UCMe - Emma - Product Design,University of Canterbury, NZ
Emma Pickup

What inspired you to take Chemical Formulation Design?

I’m both scientific and creative, and I had a dream of starting my own business one day. It was really hard to find something that ticked all the boxes until I stumbled across this degree. It’s a mix of everything – business and marketing, branding and packaging, and product formulation. Every day is different and we have lots of freedom to pursue projects that interest and inspire us.

One of your products has featured as part of the Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) – tell us about that!

I took part in UCE’s $85K Start-Up competition. My idea was to create a low-waste, plant-based milk made out of a flaxseed, pumpkin seed and coconut blend. I was one of the grand prize winners, which was really awesome! That led onto a scholarship with the Summer Start-Up programme where I continued to develop the product.

Where is your idea up to now?

When the scholarship finished, I really wanted to keep working on it so I asked my lecturers if I could make it part of my degree. They created a research paper especially for me, investigating the formulation side. It was very challenging but I learned heaps and it was fun to get into the lab. The product has a name – Smyle – but it’s on the back burner for now as I’ve been really busy running the Start-Up competition.

Sounds exciting! Beyond product innovations, has UC supported your personal growth too?

In my time here I’ve definitely grown a lot more confident. I had always thought I was quite introverted, but I have more friends now than I ever expected. I’ve also become more grounded, because Christchurch is such a beautiful, humble, loving place.

"Every day is different and we have lots of freedom to pursue projects that interest and inspire us."

How do you feel for having come to UC?

Amazing. This degree has been perfect for me and all the extracurricular things I’ve done have further enhanced my uni experience. When I leave at the end of this year I feel like I’ll be well-equipped to get a graduate role. I don’t think I could be set up any better for my life ahead.

What three words pop into your head when you think of the UC experience?

Adventurous, inspiring and empowering. UC is all about YOU and getting support to make your dreams come true.