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Student story

Sam Davidson

20 July 2023

"I have made some awesome lifelong friends and had the chance to be taught by world leaders..."


Sam’s love for tinkering had him initially on the path of an Engineering degree at UC, but his first year introduced him to a new passion for how the earth works instead. He ended up switching degrees to a Bachelor of Science specialising in the two earth sciences.

"The involvement of the Geology and Geography papers throughout the Christchurch earthquakes further helped sway me to continue my degree as a BSc," he says. "The journey I have had at UC has helped me build skills in areas that I never thought of before studying. My studies have helped me to investigate the world I live in in a new way."

Changing his study turned out to be a great option for Sam, who soon found his favourite aspect of university study to be the supportive community in the two subjects.

"I found the Geology and Geography departments were great and I didn’t feel like I needed to go anywhere else! The people I have met are awesome, both the academic staff and my fellow classmates have been an important part of my time at UC. The many late nights I have spent with mates studying is something I won’t forget anytime soon."

He especially enjoyed the opportunity to learn through UC’s renowned field trips in stations around the South Island.

"I have taken a variety of field trips over my time at UC, from investigating old faults in Kaikōura to flying UAV’s at UC’s Cass field station. The immersion of each trip really helped cement the topics we were learning in class at the time. It also helped me get to know my lecturers and classmates in a less formal setting."

Sam is now completing master’s studies in Geology, which has so far included even more opportunities to study geological phenomena outside of the classroom.

"I have really enjoyed the content we have looked at this year in my courses. I have made some awesome lifelong friends and had the chance to be taught by some world leaders in their field.

"So far this year I have already had multiple fieldtrips looking at landforms and how they develop which has been really cool to see first-hand. UC is so close to a wide variety of world class examples of geologic structures, such as the Hope Fault which was one of the first ever described strike slip faults in academic literature after it ruptured in 1888."

He’s particularly excited about the chance to conduct his own Geology research in the second year of his master’s, particularly in the area of Structural Geology.

"I cannot wait to continue on to undertake my own research at UC and see where that takes me from there!" he says. "I am hoping to do some work in urban planning hopefully, local council work or something along those lines. Otherwise I would be keen to look into geotechnical engineering or engineering geology. Teaching has also been an interest of mine, I really enjoy helping people find their ‘eureka’ moment so that could be an option as well!"

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