Jessie Cross

'I want to have a career that gives me the opportunity to apply my scientific knowledge of the environment in the legal sphere...'

  • Jessie Cross

Studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Laws

Summer Clerk, Chapman Tripp

Studying science was always Jessie's plan, however Law became a newly discovered passion after trying out courses in her first year.

'I'm really happy with my choices. I've had summer jobs in both the scientific and legal arenas over the past few years, so it's been great to have the opportunity to see how my degrees can be applied in a working environment.'

Jessie has found all of her subjects to be particularly useful.

'I like my science subjects because they teach me concepts that I can see operating in the natural world. It's so cool when you can identify plants, birds, even insects, and figure out how the landscape you're in was created. Biology and Geography have given me a really useful knowledge base in the environmental science arena.

'I enjoy Law because of the critical thinking involved. There often isn't one right answer in Law, it's all a matter of interpretation and the strength of the argument that you can put forward. I enjoy the challenge that brings, and the creative thinking it requires.'

Jessie had received a number of scholarships to start her UC journey, including an Emerging Leaders' Programme Scholarship, a UC Dux Scholarship and the Ashburton Justice of the Peace Association Scholarship.

'I had always thought that I would end up at Otago Uni, but then in year 13 I came and had a look around UC and I was blown away by how awesome the campus is. There is so much open space and trees, and it's great that everything you need is on one campus.

'I had also heard really good things about UC's School of Law, with several of the professors writing text books that are used at Law Schools throughout New Zealand. For me, it was a no-brainer.'

UC's social lifestyle is definitely one of Jessie's favourite aspects.

'I love the clubs scene. There are so many clubs at UC, there is literally something for everyone. From academic clubs, to cultural and sporting clubs, service clubs, social clubs; so many clubs! There is no excuse to be bored at UC because there is always a club you can join to fill in your spare time.'

Jessie was secretary for UC Red, the Red Cross club on campus, for 2013, which involved the Red Cross Youth Forum where she was Team Leader. She was also the Education and Welfare Officer for LAWSOC organising tutorials and events such as Wellness Week. This also meant becoming a cast member for the Law Revue comedy show in 2013 and 2014.

'In 2014 we sold out all three shows, performing to a total audience of around 1000 people! The Law Revue experience is one that I cannot recommend highly enough to any Law student who has even an inkling for performing.'

Spending her first year at College House was another great way to socialise.

'It was an unforgettable and incredibly fun experience. I would definitely recommend the halls of residence to anyone who has the chance to live in them. They are such a fantastic place to meet new people, make friends, and get to learn the ropes of Uni life in a fun and supportive environment.'

On the academic side, Jessie has made a point of using UC's support services.

'The Academic Skills Centre is a one-stop-shop for all of those questions you are bound to have when you come to Uni like "how should I structure this essay?" or "how do I use footnotes?" or even just "is my spelling and grammar okay?" The Academic Skills Centre are so helpful for all of these questions and more,' she says.

The practical side to her studies has also been helpful.

'I have been on several field trips through my Science degree (and even one Law field trip for an Environmental Law and Policy paper!). UC has an awesome field station at Cass that I have been to twice for Geography and Biology field trips. Field trips are a really unique part of the Uni experience. They are a great way to learn practical skills and see how the principles you learn in lectures apply in the real world.'

As for the future, Jessie plans to finish her Law degree on an exchange to Nottingham University in the UK. 'I'm so excited!' she says.

Her career goals intend to make a big difference.

'I'm really interested in environmental law and policy, there are so many environmental problems that our generation are going to have to overcome so I would like to be a part of that solution. Ideally I want to have a career that gives me the opportunity to apply my scientific knowledge of the environment in the legal sphere, to create solutions that more effectively protect our environment.'

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