Engineering studies, a big feature of her time here was her involvement in community work, both at the University and in Christchurch.

‘I took part in the Emerging Leaders’ Programme in my first year, and found it to be a great way to make the jump to university much easier,’ Emily says. ‘I enjoyed the retreat weekend before uni started in February, where I met heaps of people who have become some of my closest friends. And then throughout the year I listened to interesting speakers, completed community service projects and had the opportunity to organise my own event, the Big Day Out for Families, for families with primary school children who have ongoing hardships. This has been very rewarding and I have learned a lot about event organisation, budgeting, time management and marketing.’

Emily was a finalist in the New Zealand Women of Influence awards in the social enterprise and community service category because of her work on the Big Day Out for Families. She has also focused on the community with an internship at the Volunteer Army Foundation, working on their social media activity and helping to form policy around growing the organisation. Emily is also a club member of the Papanui Rotary Club, which gets her involved in many activities in the community, such as building disaster kits for Fiji after Cyclone Winston last year.

Another activity Emily found rewarding was to be a mentor to an international student at UC, which has resulted in a lasting friendship. ‘Taking on a mentee is something I would recommend every student does at some stage during their degree,’ she says. ‘The support networks the uni provided are second to none. For example the Māori Development Team run a mentoring programme each year where senior students, Tuākana, help with the transition from school to tertiary study for first-year students, teinā.’ 

When it comes to her Engineering career, Emily says she always liked the outdoors and was interested in geology. ‘Throughout school I enjoyed science and maths, and Engineering seemed to be a natural path.’ 

Her degree has led her to take part in internships with Jacobs Engineering Group, Fletcher Construction, and Downer Group, all experiences she is grateful for. ‘The summer work gives really good opportunities to learn about different companies and parts of the industry so you have the best knowledge on where you want to work upon graduation.’

Emily also had the opportunity to go on an exchange to University of Adelaide for a semester in her final year.

If you have the opportunity go on an exchange, it is a great responsibility free way to experience living overseas. Experiencing a different culture and living and working in a different environment – something I would recommend to any UC student.’

She has her eye on a future career in management, which made the MEM a perfect option for postgrad study. ‘After getting a lot of technical knowledge from my engineering degree I wanted to arm myself with some business and management skills to leap into the challenges of a modern career head first. MEM creates a really well rounded education in my eyes,’ she says. ‘You get to find a company that interests you and do a project for them, which gives you the inside knowledge about them prior to making any decisions about graduate employment. You can also get paid for your time.

My undergraduate degree has really taught me how to learn the technical nuts and bolts of engineering problems and now in my master’s my mind is being expanded and I’m learning how to think critically and laterally preparing me for our changing world.

‘My ultimate career goal is to be in executive management of a New Zealand company improving the lives of all New Zealanders.’

She comments that the work on the Engineering programme is challenging, especially early on ‘because there is a lot of maths and physics and it can be hard to see where it is going. It can be quite hard for girls when there aren’t many in the class – but it is fun. With such a high workload it is important that we all work together and I enjoy that camaraderie’. 

As well as her community work, Emily packs in numerous activities outside study. ‘I enjoy sports, particularly running, rowing and hockey, and I am looking for new challenges in the multisports area. I’ve taken part in the ENSOC [Engineering Society] touch competition, which is just one of the many co-curricular activities the UC clubs put on.

‘There is also plenty of socialising to do at Canterbury!’ she adds.

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