Helping babies breathe.
Dominic O'Connor
Get to know Dominic O'Connor,
Mechanical Engineering, Economics and Finance

Why did you choose UC?

Because of its great reputation for Engineering. With the rebuild going on, the Engineering school is getting more and more in the limelight, which has solidified the fact that it's such a good school. Things are going from strength to strength.

What does that academic reputation mean to you?

I know that I'm going to get four years of very good education, taught by world leading researchers in the field. You learn how to problem-solve and work in a team – and you learn not to panic when you get given a problem you don't understand! The programme sets you up really well for your career.

Favourite project so far?

Last year I worked with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, looking at the influence of their breathing therapy on newborn babies. It’s called ‘nasal highflow therapy’ which is a cannula that continuously blows fresh air into the nasal cavity. It was a year-long project, so you go from start to end, working with a whole team and overcoming all the hurdles along the way.

What impact did the project have?

No-one had measured the pressure and carbon dioxide concentrations deep in a baby’s airway before, so we worked out a way of doing it safely with 3D printed models. Trying to quantify the benefits was fascinating. It was something that hadn't been done before.

"You get to meet people, grow as person and end up with a great degree on top of it all."

So engineering isn’t all roads and buildings?

With engineering, your first thought is cars, airplanes and bridges. But with mechanical engineering we do everything right through to bio-engineering and fluid dynamics. There’s more to it than meets the eye!

Any other highlights of your time at UC?

This summer a few students came up with the idea of biking the length of NZ to raise money. We biked from Bluff to Cape Reinga and raised over $7500 for child poverty. We had an adventure and raised money for charity at the same time. My knees are still recovering, but it was fantastic fun!

So – would you recommend UC?

Absolutely. It's an awesome uni. It has the best club scene in NZ. You get to meet people, grow as person and end up with a great degree on top of it all. I’d make the same decision again.

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