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Student story

Ellen Wilson-Hill

31 August 2023

"I love the variety of work that I get given..."

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Biological Sciences
Bachelor of Science with Honours in Environmental Science
Graduate Environmental Scientist

Why was UC the best place for you to study Environmental Science?

UC not only has amazing facilities, a beautiful campus, and offers great opportunities for learning, but it has great student accommodation and a club scene that you can’t find at another university. This is such a such great way to meet new people and try new things.

Which clubs were you a part of?

I was the administrator for BioSoc for two years. Each discipline has a club, so I was part of BioSoc, and this was a great way to get tutoring or support or make friends within your course.

I was part of Women in EngineeringWomen in BusinessENSOCUC NetballThe Gentleman’s ClubCUBA, and more, and went to lots and lots of events!

What inspired you to study the environment?

I was passionate about the environment and finding solutions to improve or protect it – particularly conversation work was what inspired me and that led me to study Environmental Science.

What’s the best thing about your degree?

I have loved the variety of work you get from different papers, such as lab work, field trips, and group assignments. This is a growing field with a variety of interesting papers from different subjects so you are almost guaranteed to find something you are passionate about.

I also got to be a Christchurch City Council summer scholarship student with the coastal hazards adaptation and planning team.

And now you’re working as an Environmental Scientist! What’s involved with that?

My job involves a mixture of field and office work from a variety of subjects. I mostly work in contaminated land – completing preliminary and detailed site investigations which involves a detailed desktop study and often a site visit. I also conduct field work which could be collecting soil samples, or more recently I have been doing geotechnical work which has involved logging soil cores in the Hawkes Bay for cyclone recovery work.

It must be so interesting getting to travel to different sites and doing different things each day.

I love the variety of work that I get given – it could be contaminated land or water related or geotechnical. Or reporting writing, modelling, or field work.

How did your degree prepare you for working with all those different methods?

In University you will work on a variety of different assignments often at the same time. I became very good at time management and learning to balance my many assignments. This is a great skill to have and has helped my transition to work as you often receive different projects with different timelines and difference allocated hours. So being able to manage and balance these projects is essential.

So, what else do you hope to do in your career?

I would love to continue learning within the field of environmental science – there is so much more for me to learn!

I would love to become an expert on this field but want to be able to discover what aspect of environmental science I love most first. Working overseas in different environments is a goal of mine too.

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