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Student story

Katie Collier

20 July 2023

"I knew that I wanted to make a difference through mitigating modern environmental problems..."


Bachelor of Science in Geography with an endorsement in Environmental Science, and a Bachelor of Laws

When it came to choosing her study options, Katie had a very clear and powerful goal in mind.

"I knew that I wanted to make a difference through mitigating modern environmental problems. I've always been passionate about climate change. I can envision myself shaping policy around it and other environmental issues," she says.

As such, she ended up choosing to study both Science and Law degrees, focusing on environmental law with her studies in Geography and Environmental Science. The two degrees are an interesting combination, and one that Katie finds equal use from when developing new skills and expertise on the environment.

"People are always surprised by my choice to combine a Law degree with a Science degree. I can't think of a better duo, particularly if, like me, you're interested in resource management.

"I love being able to put two different 'hats' on, when considering the environment. Katie the Geography student could build you a map to show where sea level rise might affect a residential area. Katie the Law student could tell you how to notify those residents, and legally effect warnings and relocations."

Choosing UC by the advice of her parents, Katie ended up making the most of her time here because "UC has a wonderfully tight knit community, and so many amazing opportunities". She started at UC with the Emerging Leaders" Development Programme through a scholarship, which saw her develop leadership skills and take part in Christchurch community projects with fellow students.

Within the immediate UC community, Katie is the current President of UC Kakariki, the sustainability student club, and the Education and Welfare Officer for LAWSOC, the Law students' society.

"I think the 'campus' feel of UC is a major strength. With a strong club presence, everyone knows everyone here, and the people and place are both vibrant and inclusive," she says.

Katie had also stayed at College House accommodation on campus for her first two years here, and was awarded the Mary Olif Davey Scholarship for her Environmental Science study there.

"The experience was fantastic: I met so many amazing people, and found a home away from home. The culture and tradition of that hall of residence in particular is stupendous."

She has also received the Leigh and Judith Pownall Prize for her Geography study – twice. The award was the icing on the cake for her love for Geography and the outdoors, which she got to realise more in the Geography field trips.

"I've taken two papers with field trip elements – GEOG 211 and GEOG 313. Both field trips go out to Cass, which is a gorgeous spot. I loved being encouraged to climb the nearby hills and mountains (one day I'll manage to summit Sugarloaf!) and being immersed in the experience with my peers.

"I've also taken four summer papers – BIOS 201, GEOG 213, WATR 201 and ANTA 101. They were all very distinct, but I really enjoyed them, and would highly recommend them to others."

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