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Student story

Sandra Bateman

20 July 2023

"Chemistry is definitely a worthwhile field to get involved in..."


Sandra’s first choice when starting at UC was to study Physics as her major, but after taking introductory courses in Chemistry it was clear that her newfound passion would take her far.

“I probably wouldn’t have ended up doing Chemistry if I didn’t do a broad range of subjects in my first year – I thoroughly enjoyed the 100-level Chemistry courses and labs,” she says.

Chemistry certainly proved to be an interesting subject for Sandra. Now graduated with a PhD, Sandra had many opportunities to travel overseas to network and take part in conferences.

“I’ve been able to present my latest research findings to an international audience on several occasions and build my CV for the future. I’ve also taken advantage of many of the different opportunities that have been on offer through UC, and especially more so in my last years as I had been proactively searching them out.”

To name a few, Sandra has been short-listed out of 20 people (out of a further 20,000 applicants) for the International Chemistry World Science Communication competition in 2012, and in 2013 was one of the two New Zealanders to attend the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany, with her conference fee funded by the Bayer Science and Education Foundation.  From there she was also one of 18 people (out of 625) to be selected for a Post Conference tour based in the Baden-Württemberg region in Germany.

To top it off, Sandra has also received many scholarships through UC, including the Betty Wignall scholarship for her PhD research, the Claude McCarthy Fellowship and various other funds to support her attendance at international conferences.

“I’ve been able to meet so many different people both here at UC and at other institutions,’ she says. ‘Being at UC has given me the opportunities to network with so many different people and set me up for future research work and collaborations.”

Along with her research, Sandra also attended weekly Chemistry seminars, and did demonstrations in the undergraduate chemistry laboratories. She also sat on the Canterbury branch committee for the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (NZIC).

Sandra recommends to anyone thinking of studying a Science degree to consider Chemistry as their main subject.

“Chemistry is definitely a worthwhile field to get involved in – chemists are in high demand due to their versatile range of skills and the training from UC gives you a good foot-in-the-door. UC is also well respected for teaching and research in science.

“Chemistry is such a broad subject area and is constantly evolving so there is always something new and exciting to learn about – even in your own research area,” she says. “It’s exciting to be at the cutting edge of new discoveries.”

Since graduating, Sandrabecame a software developer for Smudge, the leading mobile solutions company in New Zealand with clients across the globe. Her problem solving and interpersonal skills that she learnt during her studies were helpful in translating into the workforce. Continuing on from her success at university, in 2016 Sandra was selected from a ballot of international applicants to be able to attend the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), held in San Francisco, showcasing creative innovation using the latest technologies. In 2019, on behalf of Smudge, Sandra was invited to be the representative judge at the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) Best Design Awards. "It was a privilege to judge the high quality entries in the Public Good category after being involved in the purple pin entry (in the same category) with Smudge in 2018."

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