Few degrees of separation in Pons family

20 December 2019

The Pons family of five would make an intimidating quiz team. Between them, they hold 11 university degrees, including four from the University of Canterbury (UC), with more on the way.

  • Pons

    Aiden Pons, pictured with his parents Tracey and Dirk Pons, graduated today at a ceremony in the Christchurch Town Hall with a UC Bachelor of Engineering (Hons).

The Pons family of five would make an intimidating quiz team. Between them, they hold 11 university degrees, including four from the University of Canterbury (UC), with more on the way.

Aiden Pons graduated today at a ceremony in the Christchurch Town Hall with a UC Bachelor of Engineering (Hons).

He is following in the family footsteps - his dad Dirk is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at UC with two Masters degrees and a PhD under his belt.

Older brother Arion also has a UC Bachelor of Engineering with Honours and has since gained a PhD in Engineering from Cambridge University in Britain.

Their younger sister Ariel is currently studying medicine at Otago University, and mum Tracey has a physiotherapy degree along with a Master's and PhD in healthcare.

Dr Pons says he and his wife, who were supporting their son at today’s graduation ceremony, have always encouraged their children to have a love of learning and to be curious.

“I think it’s about building expectations that they can give it a go. Tertiary education isn’t for everyone but you should have an expectation that people will at least consider whether it’s for them.”

Tertiary study isn’t easy but it is worthwhile, he says. “It’s not that the concepts are impossible to understand, but you need to do the hard yards to understand and get through them.”

He says engineering is a vocational qualification and tends to appeal to people with a maths and science background. “For our family that was the case. I think it’s attractive because it involves creativity and can take you in many different kinds of career directions.

“With engineering the choices are quite broad as to what you can do. It is a profession where you’re not shoehorned into doing one specific thing.”

Today was the last day of UC’s December graduations, with the Colleges of Science, Engineering and Arts all holding ceremonies.

For further information please contact:

UC Communications team, media@canterbury.ac.nz, Ph: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168

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