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Student story

Jessie Cross

20 July 2023

"I had summer jobs in both the scientific and legal arenas during my time at UC..."


Bachelor of Science in Geography and Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Laws

Recruitment Manager, LRTT (Limited Resource Teacher Training)

Studying science was always Jessie's plan, however Law became a newly discovered interest after trying out courses in her first year.

"I'm really happy with my study choices. I had summer jobs in both the scientific and legal arenas during my time at UC, and it was great to have the opportunity to see how my degrees could be applied in a working environment."

Jessie has found all of her subjects to be particularly useful.

"I enjoyed my science subjects because they taught me concepts that I could see operating in the natural world. It's so cool when you can identify plants, birds, even insects, and figure out how the landscape you're in was created. Biology and Geography have given me a really useful knowledge base in the environmental science arena."

"I enjoy Law because of the critical thinking involved. There often isn't one right answer in Law, it's all a matter of interpretation and the strength of the argument that you can put forward. I enjoy the challenge that brings, and the creative thinking it requires."

Jessie had received a number of scholarships to start her UC journey, including an Emerging Leaders' Programme Scholarship, a UC Dux Scholarship, and the Ashburton Justice of the Peace Association Scholarship.

"I had always thought that I would end up at Otago Uni, but then in year 13 I came and had a look around UC and I was blown away by how awesome the campus is. There is so much open space and trees, and it's great that everything you need is on one campus."

"I had also heard really good things about UC's School of Law, with several of the professors writing text books that are used at Law Schools throughout New Zealand. For me, it was a no-brainer."

UC's social lifestyle was definitely one of Jessie's favourite aspects.

"I loved the clubs scene. There are so many clubs at UC, there is literally something for everyone. From academic clubs, to cultural and sporting clubs, service clubs, social clubs; so many clubs! There is no excuse to be bored at UC because there is always a club you can join to fill in your spare time."

Jessie was secretary for UC Red, the Red Cross club on campus, for 2013, which involved the Red Cross Youth Forum where she was Team Leader. She was also the Education and Welfare Officer for LAWSOC, organising tutorials and events such as Wellness Week. She was also a cast member for the Law Revue comedy show in 2013 and 2014.

"In 2014 we sold out all three shows, performing to a total audience of around 1000 people! The Law Revue experience is one that I cannot recommend highly enough to any Law student who has even an inkling for performing."

Spending her first year at College House was another great way to socialise.

"It was an unforgettable and incredibly fun experience. I would definitely recommend the halls of residence to anyone who has the chance to live in them. They are such a fantastic place to meet new people, make friends, and get to learn the ropes of Uni life in a fun and supportive environment."

On the academic side, Jessie made a point of using UC's support services.

"The Academic Skills Centre is a one-stop-shop for all of those questions you are bound to have when you come to Uni like "how should I structure this essay?" or "how do I use footnotes?" or even just "is my spelling and grammar okay?" The Academic Skills Centre are so helpful for all of these questions and more," she says.

The practical side to her studies has also been helpful.

"I went on several field trips through my Science degree (and even one Law field trip for an Environmental Law and Policy paper!). UC has an awesome field station at Cass that I went to twice for Geography and Biology field trips. Field trips are a really unique part of the Uni experience. They are a great way to learn practical skills and see how the principles you learn in lectures apply in the real world."

Jessie ended up finishing her Law degree on an exchange to Nottingham University in the UK.

"My time on exchange in Nottingham was definitely a highlight of my time at University. The teaching style was really different, with small tutorial-style interactive lessons rather than lectures. I really enjoyed the opportunity to delve into a range of different subjects like International Criminal Law and UK Human Rights Law."

"And then there was the social side of course… I joined the University's Latin and Ballroom Dancing Society to try something new, and ended up competing in three Latin and Ballroom Dance competitions. I was staying with a group of other exchange students in a hall of residence, so we had a great time exploring Nottingham and the Peak District. The Rugby World Cup was on while I was over there so I managed to catch up with a few friends from home too. The opportunity to travel while studying was awesome. My partner came over with me and we travelled for 10 weeks around Europe before my studies started, and then I did some more solo travel at the end of my trip. I can't recommend exchange enough!"

After returning home, Jessie began work as a Law Clerk and then lawyer for Chapman Tripp in their resource management team in Christchurch.

"I was really interested in environmental law and policy, there are so many environmental problems that our generation are going to have to overcome, so I wanted to learn more about the role resource management law has to play in that. I really enjoyed my time at Chapman Tripp and learned a lot. My team were great to work with."

Following her work in environmental law, Jessie has taken her career global with LRTT (Limited Resource Teacher Training), a social enterprise founded by teachers in the UK. LRTT offers development opportunities for teachers from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and the US to become training mentors for teachers in countries with limited teaching resources, for example Uganda and Nepal. Jessie spent her first week on-the-job in Laos, working with the teachers on a training Fellowship there, and getting up to speed with everything LRTT does.

"It was probably the best first week of work ever… I had just got back from a five-week trip around Hawaii and South America with my fiancé and the next day I got a phone call offering me the job with LRTT, and asking how soon I could come to Laos! It was LRTT's first Fellowship in Laos, where they have partnered with local teacher training colleges to provide training workshops for local teachers. The group of teachers from the UK and US who attended the Fellowship and ran the workshops were incredible – so enthusiastic, positive and so eager to share their teaching skills and experience with the Laos teachers."

Jessie is now back in Christchurch working as LRTT's Recruitment Manager where she is recruiting teachers from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and the US to send on LRTT's overseas teacher training Fellowships, as well as helping out with marketing and comms, and anything else that comes up!

"It sounds like a big change from law, but at its core my new role is all about building relationships, effective communication, with a bit of problem solving thrown in – so there is a lot of cross-over with the skills I learned from studying and working in law. So far I am really enjoying the change!"

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