Alumni

What our students have gone on to do.

If you’re a Lincoln Conservation & Ecology or Bioprotection & Biosecurity graduate, let us know where your are and what you’re up to.

Robin Pieper

I graduated from Lincoln with a BSc majoring in Conservation and Ecology and loved nearly every minute of it. My motivation to study came from spending lots of time in the outdoors and wanting to work in a role where I would be benefiting the environment and helping improve the places I love and spend a lot of time in!

 After I finished studying I went on to work as a summer student for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in Land Management where I spent my summer auditing retired conservation areas on farms. It involved a large amount of farm walks, species identification and observation of good and bad farm conservation practices. Over this time I learnt a lot about pest species identification and the interaction between conservation and farming. After this I  was offered a position as a Land Management officer within the same team.

 My job is an exciting mix of ecology and biodiversity, and farm environmental management, with a major focus on water quality. My work involves  preparing and implementing biodiversity and riparian management plans, and working with farmers to reduce their nutrient leaching into waterways. I really enjoy working in the area where science is implemented, and finding the balance between and rural land use and conservation. I believe my studies at Lincoln, coupled with a rural upbringing, have been instrumental in allowing me to get this role. (As a side note, 50% of the team I work in are Lincoln grads)

 Lincoln prepared me well for the working world by giving me lots of practical experience and applicable situations. The small class sizes in the ecology department also enabled me to get the most out of every course and the content was relevant and interesting. I also did a summer scholarship through Lincoln and did a couple of months work experience with Landcare Research during my third year. My recommendation to any student at Lincoln is to gain as much practical experience as possible as skills such as working in the backcountry, driving 4wds and the ability to problem solve in the field is sometimes just as important as being an academic!

 

Johnathon Ridden

 Bachelor of Science (Conservation and Ecology) (Hons, First Class), Lincoln University

Johnathon Ridden (Johno) began his undergraduate degree studying a Bachelor of Science, with a double major in Conservation and Ecology and in Bioprotection and Biosecurity. After the first year Johno decided his primary major was going to be in Conservation and Ecology.

Johno picked up several important skills during his degree, making the most of any extra activities or opportunities to learn or help out in the Ecology Department. These involved participating in summer scholarship research projects working with lichens, insects and also helping out with other student’s projects. Johno also helped run the Nina Valley Ecoblitz and has now helped out with three EcoBlitzes to date. These activities allowed him to develop strong relationships with lecturers, researchers and other students.

Completing an honours degree was the next logical step for him, focussing on genetic relationships of two species of skink found in Canterbury and Otago. There appeared to be some population genetic structuring in both species which warrants further investigation. The species also exhibit interesting morphological variation throughout their range; however, this did not appear to correlate strongly with the observed genetic structuring, which was unexpected.

Johno now works as a Collection Technician in Natural History at Canterbury Museum. This role mainly includes helping to care for and managing the large collection of Natural History objects held by Canterbury Museum. This involves cataloguing and documenting information primarily on the spirit and pinned invertebrate collections, as well as fossils and bird bone collections. Other roles include cleaning galleries, assisting with curatorial tasks, writing blog content and assisting visiting researchers. “All the skills I learned and relationships I built through my time in the Conservation and Ecology degree at Lincoln University have set a fantastic base platform to build my career on”, says Johno.

 

 

 

 

Carina Pohnke

Bachelor of Science, with an Individual Major (Conservation and Ecology, Environmental Management), Lincoln University

Now studying: Master of Biology, Specialisation in Transnational ecosystem-based Water Management

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Carina Pohnke began her studies at Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Environmental Management and Planning with a Major in Conservation and Ecology and transferred to a Bachelor of Science when she realised her particular interest in applied science. “I have always enjoyed the project work and practical components of the ecology courses, especially the field trips! Having the opportunity to work on a topic you enjoy makes the course more interesting and it is easier to learn and apply new principles.”

Through the exposure of field work, GIS skills and undertaking an individual research project in ECOL393, Carina managed to gain a position as a research assistant at Lincoln University after the completion of her Bachelor degree. Carina worked as a GIS Analyst as well as a Field Research Assistant for the Faculty of Environment, Society & Design. “I could apply and expand my GIS skills and gain more field work experience by working in remote areas for extended periods of time.” Carina is now working on preparing a manuscript for the spatial ecology research on New Zealand’s beech forest and presented her undergraduate research at the New Zealand Ecological Society Conference in 2015.

