Demystifying what Chemistry postgrads do

Recently a group of undergraduates got to try their lab coats on for size in the inaugural Chemistry Research Buddy Week. Dr Sarah Masters reflects on what made it so successful.

We worked with ChemSoc President, Nic Bason, to give students the opportunity to find out what Chemistry postgrads do, how they do it and why they take the research steps they do. Our intention was to demystify the process and open eyes to the possibilities that exist in research.

During the week, the undergrads spent part of, or a whole day, shadowing a postgrad in the Department of Chemistry to see what they do in their day-to-day research life. Not only were they planning and doing experiments, analysing the results, and trying to work out what it all meant, but they also got involved in outreach activities that happened to be running that week, and checked out the tea room.

A total of 27 undergraduate students took part with 18 postgrads (from 400L to PhD) involved as buddies. Chemical specialties ranged from environmental science through organic and inorganic synthesis to chemical modelling and mathematical applications. In general, the undergraduate students spent between 4 to 7 hours shadowing their research buddy, participating in the research labs, group meetings, and seminars, as well as coming to the communal tea room for lunch and other breaks.

Reports from the undergraduate students indicate that they really enjoyed the opportunity to be part of the department, to find out more about what postgraduate study means and to talk first-hand with students engaged in Honours, Masters and Doctoral study. Many indicated that it had helped to clarify their thinking about postgraduate study in Chemistry, and that they had enjoyed it so much that they would like more opportunities to take part, with several buddy weeks a year! The postgraduate students echoed this sentiment, with lots of positive ideas about how to take the initiative forward to 2017 and beyond.

Sarah Masters

2017 STAR at UC Programme

STAR at UC 17_campus_interactivecoverThe 2017 STAR brochures are now available in print and online.

This programme offers keen and capable secondary school students from anywhere in New Zealand the opportunity to complete courses at UC while they are in Year 12 or Year 13. This year UC has had over 230 STAR students enrolled from 81 secondary schools around the country.

There are two versions that cover separately:

  • distance courses
  • on-campus courses.

Hard copies will be distributed to general and academic staff involved in the programme in the coming weeks. Other staff can order copies of the brochure by contacting Franka Menzies, Academic Processes Coordinator, Academic Services Group.

View the 2017 STAR at UC brochures online and find out more about this programme on the STAR Programme website.
STAR at UC 17_distance_interactivecover2

movember is just around the corner

Sign up for Movember and join the movement for men’s health.

Ways to get involved:


“Men are typically more indifferent towards their health when compared to the efforts of women who proactively manage and publicly address their health concerns. As a result, levels of awareness, understanding and funding support for men’s health issues lag significantly behind that of other causes.

Using the moustache as a catalyst for conversation, Movember hopes to bring about change by providing men the opportunity to learn and talk about their health more openly and by encouraging men to take action.”

(for more info visit Movember Foundation)

Mo Sistas

Summer works on campus

Work is about to commence on the RSIC rain garden, which adjoins the CETF project along the southern side of the E8/E9 Lecture Theatres. To enable this, the access way from central campus into the Civil/Mechanical building must be removed.

From 21 November, the Civil/Mechanical building will only be accessible from the Creyke Road entrance. Emergency access at the southern end will remain in place, however this is not for general use and until the Core is opened, pedestrian access into the Engineering precinct will be via either Engineering Road or Forestry Road.

Car parks available in the Biology car park will be significantly reduced to allow for concurrent works on a number of projects.

The arrival of a large amount of structural steel and cladding for Rehua, along with artesian bore works on site, will necessitate a larger hoarded area around that building.

Work will also begin on the new cladding for the Electrical Link building and decanting of the top two levels of von Haast, both requiring additional hoarded areas that will further reduce available parking spaces.

While these works are being undertaken over the summer break to minimise impacts and disruption, we apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

Raising children bilingually – free public lecture/workshop

Mother and child singing a song

Why should parents speak their language(s) to their children? Come and find out what the research says and share your experiences.

What: Raising Children Bilingually
When: Thursday, 3 November, 5.30-7pm
Where: Jack Mann Auditorium, Dovedale Campus, UC
Who: All welcome! Free entry
Please RSVP:

For more information on the Learning and Teaching Languages Lab, please click visit our website: or follow us on  Facebook: Growing up with two languages

Associate Professor Una Cunningham
School of Teacher Education
Author of the book: Growing up with two languages