'I enjoyed the STAR courses... try to do some at school and get ahead with your studies.'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics
Starting her University of Canterbury experience early has given Rata a big boost towards achieving her career goals. She took part in the STAR programme while attending Hagley Community College.
'I completed COSC 121 and COSC 122 [Computer Science] and PHIL 110 [Philosophy] which meant I could go straight into second year – very helpful when you're studying towards a triple major,' she says.
'I enjoyed the STAR courses. COSC 122 was great because it extended my study in computer science at a level that would not have been offered at high school.'
Rata also credits her STAR courses with helping her gain valuable and relevant work experience.
'Having those courses under my belt already, I was able to apply for and work as an intern at Orion Health as a software engineer over the summer break before starting at Canterbury.'
She adds: 'I would recommend to others who are looking at university to try to do some STAR courses at school and get ahead with your studies. It's a good introduction to university life.'
Rata says she was motivated to study her degree subjects through her love of quantum physics, computer science and logic.
'I like to read up on papers and blogs in all things science and these are my top three things to read and talk about. I love that through my degree I am learning things that allow me to work towards quantum computing, which is really a culmination of what I'm interested in. I would ultimately like to move into a career researching quantum computation.'
After completing STAR and winning the Emerging Leaders' All-Round Excellence Award, as well as a Hugh McDougall Rankin Education Scholarship, UC was a natural choice for Rata. She was quick to get involved in university life, and volunteered to be the class rep for one of her courses.
'If any problems arise in the course, my job is to liaise with the lecturers and students to resolve the issue,' she explains.
Rata describes herself as 'a bit of a generalist' and when she’s not busy in the classroom, labs or library, she likes to go tramping, skiing and climbing and to learn more about electronics, programming and philosophy. 'I'm part of the Quidditch club too, which is good fun!'