'I love the diversity that comes with what I study...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and Economics
As she reaches the latter stages of her degree, Sophie says she has been inspired by her studies to make science the basis of her future.
'Every day here I learn new and exciting things about the wonderful world we live in. Ecology in particular has become my passion. The field trips I have been on to the Cass field station have definitely enhanced my appreciation for how wonderful the environment of New Zealand is, and how important it is that we look after it.'
Sophie is hungry to start her career, and hoping to 'make a positive difference' as a UC graduate.
'I hope that in my career I can help to conserve, manage and improve understanding about how our world works - both environmentally and economically. Ideally, I will be in a position where I can inform others through research and policy of ways to improve the functionality of ecosystems whilst still being economically sustainable. Often these two goals seem contradictory, but I have hope that there are ways of progressing that are beneficial for all.'
While she was at high school, Sophie was expecting to study commerce at university, but was persuaded that her academic strength was in science. However, by choosing to study at UC, she was able to do both. 'Finding out that I could study Economics in a Bachelor of Science, I was sold!' she says. 'Doing a double major can be very full-on at times, trying to squeeze everything into three years, but it is definitely achievable.
'I love the diversity that comes with what I study. One day I am in a computer lab working on complex mathematical solutions for Economics, and the next I could be out on a field trip trapping insects!'
A major feature of Sophie's time at university has been her involvement in UC's Emerging Leaders' Development Programme (ELDP). This started with her winning a $5,000 scholarship as a first-year student, although she says the other part of the prize, a year-long leadership programme, was what really appealed to her.
'I had been involved in leadership roles at high school and so I was excited at the prospect of taking that further. The difference the programme made is immense - from it I became a mentor, participated in CHCH 101, amongst other amazing community service projects. I made it onto the student exec of previous recipients that leads ELDP for the first-years, and I made some lifelong friends.'
The friendships she has developed have helped make Sophie's time at UC 'life-changing'.
'I love UC and I take so much pride in it,' she says. 'I love keeping busy and meeting new people, and the huge range of clubs at Canterbury has been wonderful in fostering this. I've played soccer most of my life and have taken up quidditch with Canterbury QuidSoc, which is as rewarding as it is entertaining. I am very involved with CathSoc too, which has been a great outlet during my time here. I've been able to help out in the local community, by working with the Student Volunteer Army and Drug-ARM - that was an eye-opening and rewarding experience.'
She adds: 'The UC community is such a welcoming, inspiring, friendly and motivating one. All of the support is there ready and waiting to help students succeed. I have made the most wonderful friends, and the opportunities I have been presented with over the last few years are phenomenal.'