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Summer days of labs and learning

From left: Haidee Middlewood-Krsinic, Serene Ratu, Philip Stenger, and Samantha Taylor.

While it may be tempting to think summer is a time for kicking back and taking it easy, four students have been working hard, gaining hands-on experience working at Lincoln Agritech.

Serene Ratu (Ngai Tūhoe) and Haidee Middlewood-Krsinic have been working with the New Materials team, Samantha Taylor has been working with the GreenTech team, and Philip Stenger has been working with the Precision Agriculture group.

All four are studying at the University of Canterbury, and they all say their summer work experience has been interesting, valuable, and even fun!

Serene is studying for a joint Bachelor of Product Design and BCom. A member of her iwi encouraged her to apply for a job at Lincoln Agritech, because of its work with Minginui Nursery to develop novel cellulose fibres and pigments from endemic plants, including tawa.

“We are the guardians of Te Urewera Forest, and I wanted to be part of the project to make sure our tawa trees are being utilised for the right reasons.”

Samantha Taylor, who is studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering, said she wanted to work with Lincoln Agritech because she could combine her interests in chemistry and environmental science while doing research on greenhouse gas mitigation.

“I’ve been involved in the initial design and testing stage of methods to capture and transform these greenhouse gasses to benign compounds,” says Samantha, adding that it’s really helped her to develop her research skills.

For Haidee, this is a second-time-around work experience. “I worked here last summer and really enjoyed the projects I got to work on, and the workplace environment.” Haidee’s about to begin her fourth year studying chemical and process engineering.

All four say the experience of working with Lincoln Agritech has helped confirm they are on the right path with their study – and even help to focus in on particular aspects that they really enjoy.

Philip will be completing the third year of his mechatronics engineering degree in 2022, and says the summer job has given him hands-on experience of working in an engineering workplace. He’s spent time designing a prototyping device, and developing software for a robotic arm.

“I’ve realised I’d like to place a greater focus on the software engineering aspect of my degree,” he says.

And they all encourage other students to seek out such jobs during their summer breaks. “You’ll get to work with friendly people, on interesting projects, and also develop your professional and personal skills,” says Haidee.

Serene adds: “Working here has definitely exceeded my expectations! The team have made me feel very much at home, and I’ve never felt out of place.”

Lincoln Agritech wishes all of our summer students well in their continued studies and whatever jobs they decide to pursue. We’ve really enjoyed having you here.

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