Discovery Day Sessions

Experience being a UC student for the day. Read through the session descriptions and self-select your timetable attending the sessions you want to explore your interests and discover what's on offer at UC. Talk to your Careers Advisor about registering through Eventbrite.

Each session runs for 25 minutes. You have a 10-minute gap in between to make your way to the next venue.

There are four sessions in the morning.

View map (PDF, 1.8MB) 

Session 1: 9.30am - 10.25am

At the beginning of the day, the first session will start with an ‘Intro to UC’ talk from our Liaison team. 

Uni101 With so many options to choose from and different terminology used it’s not surprising that university can seem like a big leap from high school, with you asking questions such as:
- How is a degree structured?
- What’s the difference between a double degree and a double major?
- What support is available to me?
Students, parents and whānau are invited to this session given by the UC Liaison team who will answer these questions and many more.
A1, A3
What if nutrition could treat mental illness? Over the last decade, scientists have been uncovering an uncomfortable truth: what we eat is affecting our mental health. Professor Rucklidge will discuss the data that shows how food choices serve as risk factors to all kinds of psychiatric problems and will introduce the recent paradigm shift of using nutrients to treat these challenges, reviewing the evidence to date. C1
Exciting electrons! Energy and entertainment Electrons: A Haiku
Electrons move fast
They orbit the nucleus
Negatively charged

There is much more to electrons than this though! All the properties of the elements that we observe, all the chemical reactions that take place, all the observations we can make about chemistry really comes back to where the electrons are relative to each other and the nucleus. We exist because of electrostatic interactions (between the positively charged nucleus and the negatively charged electrons), and there are specific energy changes that take place when we move these electrons about. Come along and find out more about what happens when we excite electrons and how this relates to your smartphones!  
Counting everything  Very few accountants have ever counted beans.  Why would they when their world is so rich and exciting?  Come along to discover why accountants really have been and are involved in everything – which makes for interesting courses, exciting prospects, and well-rounded personalities.      C3
Moving forward to stop climate change: Can future transport save the day? Jacinda Ardern described Climate Change as "my generation's nuclear free moment, and I am determined that we tackle it head on“. A major source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand are transport. So what can we do to reduce them, while maintaining our ability to move people and things around. Simon Kingham, who as well as being a professor at the University Canterbury, is the Ministry of Transport’s Chief Science Advisor, will examine this issue with a particular focus on the potential role of some future transport technologies.  E7
The "Impossible" bridge: a journey towards the new frontier of civil engineering Bridges bridge communities and are vital to our economy. Some bridges are also symbols and icons. Romans built bridges to last centuries but nowadays we build bridges for less and we tend to rationalise forms and construction processes to reduce cost. However, the strong impetus of digital technologies, 3D printing techniques and more largely robotics are revolutionising one of the oldest engineering disciplines. Dynamic and changeable bridge shapes, adaptive materials, novel digital fabrication methods including 3D printing will allow civil engineers to build what is defined today as the “impossible” bridge. This presentation will take you from the “bridge building competition” - Design Studio 1 (1st Professional year course) to most recent advances in research.  E8
Why music? Interested in music, sound or instruments? Come and discover why music is important in our lives!  E9
Developing video games: When having fun is serious business In recent years, video games have become the most popular and profitable form of entertainment internationally, with the games industry reporting annual revenues which eclipse the film, television and music industries. The New Zealand game industry is following suit and is projected to become a 1 billion dollar a year industry by 2025. Despite this huge industry growth, 42% of NZ game studios say their growth is limited due to a shortage of skilled employees. Studying Applied Immersive Game Design, you'll learn not just how to create games for entertainment, but also serious games and how to use the latest Augmented and Virtual reality technologies. This talk will cover a bit about the gaming industry, UC's Applied Immersive Game Design program, and showcase some games that our students have made.  A2
UCE Tour   Undercroft

