'My dream is to be involved in as many ventures as I can, specialising in clean energies...'
Steve has a clear idea of what he wants to do in his career and took on a double degree to set himself up for it.
'My aim is to one day own a company. My BCom will help me to achieve that, and my BSc will provide the industry. New Zealand has a miniature biotechnology scene, so there is plenty of opportunity for those with the right skills to help it grow. My dream is to be involved in as many ventures as I can, specialising in clean energies and sustainability.'
Steve has long been fascinated by biology, and after deciding it was an area he wanted to work in long-term, realised he needed to study the subject at a higher level.
'I'm one of those people that will stare at pond water under the microscope for ages just to glimpse something weird swim by, or become awe-struck in a forest by the sheer scale or biological diversity around me,' he says.
'In my Science degree, the labs are definitely the best part. I have always preferred learning by discovering things practically. If you don't find the intricate details of cellular protein trafficking or the evolution of humanity even vaguely enthralling, don't study Biology. It's really important to find something to study that "rustles your jimmies”!'
Studying Strategy and Entrepreneurship has also been rewarding for Steve.
'A course I'm studying at the moment, Science and Entrepreneurship in New Zealand, provided me with the opportunity to participate in a Startup Weekend here in Christchurch. Our team won first place with our idea, and I gained a valuable network and business opportunity from the experience.'
Originally from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Steve attended high school in Ashburton and Christchurch, before spending a year in Australia working and, briefly, attending university.
'The culture at university there was all business and no fun,' he says. 'At UC the environment is more local and friendly, and the opportunities here are more accessible than in larger universities. The campus is probably my favourite part – plenty of trees, shade, warm spaces in the library, cafés and food all over the place, and I can bike here in 15 minutes. UC really makes you feel welcome, especially in winter.'
That friendly environment at UC extends to the learning experience as well, and Steve's advice to other students is to take an active interest in what you study.
'Put your hand up in class; interact with people. If you've been at uni all day and find you haven't spoken a word out loud in four hours, you need to start engaging!'
Outside university, Steve worked at the Christchurch YMCA Adventure Centre as a safety supervisor and instructor for rock climbing and archery, two of his favourite sports.
'I spent as much time as I can climbing in the gym or out in the Port Hills,' he says. 'I also got out several times a year to go hunting and tramping, and I joined a few uni clubs to make the most of the South Island outdoors. My flatmates and I did some online gaming at home, and I was involved in a new startup company.'
Since graduating, Steve continued his work in rope-access sports in Kaikōura before heading off to travel overseas for more adventure work, so far living and volunteering in Nicaragua and Canada.