UC’s first Environmental Science graduates test the waters

18 December 2019

Riley Payne is already putting his University of Canterbury (UC) degree into action, testing water quality in local rivers, beaches and lakes. He is one of the first graduates from UC’s new Environmental Science programme, which launched in 2017.

  • RileyPayne

    Riley Payne is one of the first graduates from UC’s new Environmental Science programme.

Riley Payne is already putting his University of Canterbury (UC) degree into action, testing water quality in local rivers, beaches and lakes.

He is one of the first graduates from UC’s new Environmental Science programme, which launched in 2017.

Along with his fellow Environmental Scientists, he’ll be graduating at the College of Science graduation ceremony at the Christchurch Town Hall on Friday morning.

Riley has a summer job as a water quality officer for Environment Canterbury but is keen to pursue a career in freshwater monitoring and environmental advisory.

Environmental Science at UC is wide-ranging and relevant to the real world, he says. “It helps me a lot in my current job and has inspired me to go out and do something positive for the environment, definitely.

“It focused on how things can be changed and how we can make a difference so that was really cool.

“It was broad and interesting with a really good balance of big picture issues like climate change and small scale issues like water pollution and water testing and showed how they all fit together, which was really useful for this job. It just puts everything into perspective.”

“We are delighted that our graduates are being snapped up by employers,” UC’s Director of Environmental Science, Associate Professor Sally Gaw, says. “This new undergraduate major was developed in response to student demand for an interdisciplinary Environmental Science programme and was designed to equip graduates to tackle New Zealand’s environmental challenges.”

Associate Professor Ann Brower says the new course was introduced to help students prepare for the challenges of a modern world in which people are increasingly aware of environmental constraints.

The Environmental Science teaching team is very proud of the first cohort of Environmental Science students who are graduating this week.

“They’re a remarkable bunch, they’re incredibly talented and motivated. I have every faith, and every confidence, that they will change the world for the better.”

The Environmental Science programme is rapidly growing in popularity, Dr Brower says. “The intake has gone from 58 in 2017 to about 180 this year. We’re preparing New Zealand’s next generation of environmental leaders.”

For further information please contact:

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

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