Session 2: 10.35am - 11am

Robots like creatures: towards future mechatronics Even today’s most advanced devices are clumsy in comparison to the systems found in nature. This talk will examine how the combination of biological inspiration, advanced materials, and new manufacturing techniques are enabling the robots of the future.  C1
Killer robots and our future With the advent of Google’s driverless cars, IBM’s ‘Watson’, and Amazon’s self-piloting delivery drones, the technologies of artificial intelligence and robotics are rapidly coming of age. They are poised to completely transform how the world works. This lecture focuses on the potential for these technologies to put enormous destructive power in the hands of ‘lone wolf’ hackers and terrorists. What can society do to stop this from happening?  C2
Is the 100% Pure NZ brand fact or fiction? A quick look at why so many tourists buy into the 100% Pure New Zealand brand experience. Are we marketing the brand “truthfully” and do we live up to tourists’ expectations?    C3
The truth about fake news All users of social media face a challenge in sifting out untrustworthy, poor quality information. Professional journalists have a particular challenge, because of their power to shape the public. How do they judge quality and verify information? This session introduces you to some of the questions and tools journalists ask of some of those stories and quotes that are too good to be true. E7
The F word: A science of invention, manufacture and testing of all things important! Formulation science relates to the process of combining various components in a way to develop a versatile product with enhanced performance and desired qualities. The role of a formulation scientist is essential not only in pharmaceutical product design, but also across a wide range of other products including cosmetics, fragrances, paints, food, agrochemicals, and many other household chemicals. This session will take you through some fun experiments in formulation while giving you a sneak peek at one of the majors of the brand new degree in Bachelor of Product Design: Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation  E8
Medicinal chemistry and drug discovery Medicinal chemistry is the link between lab-based synthetic chemistry and the real world of health care, prescription medicines and pharmaceuticals. As a medicinal chemistry student, you will be equipped for a career in pharmaceutical science, a field that ranges from fighting infectious diseases to solving antibiotic resistance and biotechnology.  E9
Time for a health check! Health is becoming more about wellness and prevention, with a stronger focus on community. From health education to environment and public health, learn how healthcare professionals are taking action to solve real-world issues in society.  A1
Amazing Asia - China, Japan & their languages Come along and learn some intriguing facts about China, Japan and their languages  A2
UC Māori Nau mai, tauti mai ki Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha! 
UC Māori offers support, advice and guidance for all ākonga Māori studying at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC).  Lead by the whānau at Te Waka Pākākāno | Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori, Pacific and Equity, our initiatives focus on supporting ākonga Māori to succeed academically, while encouraging personal growth and connection to Māori community and culture. 
Trading Room Tour   Undercroft

 Session 3: 11.10am - 11.35am

NZ clean and green or plastic wrapped Microplastics are common environmental pollutants, found in oceans, rivers, soils and, most recently, the air. The growing prevalence of microplastics in our environment is becoming more widely known, thanks to the research by dedicated scientists. How would you as an environmental scientist be able to help tackle this problem and create a clean and green New Zealand?  C1
Why Economics? The value of life
Decision making often involves comparing various scenarios. For example, you can decide to invest in preventing pandemics or in preventing climate change. Or you can decide to invest in your studies or in the stock market. In this talk, I will discuss various methods used by economists to put a monetary value on things like life, Facebook, nature and education.
Bad grammar is just laziness: debunking language myths and linguistics Bad grammar is just laziness, everyone sounds American because they watch American TV shows and I don’t have an accent – these are all examples of language myths and associated language attitudes.  In this class we’ll explore some of these popular ideas about language, debunking the myths and raising your awareness of your own covert language attitudes.  C3
"It's alive! It's alive!" In this session we look at the legacy of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.  What can we learn from her literary representation of monstrosity? How has her work influenced modern day monsters? And how does a science fiction film like Ex Machina play with and rewrite the relationship between monster and creator?  E7
Problems, people, process and products Industrial product design is cool. It’s basically responsible for the majority of every product and service which we either own or engage with on a daily basis for the majority of our lives. Yet, at the very core, these greatly designed objects are more intrinsically about the people – the users, their needs and beliefs, as opposed to just things that we choose to buy or ‘stuff’ that we own. Embracing this philosophy, this talk looks at some of the cool products that our own students have created, in response to life’s challenges!  E8
Data science forecasting our future The world is changing rapidly – from our climate, to our health, to the way we interact with one another.  Further, technological advances have meant that we now have access to vast quantities of data which tell us huge amounts about almost every aspect of our lives – how climate is changing, how our genomes are changing and responding to our environments, how our daily interactions with each other shape us.In order to understand how these changes might impact on our futures, we need data scientists, who can understand and interpret patterns and help us predict how these changes will impact us, our communities and our global population.  Data science is a disruptive science, and is a path through which we can understand the past and the present to help predict the future.  There could not be a better time to consider data science as a study path.   E9
Making the world turn... With maths! Chemical Engineers play a central role in making sure the world keeps working the way we like it. We seek to understand and harness the power of natural forces in order to turn the raw resources of the world into food, clothing, and products. Along the way, we create new materials and processes to increase the scope of our existence and how to make the most efficient use of our energy and natural resources. A1
The Golem revolution: living in the age of AI In ancient time, it is believed that Golems could be animated from rituals and godly verses. Nowadays, "intelligent" devices can give access to a whole world of possibilities. But how far are we from creating actual intelligent software or machines?  A2
UC Pasifika Join us for an interactive session where you’ll find out what belonging to our Pasifika UC community looks like, play games, meet current Pasifika students and learn more about the support that is available at UC to ensure that our students are successful!  A3
Fine Arts Tour This is a double session and runs from 11.10am to 12.10pm. Some of New Zealand’s most famous artists studied at UC’s School of Fine Arts, one of the longest standing art institutions in the southern hemisphere.  Join us for a tour of this purpose-built School, visit the studios, meet the students and lecturers and view the work on display in the gallery. Undercroft

