Alise Winter

'I would like to have a positive effect on the environment...'

  • Alise Winter

Certificate in University Preparation

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Natural Resources Engineering

Researcher, Christchurch City Council


As someone who loves the outdoors and spending time hiking and snowboarding throughout the year, studying Natural Resources Engineering was the perfect fit for Alise to help protect our environment for the future.

Travels through Europe gave inspiration for her studies after seeing the large amounts of litter in the environment, and a lacking system to manage and maintain these.

‘I want to encourage people to think about how their day to day choices effect the environment, and try to have a small footprint on the earth,’ she says. 

Through Engineers Without Borders at UC, Alise had already taken steps to educating others about the environment through the in-school teaching programme. Her first experience involved teaching year 10 students at Mairehau High School how to build water filtration systems for clean water, and educate them on the importance of clean water. She organised other school visits throughout Christchurch as a School Manager in their executive committee.

Her degree studies has a similar focus on waste systems engineering and its implications on the surrounding nature, local community, and regional government.

‘I was really excited to add to my knowledge in this area and acquire the tools to apply it. I love learning about the fundamental way the world works through mathematics and physics,’ she says. ‘I have explored the design of stormwater systems, wetlands, raingardens, fish passages, water quality, environmental remediation, and climate change resilience and adaptation to name a few.’

Alise also secured a role as a student researcher for Christchurch City Council, reviewing infrastructure within coastal areas at risk of climate hazards like flooding and tsunamis.

‘I would like to have a positive effect on the environment, as I want to design low impact devices that not only treat polluted stormwater, but incorporate habitat and cultural elements into them.. I have now acquired a multitude of tools that will help me contribute to the protection and regeneration of Papatūānuku.’

Choosing UC was by recommendation from friends, saying ‘it was THE university to go to for pursuing an Engineering degree’, and was where she  first discovered her passion for Natural Resources Engineering.

I see this degree as a portal that will open me up to a wealth of opportunities to contribute to the enhancement of the natural environment within a world that has traditionally ignored the environmental landscape. You cannot do anything without the support of the environment, and I value how much Natural Resources Engineering respects this. This degree helps one serve both humans and ecology on a community, national, and/or international level.’

Likewise, Alise wants other students to not be afraid to tackle an Engineering degree and challenge the traditional notions of the industry.

‘I really want to encourage other women to consider Engineering as an option, as I was never told about it in high school,’ she says. ‘Anyone can study Engineering if you work hard and really want it. I never thought I was capable until I was told that I could achieve anything if I was passionate about it. I left high school without knowledge in calculus and physics, but with a lot of will and persistence to learn these subjects through ‘catch-up’ courses at UC, I was able to achieve something I never thought I could. It also does not feel like a burden to study a lot, because I love learning new things and can see the end goal I want to achieve. 

‘I am not your traditional/typical engineer. I am a woman who loves the arts, outdoors, philosophy, adventure, yoga, meditation, and could be described as “a free spirit”. I never thought of myself as especially academic, however, my passion for wanting to be an individual that could potentially play a role in the protection of Papatūānuku was enough to push me to be something more than what I thought I could never be!’ 

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Hongyu Guo

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Jessie Winder

'The engineering industry is huge, varied and a fantastic platform to work in...'