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Student story

Ashley Beaton

20 July 2023

Ngāi Tahu

"All around I constantly feel supported to do my best and achieve as much as I can..."


(Ngāi Tahu)

Studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Geography

"I wanted to study people and their interaction with the environment," Ashley says about her double-major degree. "I believe it is important to have a good understanding of the environment so you can educate the community to help them understand the environmental changes around them."

Ashley’s specialisation in Environmental Science and Geography gives her the best of theory and practical work around protecting the environment. 

"The ability to do both Geography and Environmental Science together means I have the skill set to not only understand what is happening in the environment but how to work with the community to help combat negative changes occurring," she says.

It was with the help of course advisors that Ashley found her subject combination possible. She strongly advises other future students to seek their support to see what other opportunities can come from UC’s Science degrees.

"There are so many papers you won’t even know can count towards your degree, it changed the game for me and I have been able to follow my passions and interests," she says. 

‘My courses have given me the tools to be able to research and understand topics that I want to explore more deeply. I have also been able to take papers such as SCIM 101 which gave me the perspective of indigenous knowledge and how understanding this knowledge is a vital part of understanding modern day science.’

UC was able to answer her study needs and goals with its supportive community and updated campus.

"I love the feeling of being a part of something big! But at the same time never feeling small! The lecturers and staff at the University are incredibly approachable making you always feel welcome. All around I constantly feel supported to do my best and achieve as much as I can, not just by my peers but also by my lecturers and tutors. 

"Facilities are also a big thing to me as I want to be able to learn in an environment that there are no boundaries, being in Canterbury means there is a large array of landscapes to work in." 

As such, it is UC’s unique field trip experiences that have been especially inspirational for Ashley.

"It is all great to read something out of a book, but being able to see it happening in the real world motivates you in a different way. Knowing that what you are learning can be applied when you leave is also encouraging; you know that everything they teach you really has a purpose or a reason behind it."

This is something that Ashley has been hoping to instil in the UC student community herself, as the 2019 President of the Geography Society on campus.

"We have plenty of social and academic events throughout the year with the staff even getting involved in a few of our social events. The biggest thing I would say to anyone is sign up to clubs and go to events even if you have nobody to go with! It gives you the opportunity to meet people who are interested in the same topics as you."

Following her work with GeogSoc, Ashley hopes to continue encouraging and educating others about our world for the better.

"Community engagement is important to me because if more people understand the impact they have, then they see that everybody’s small changes results in big changes in our environment."

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