 Session 4: 11.45am - 12.10pm

Are you a crime fighter or justice advocate? Criminal Justice draws together people from the Police, psychologists, courts and legal services, and the community, while overseeing areas such as criminal law and procedure, sentencing and the treatment of offenders and victims. Learn about applying a sense of justice and basic principles of fairness, understanding the causes and correlations of crime, and how criminal law systems operate in Aotearoa New Zealand. C1
The management of chocolate Have you ever wondered where a chocolate bar comes from? Explore the supply chain of the world's most favourite treat with Associate Professor Diane Mollenkopf who will help you understand the exciting global journey of your favourite chocolate bar.   C2
The physics of dark matter Invisible dark matter makes up much of the universe but we can only detect it through its gravitational effects. Unlike normal matter, dark matter does not absorb, reflect or emit light, making it extremely hard to spot. In this talk we will outline the evidence for dark matter and research efforts at the University of Canterbury to find out more about dark matter.  C3 
The secret lives of trees Trees are among the oldest and largest organisms on the planet. They can live for thousands of years and grow taller than a 25 story building. Come find out what other secrets they keep and how they contribute to human well-being.   E7
Looking into the future of Europe and EU What is the place of Europe in the changing world? What is the future of the European Union after Brexit? What impact will Europe and the EU have on New Zealand and the Asia Pacific? Is there a benefit for New Zealand to work with Europe and the EU? Come to our session to find out!  E8
Global Climate Change - electrifying hope In a world wide effort to address climate change, sustainable energy systems have a crucial role to play. This talk looks at what electrical enginees are doing to help create a brighter future.  E9
Play to your advantage Sport crosses many fields from playing, coaching, fitness and exercise, through to sociology, leadership and management. In this session, you’ll learn about what’s behind sport coaching and pick up some tips for your own performance.  A1
A licence to ask awkward questions… My little job today is to introduce you to sociology, ¬ a social science discipline that’s really obsessed with people. A2
Key information session for International Students taking NCEA Come and learn about what types of exciting majors are offered at UC and the key points of how to gain entry to UC through NCEA. A3
Fine Arts Tour This is a double session and runs from 11.10am to 12.10pm. Some of New Zealand’s most famous artists studied at UC’s School of Fine Arts, one of the longest standing art institutions in the southern hemisphere.  Join us for a tour of this purpose-built School, visit the studios, meet the students and lecturers and view the work on display in the gallery. Undercroft

Lunch takes place from 12.10pm - 12.50pm in the Engineering Core and Undercroft.

There are two sessions in the afternoon.