Carina has started her Masters in Europe to specialise further in the field of Water Resources Management by doing an international joint degree in the Netherlands and Germany. “Lincoln University has prepared me well for postgraduate studies and having some work experience helped with my application to study in Europe. I have always had a great interest in water environments, and I am really excited for the opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills in an environment that might tackle these issues differently.”

 

 

 

Tim Sjoberg

Bachelor of Science in Bioprotection and Biosecurity; Master of Science, Lincoln University

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Tim Sjoberg was originally a landscaper by profession, but after an injury, he decided he would take a crack at undergraduate study in science, specifically within bioprotection and biosecurity with Lincoln University.

“From speaking with friends and family who work in the primary industries, I took an interest in the importance for New Zealand to remain free from overseas pests, foreign pathogens and harmful diseases to prevent economic disaster.”

Tim graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in science and desired to study further so he took on postgraduate study at Master’s level, graduating with a Master of Science.

Tim has happily worked at Zero Invasive Predators as a research technician, where he researches and gets to work on many great projects that are making a positive impact on New Zealand and the world.

“I get to be a part of that, and I want to keep working in science, especially within conservation or bioprotection.”

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Tim Sjoberg (right) in his preferred habitat (the field), with students Justin Lamplough (left) and Denise Ford on our very first field ecology course in the Nina Valley in 2012. Tim worked as a demonstrator on that trip.

 

Chrissie Painting

Bachelor of Science (Conservation and Ecology) (Hons), Lincoln University; PhD University of Auckland

 

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Chrissie with the giraffe weevils she studied for her PhD.

 

Christina Painting was a student at Auckland’s Birkenhead College with a particular interest in organic horticulture, when a careers advisor told her about Lincoln University. After a stint travelling the South Island and volunteering on farms, Chrissie realised she had a more general interest in science and ecology.

“This led me to choose the Bachelor of Science majoring in Ecology and Conservation. I have always been passionate about plants and animals, and this was a great way to combine my love of being outdoors in the bush with the possibility of a career.”

During her studies at Lincoln, Chrissie became increasingly interested in scientific research, insects and their behaviour. After completing her degree with First Class Honours, she was able to expand on her interests by studying towards a PhD at the University of Auckland.  This led to a post-doctoral fellowship at the same institution.

“I completed a post-doctoral position with Greg Holwell, looking at weapon diversity in Neopilionid harvestmen (a very crazy looking group of arachnids). I also lectured in Behavioural Ecology and co-supervised several honours and master’s students working on insect behaviour.”

Lincoln’s emphasis on practical work and getting out into the field has set Chrissie in good stead for her career in science.

“Now that I spend a lot of time doing my own field work and teaching practical skills to undergraduates, I really appreciate that Lincoln set me up to be confident in this way.”

Chrissie’s research has recently been featured on TV news, on science websites and radio shows. Chrissie has been a postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Singapore and is now based at the University of Auckland. You can learn more about Chrissie and her research on her website.

 

Belinda Margetts (nee Whyte)

Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Canterbury; Doctor of Philosophy, Lincoln University

 

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Belinda inspecting restoration works in the Avon River Precinct

 

After completing her Honours degree in terrestrial ecology, Belinda worked for over a decade in New Zealand and overseas in terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments, for consultancies and research institutes. Her most notable times were running a marine megafauna project in Mozambique and surveying fish within estuaries of Ireland. Having always wanted to do a PhD, Belinda then decided to undertake her studies at Lincoln University, which appealed to her because of the smaller size, the practical research being undertaken and the friendly teaching environment. She completed a PhD investigating changes in the movement patterns of possums in response to control.

Belinda is now working at the Christchurch City Council, returning to the freshwater environment as their Waterways Ecologist. Her role is to run the waterways monitoring program, and provide internal and external advice on ecology, particularly for resource consents. She loves this role because of the blend of science with policy and management, and the responsibility of being the ‘expert’ in Council. She enjoys having a front-line role in ensuring our effects on waterway environments are mitigated and environments are restored.

Belinda enjoyed her time at Lincoln, particularly the friendships she made with staff there, who were knowledgeable, respectful, engaging and approachable. She believes her PhD project not only made her a competitive candidate for her current job, but having worked for a decade before her PhD, she believes she approaches work in a much more effective and knowledgeable way due to her PhD experience.

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