'The chance to select my own research topic was too much of an opportunity to pass up...'
Bachelor of Forestry Science with Honours
Thornton is happy that studying Forestry Science has enabled him to combine his interests in geography, biology, economics and the environment in a degree that gives him interesting and varied career options.
'I did not want to focus on one area, or study towards a degree that had poor job opportunities,' he says. 'I am hoping to develop my career in forest harvesting, either in New Zealand or overseas.'
One formative experience Thornton had during his undergraduate studies was to spend a summer working at Scion, the Crown Research Institute for the forestry industry that is based at UC.
'I had a field and lab assistant-type role, and worked across a number of biosecurity-orientated studies. It gave me a brief introduction into scientific research and probably influenced me to continue my studies.'
Thornton decided to progress to a master's degree so that he could take on more in-depth research work.
'I'm assessing the viability of the Austrian-built Koller 602h cable yarder in New Zealand,' he says. 'It's the first of its machine class in this country and there is very little data internationally on this machine. The resulting study is new and fresh.'
It's an exciting stage of his academic development.
'The chance to select my own research topic and further my education while under scholarship funding was too much of an opportunity to pass up,' he adds.
Originally from Timaru, Thornton says that coming to UC has had many plus points, both inside and outside the classroom.
'The small classes, and the friendly and helpful staff make a great atmosphere on the academic side, and being in Christchurch there are good outdoor lifestyle opportunities. In my time at UC I have found that Christchurch is close to a number of good beaches, ski fields and mountain bike trails, not to mention tramping, hunting and fishing spots. The challenge is not what to do, but rather how to fit it all in.'
He recommends a Forestry degree for its variety and versatility.
'If you want to apply a wide range of subjects to reach a final result this is the degree to do. The job opportunities are wide and many, and in many locations. The option for office or outdoor work does exist, but it is your choice.'