'I was really passionate about helping people to engage with the science I was learning...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Geography
Assistant GIS Technical Consultant, Integrated Consultancy Limited
Conservation and sustainable living has been the inspiration behind Alice’s studies, as she looks to help communities work better alongside the environment.
Growing up in a family passionate for the outdoors, Alice found herself wanting to focus her career after years working in the museum and tourism industry and seeing the alarming number of plastic souvenirs that are produced.
‘I decided it was time to upskill and study in a field that would help me to make a difference,’ she says.
UC offered her the chance to move away from Wellington and be amongst the varying landscapes of the Canterbury region. Alice was also particularly looking forward to the active student community that she hoped would help her find her place here.
‘The UC community made moving away from my familiar home city far more comfortable than I thought it would be. Student Care helped me a lot during first year when I was struggling with the stress of being in a new city and adapting to higher education, and the Careers team have also been very helpful, because they helped me to develop a clear goal about my career options from my interests.
‘I have also used the Academic Skills Centre, and I found them really helpful. They give very clear advice and are very willing to sit down and spend a bit of time to help you work through the questions you come to them with. Their workshops were also really helpful for me, because it had been a couple of years since I had needed to write an essay, so some of their advice on structure and research skills helped me to transition back into the right mindset.’
Alice’s degree choice has allowed her to combine multiple areas in the natural sciences, and to get out of the classroom for fieldwork. She has been a summer research assistant for the department and a Tutor for the ENVR 201 and GEOG 206 courses.
‘I love the field work and the people,’ she says. ‘The field work is great, and helps to teach actionable skills, develop a deeper understanding of the topics, and see the issues in person. My lecturers are all very passionate, which makes you want to actively learn and take part, and my classmates and clubmates all want to see the world become a better place.
‘I was really passionate about helping people to engage with the science I was learning.’
One way Alice has been able to educate others about the environment was through restarting the DigSoc student club promoting the community gardens on campus, which teaches students sustainable food gardening and offers fresh produce.
‘We ran pizza evenings and grow your own seedling days. The community gardens on campus are like beautiful oases of flowers and food in the middle of the bustle. I met some incredible people in the gardens during the working bees.’
Another project was creating the new club EnviroSoc, which began as a small study group for Environmental Science major students and steadily grew in number.
‘The club has allowed us to meet some incredible people and given us a platform for getting out into the community. We ran community planting days, seminars with guest speakers from a wide range of fields, and helped with pest monitoring on campus. The club is full of passionate people and has members from across almost all Colleges and degrees. EnviroSoc has also engaged with the wider community and has helped our members to meet a huge variety of people from the Environmental Science workforce.
‘UC has helped our club to grow and the faculty have supported us the whole way. The support we received from UC (and the UCSA) has made studying at UC a much more well-rounded experience.’
From outside of uni, Alice also holds a role as an Assistant GIS Technical Consultant with Integrated Consultancy Limited, using her scientific communication skills for clients.
These experiences are what Alice hopes to bring into her ongoing career.
‘I would really like to work in a community engagement role that allows me to connect the public to scientific knowledge. I really enjoy finding out new information, but beyond that I love watching the moment where somebody understands how a new piece of knowledge fits into their world.’