UCMe - Karla, Medical Physics, University of Canterbury, NZ
Karla Hayward

TRAILBLAZER

Karla Science

What inspired you to pursue Medical Physics?

I started my degree in Astronomy, but when I found out about Medical Physics I realised it would be a great career for me. With Medical Physics I can apply my love of working with people and my abilities in Maths and Physics to a field that has a direct impact. My work will literally save lives!

Favourite part of your degree?

I was pleasantly surprised by how hands-on it was. I thought I’d just be sitting in a classroom, but instead my lecturers keep us interested by letting us run our own experiments with the huge amount of equipment the department has to offer.

Any particular highlights?

One of my favourite experiences was a first year field trip to Mount John Observatory at Lake Tekapo. We used the telescopes each night to collect observations for our own personal research topics. I got to operate incredible equipment and it gave me a taste of being a real scientist. I had an absolute blast.

In your mind, what makes UC unique?

UC is a great university for science, especially physics. From notable alumni like Beatrice Tinsley and Ernest Rutherford, to professors who are passionate about both their research and being great teachers.

Tell us about your internship in Canberra!

After attending a conference in New Plymouth I was offered a fully funded internship in Canberra with a leading astronomer. I helped her with her writing and research on spiral galaxies. Back at UC it led to a tutoring job in astrophysics. There are some amazing internships for physics students, all you have to do is ask.

"With Medical Physics I can apply my love of working with people and my abilities in Maths and Physics to a field that has a direct impact."

Beyond academic study, what do you love about the UC student experience?

I adore the sense of community UC has. Small things like group pages on Facebook, the thriving club scene and the many places on campus to socialise make a massive difference when making a university feel like home.

How have you grown personally in your time at UC?

I learned that I’m much more of a people person than I thought. At high school I was very introverted, but through the clubs and opportunities at UC I have really come out of my shell. There’s so much to be gained by branching out, meeting people, going to events and just stepping outside of your comfort zone.