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Student story

Teaghan Mower

20 July 2023

"Being at UC feels like being a part of a wider whānau..."

Studying towards a Conjoint Bachelor of Product Design and Commerce in Industrial Product Design and Management
Design Engineer, TysonD Ltd

What’s the motivation behind your conjoint degree?

I actually began studying Forestry Science and made a few switches in my first year before landing in Product Design and Commerce. I knew I always wanted to pursue further education, but narrowing it down to a specific degree was where I hit a few stumbling blocks.

Taking a wide range of papers in my first year opened my eyes to new possibilities and UC have some awesome services, such as UC Careers and the student advisors, which helped me to narrow down and identify what it was I really wanted to do.

So why did you end up choosing Product Design and Commerce?

Both Product Design and Commerce have a massive scope for creativity. I like the problem-solving aspect of Product Design and I like the way business can operate as a change agent and impact people’s lives for the better.

The UC School of Product Design and UC School of Business have some awesome industry and cross-school partnerships that help make the world-class theoretical learning real and applicable.

Did you get to do any of those experiences?

Yes, I had an awesome opportunity to go to China with the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship in a global immersion experience run through E-lead. It was awesome getting to meet other students from across New Zealand and Australia and embrace life in Chengdu, China for a period of 2 weeks. We got to see how different businesses operated and what day-to-day life was like in Chengdu where innovation and entrepreneurial activity was rife.

And you also got to do Product Design summer research?

I had the chance to be a part of a collaborative project with the UC School of Forestry (Biosecurity), the UC Wireless Research Centre (Electrical Engineering) and School of Product Design. Our goal was to develop an insect trap that utilised solar-powered UV lights. We developed the trap so it could be used at ports and transitional facilities all over the country to intercept bug species before they became invasive.

How did you manage that challenge?

Product Design has given me the tools to understand how to identify a problem or opportunity and how to systematically reach a creative solution to fulfil or solve them.

It’s really exciting seeing how this thinking can apply to several different industries – there's always going to be a need for innovation and development. It is exciting to be equipped with the tools and be able to jump into a wide range of industries and disciplines and be able to see how design-thinking can result in some novel and innovative solutions, such as our UV light trap in the biosecurity industry.

It sounds like you’ve really made the most of being at UC.

Being at UC feels like being a part of a wider whānau. It has been awesome to meet a wide range of people through my time studying so far and to embrace the club scene here. We feel like a small, close-knit university but we have big opportunities right on our doorstep.

Is that why you chose to study here?

I spent some time overseas after I first left high school and realised how much I loved living in Canterbury. I love getting outside and exploring our backyard. Primarily surfing, hiking, biking, and strolling around the city. We are so lucky in Canterbury to have easy access to the sea, Port Hills, and mountains.

I wanted to be able to balance the activities I enjoyed while obtaining a world class education, so UC was a no-brainer.

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