Session 5: 1pm - 1.25pm

Trump: world explained No longer US president, Trump still remains as a person and phenomenon to be explained. We will make a go at exploring the meaning of Trump and the MAGA movement today in this lecture.  C1
Challenge yourself with Law Through the study of Law, you learn how to think critically, analyse complex facts and issues, and persuade by logical argument. Law provides a comprehensive grounding in working with statutes, cases and other legal material. Learn about the Law in its wider social, political and historical contexts.  C2
Inspire minds through play Your teaching journey begins with you thinking about who you are as a learner, the type of teacher you want to be, and the unique talents you bring to teaching. How will you inspire and excite the children you work with? In this session you will discover some of your hidden talents and how you can use these to get the most out of any learning experience.  C3
Solving big problems through biochemistry Biochemistry is at the cutting edge of contemporary science, research, and industry. Biochemical innovation is critical in adding value to Aotearoa New Zealand's agricultural production, advancing medicine, and understanding the fundamentals of the biological world around us. It brings together chemistry, physics and molecular biology with a view to understanding the chemistry of life and provides basic insight into biological processes such as enzyme action, drug discovery and design, the molecular basis for disease, gene expression and control, and food biochemistry.  E7
A day in the life of an impact biologist Biologists here at UC pride themselves on conducting biological research that has impact, from biodiversity to biomedicine. Today, one of these ‘impact biologists’ will show how her collaborative interdisciplinary research group is using genomic data to inform the conservation management of critically endangered New Zealand birds.  E8
Art and its histories | the Oscar for best picture Part 1: Can a row of bricks, a shovel, or a pile of boxes, be art? What makes something ‘art'? This is a problem at the heart of art history, and our thinking about art. This presentation will discuss this issue – and offer an answer to the problem.Part 2: On May 16, 1929 the first Academy Awards were presented at a banquet held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Did they get it right?  E9
Good for nothing! Who invented zero? Zero, zip zilch, nil, nada, nothing – we have many names for it, but who invented the curious concept of zero? And why have we spent millennia making such a big deal out of nothing at all?

Whether you’re a magical math-lete with or merry math-phobe, you’re invited to join us as we take a mystical journey back in time to explore the emergence of one of the most interesting and elusive concepts in mathematics – the number zero. The use of zero as a placeholder appeared in several different ancient cultures, such as the ancient Mayans and Babylonians. From cuneiform tablets in the ancient near east to Greek papyri, from Arabic numerical tables to the fluke discovery of an Indian birch bark manuscript, we will investigate the flourishing of ancient systems of numeration and the symbols they used to capture them. 
Exploring social work Interested in working with people?  Come along and find out how social work can create change for individuals, families, communities and society. A2
21st Century Classics From texts messages to hieroglyphs - Today we take reading, writing and instant communication for granted. This session looks at the school stationery list—2000 years ago—using real objects from the Logie Collection.  Undercroft

Session 6: 1.35pm - 2.20pm

Session 6 will include a ‘Next Steps’ presentation to wrap up the day.

Volcanoes and New Zealands fiery future New Zealand is globally recognised for its soaring mountains and dynamic environments. In Geological Sciences we love the science that forms the planet’s landscapes and resources.  We will introduce you to the explosive world of New Zealand volcanoes and the employment opportunities in New Zealand and abroad.  C1
Information Systems The Most Important Thing About the Digital World — Making Sense of Data and Information

There are plenty ideas, initiatives, and calls to action around us today — all claiming to be the most important thing for everyone. But, what is the most important thing for us today, as a community, a nation or the whole civilization? It appears that collectively we are facing a lot of big decisions about our next steps — and so, what is the recipe for making good decisions? And if we are talking about this, what is there in common between business, ecology, engineering, medicine and many other areas, when it comes to decision making? In this session we will be talking about the role of data and information in our modern world. We will explore the role of data management and analytics as the common denominator to many big challenges and opportunities in our modern world.
Young leaders will navigate our waka to new horizons How do you prepare for a world that is rapidly changing? Issues such as climate change, sustainability, equity and diversity are modern challenges that have global and local consequences. Solving them requires collaboration and new models of leadership – that’s where young people are the future.  C3
Human communication and its challenges (The importance of human communication) Have you ever wondered what life might be like if you were unable to speak? How does speech and language develop? What happens when speech and language development is interrupted for some reason? What if adults lose their ability to speak? These are just some of the questions Speech and Language Therapists work on as they help people with difficulties learn how to speak or regain abilities lost. E7
A taste of Political Science and International Relations How do politics affect our communities? Do political decisions affect the way people live, and the decisions they make? If you have an interest in making a difference to the people around you then come and join us for our session on making a difference in your community and beyond.  E9
Ngāti 'Nāianei: Māori in the 21st Century In this session we will use examples from Māori development, politics, sport and film to discuss the question ‘What does it mean to be Māori in the 21st Century?  A1
Virtual youth We are often exposed to opinions that construct digital technologies and social media as a force for negativity. Yet if we take a more critical approach we can see the diverse possibilities – for example, we can explore how technologies and social media offer spaces for creating and sustaining social change - something that we can all be a part of. A2