Bianca Das

SPECIALIST: Bachelor of Science (Hons) (Environmental Biogeosciences and Environmental Management)

LANDED: PhD student, University of Queensland

Bianca attended Paraparaumu College; while at secondary school her careers advisor told her about Lincoln University.

“No other university offered undergraduate courses in environmental physics and climate science,” says Bianca, of her choice to attend Lincoln.

“I had such passionate lecturers and tutors that inspired me to study harder and become interested in soil science… I was learning about something that had direct applications to everyday life and global issues.”

She said that her particular studies helped her to further her academic career, as she is now studying for her PhD, and is conducting experiments on soils, looking at their chemistry and physical properties.

Of her time at Lincoln, Bianca says the most memorable experiences are being a Residential Assistant at the Halls of Residence, participating in the many field trips, especially the trips for her soil science papers, and starting her own dance crew club.

“The clubs are well supported at Lincoln University, so if there isn’t a club that suits you already, just start one. There is also plenty of opportunity for you to enjoy the great outdoors, if you are into skiing, snowboarding, hiking, fishing, hunting, etc.”

Source: Careers in Science booklet , Lincoln University.

Ognjen Mosilovic (Ogi)

SPECIALIST: Master of Science (Environmental Science)

LANDED: Land Resources Officer, Environment Canterbury

Born in Serbia, Ognjen’s country of residence is New Zealand. He attended Wanganui High School, began his tertiary studies and received his undergraduate degree before commencing his postgraduate studies at Lincoln University.

“I chose Lincoln because of its strong focus and reputation in the land-based fields, primarily soil science.”

Ognjen’s suitability for his current role at Environment Canterbury, as a Land Resources Officer, was founded, in part, thanks to skills and knowledge gained during his time of learning at Lincoln University.

“The soil papers and the graduate research project gave me a good background for this job, as well as the skills with which to expand on the foundation. I consider that the skills I acquired during the Master’s research year, which have improved my time management, communication, and capacity for independent learning and work, have been most valuable.”

He enjoyed the accessibility, friendliness and approachability of Lincoln University lecturers and staff while he was studying. He offers advice to future students of Lincoln University, “To make the most of the staff and resources available— knowledge is something nobody can take away from you.”

Sarah Hunt

SPECIALIST: Bachelor of Environmental Management (Policy and Planning); Master of Applied Science.

LANDED: Planner, Environment Canterbury

Sarah attended Hamilton Girls’ High School before she began her tertiary studies. Her brothers had studied at Lincoln University, but Sarah had her own reasons for choosing Lincoln.

“Lincoln appealed in comparison with other universities. I knew I would meet like-minded people.”

“I got a Lincoln University summer scholarship, enabling me to work at Environment Canterbury for a summer. The assignments I completed and the work experience I did, stood me in good stead for getting a career in resource management, and in particular, water management.”

Sarah enjoyed the practical assignments such as presenting evidence in front of an environment court judge, the field trips — going to the West Coast to analyse soil profiles, which showed evidence of how the landscape formed — and the social life at Lincoln the most.

Now Sarah works with the Ashburton Water Zone Committee to develop water quantity and quality limits in the Hinds Catchment, assisting planners in developing regional plans for water management, organising workshops so the committee can set more informed limitations for the applicable zone.

“Resource management is a growing industry, and skills and experience in this field are in demand. It is so diverse that you could work in any area from water management, to resource economics, to agricultural management. Once you are in the field, it is easy to move about to find the area that you really enjoy.”

Diana Selbie

SPECIALIST: Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons); PhD in Soil Science .

LANDED: Post-doctoral Scientist, AgResearch.

Diana was attending Columba College in Dunedin when a Lincoln University liaison officer visited her secondary school. She also comes from a long line of family members who are Lincoln University alumni, which made her feel at home in choosing to study at Lincoln.

Initially interested in farming, and due to the “good reputation” of Lincoln University’s agricultural science programme, Diana enjoyed her learning experiences. She was encouraged during her undergraduate studies to apply for a scholarship in Ireland to pursue a PhD related to nitrogen in pastoral systems, currently an important topic in New Zealand. This opportunity has led Diana to her current role with AgResearch, working as a post-doctoral scientist.

“My main role is improving the science which is put into the Overseer nutrient budgeting model. I design and coordinate field and lab research trials, conference presentations, publish scientific papers and coordinate technical group meetings.”

Diana credits Lincoln with having taught her many of the tools she needs to function daily within her career, such as “theoretical and practical experience, the ability to think critically and discuss issues, write essays, reports and exams, communicate learned information and to make connections between separate streams in agriculture, e.g. soil-plant-animal systems.

“Many of the degrees at Lincoln provide a wide knowledge base and it’s easy to get employment. Agriculture in New Zealand is a huge, exciting area to work in, with loads of opportunities.”

Aimee Robinson

Growing up in urban South Auckland seems a world apart from working with South Island farmers, but for Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Aimee Robinson she’s exactly where she wants to be.

Aimee is the upper South Island representative for Ballance’s Science Extension Team, working with farmers from Canterbury, Marlborough and the West Coast. She advises them in ways to achieve increased on-farm productivity, through more efficient and effective nutrient management. For Rolleston-based Aimee, the role is a perfect fit.

“Everything on earth relies on soil, it’s the basis for agriculture and human society”, she says, “so it’s incredibly rewarding to work closely with farmers, who are so knowledgeable already, to continually improve the way we use the soil.”

A graduate of Lincoln University, Aimee has a Masters in Soil Science and a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science. Despite not coming from a farming background, Aimee loves working in the agricultural industry and has found the farming community to be very welcoming.

“They are very accepting and welcoming as an industry and community. Farmers love sharing, you learn so much by asking them”, Aimee says.

Besides some good natured ribbing from farmers regarding her Auckland origins, Aimee finds that her educational background, industry experience and genuine interest in the community has helped to establish a great rapport.

“If you’re honest and willing to put in the time to understand their particular situations, goals and challenges, then they respect you for that. If they trust you, they’ll trust your advice.”

Besides working with individual farmers, she also runs educational workshops. Not just for those in the agricultural industry but also workshops aimed at school aged children and people in urban areas. She notes how important it is to present an accurate view of the agricultural industry and especially to reverse the misconception that farmers don’t care about the land and environment.

“When you talk to farmers, it’s immediately clear that looking after the environment is important to them” she says.

“By working together we are able to change on-farm systems for the better, using the latest developments to maximise production and create more efficient product use.

In the end, this is better for the environment and better for the soil.”