'Regardless of your circumstances, persistence, hard work and confidence can get you where you want to go...'
(Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou)
Bachelor of Science in Physics
Master of Science in Medical Physics
A love of problem solving and a wish to understand how the world around us works, ‘from something as small as an atom to something as big as the universe,’ is what brought Mahali to UC to study Physics.
‘If you have a real passion for understanding the logic of how things work, or if you want to create the kinds of great infrastructures you see all around the world, then Physics and Mathematics is the way to go,’ he says. ‘I enjoy the complexity of my subjects and the logic and reasoning behind them, and applying my knowledge of them to real-life situations.’
Mahali is keen to share his knowledge and encourage others who are enthusiastic about his field.
‘In terms of my career, there are so many research possibilities in Physics that I would love to explore. However, ultimately I would love to teach both Physics and Mathematics to others who are passionate or generally intrigued to learn about how the world works, whether that is as a high school teacher or a university lecturer.’
In his final year at Aranui High School in Christchurch, Mahali was Head Boy and won a UC Emerging Leaders’ scholarship, which comprises $5,000 towards tuition fees and a year-long programme of projects and events to foster leadership qualities. ‘The scholarship has been fantastic and a great financial support for me,’ he says.
UC was the obvious choice for Mahali to study at tertiary level, being his local university and because of its reputation for science. ‘I have some friends working in the same subject field that had begun their studies elsewhere and then ended up at UC. They said that this was the place to be, especially if you want to study Physics.’
He says the experience of studying here has been a good one. ‘There are frequent events that keep the energy on campus alive. And all the on-campus food providers are great! I also enjoy the study facilities and resources here, which are superb. The staff are very supportive, and the lecturers are down to earth.’
Outside university, Mahali likes spending time with friends, exploring the new sights and sounds of Christchurch as the city renews itself, watching movies and playing pool. ‘I’m a member of my local 8-ball team that competes on a weekly basis in the Christchurch tournament.’
Mahali agrees that the decision to go on to university isn’t always easy for students, even when they excel in their work as he did, and it is important to him to encourage as many as possible to do so.
‘I want to make it clear to potential students that, regardless of your circumstances, persistence, hard work and confidence can get you where you want to go.’