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Chemistry

Our Students

This is a small collection of some of the current and recent chemistry students from the School of Science. Find out how they are getting on in their studies, or what they are getting up to upon completion of their qualifications. 


 
Kirsty Kraakman

Kirsty Kraakman

BSc; MSc(Research) in Chemistry & Biological Sciences

Current Student

"The knowledge that the lecturers at Waikato possess is amazing."

Making new discoveries in science is the ultimate goal for student Kirsty Kraakman.

Kirsty completed a BSc majoring in chemistry and biological sciences last year and has just started a Master of Science(Research) focusing on molecular biology.

She says study at the University of Waikato is full of opportunities. "The knowledge that the lecturers at Waikato possess is amazing. Everyone is so willing to share their experiences and encourage students to get into research and make the most of their degree."

She has especially enjoyed learning about genetic modification of bacteria, and found working on the genetic sequencing of her own genome to be a highlight.

The former Sacred Heart Girls' College, Hamilton student aims to move on to research following undergraduate study and hopes that, in time, she can make a real difference in society.


Kathleen Martinez

Kathleen Martinez

BSc in Environmental Sciences

Exchange student from University of California Davis

“I wanted a more personalised, hands-on experience at university, and Waikato provided that." 

University of California Davis student Kathleen Martinez chose an exchange in New Zealand because of the unique ecosystems, beautiful landscapes and rich Maori heritage.

Just half way through a 10 month exchange at the University of Waikato, Kathleen credits her exchange as the highlight of her university experience thus far and says she has already grown in so many ways.

“I wanted a more personalised, hands-on experience at university, and Waikato provided that. Waikato puts an emphasis on small class sizes, and the science papers typically have a lab and field work component. I’m in a lab the same amount of time, if not more than I’m in lectures each week, which really helps me retain the information I’m learning,” says Kathleen.

As an environmental sciences student, Kathleen found that the excellent variety of resource and ecology papers at Waikato made it easy to choose classes that would count towards her degree.

“I’m studying a variety of papers in soil science, atmospheric science, hydrology, ecology, geography and resource planning while at Waikato. I’m also taking one cultural paper in Maori weaving, which has been ideal for expressing my creative side while learning about Maori culture.”

She describes Hamilton’s location within the North Island of New Zealand as ideal for travelling. With its proximity to the ocean, the Coromandel region and more, Kathleen has been able to explore the area easily and has taken lots of small road trips during the semester.

“New Zealand’s people and Hamilton’s location have made my time here so enjoyable. I have made so many close friendships with New Zealand students and their families during my stay that it will be difficult to leave in a couple months.”

After graduation, Kathleen hopes to become an environmental scientist, natural resource scientist, or environmental consultant; and because of her time in New Zealand, she says she is now inspired to live and work abroad in the future.


Sanjay Patel

Sanjay Patel

BSc in Chemistry

Current Student

“Waikato is an excellent university choice, with smaller class sizes resulting in more practical work…”

Sanjay Patel found his passion in chemistry and finance at the University of Waikato after deciding an Otago health sciences degree wasn’t for him.

The former Kerikeri High School student is currently studying a conjoint Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Business Analysis degree and has also completed statistics papers to further support his Chemistry and Finance majors.

One highlight for Sanjay has been the practical component of his study, and its real-life application.

“Practical work is such a nice change from theory and can be quite fulfilling. In the first year we built and raced boats in an engineering paper, while last summer I was granted a $5000 Summer Research Scholarship, where I used computational chemistry to investigate phosphine-ozone complexes in the atmosphere.”

In the future Sanjay’s aim is to use both his science and business degrees throughout his career.
“I would like to potentially complete a PhD in analytical chemistry. Following this I would like to either work in the finance industry for an investment bank or move into an analytical chemistry career. Becoming a university lecturer in analytical chemistry is also a career path I might pursue.”

“Waikato is an excellent university choice, with smaller class sizes resulting in more practical work, which is valued by industry managers. Waikato has allowed me to diversify myself through networking, taking broad paper selections and getting involved in extracurricular activities. All of these things will help me stand out to potential employers.”


Nisha Fernandez-Ritchie

Nisha Fernandez-Ritchie

BSc in Chemistry

Current Student

“It’s great being able to study subjects that I love in such a friendly and intellectually stimulating environment"

For Nisha Fernandez-Ritchie, the choice to study at Waikato University seemed like an obvious one. With both her parents having worked at Waikato, she says she “pretty much grew up on campus”. 

“This familiarity made the whole transition from Sacred Heart Girls’ College, to university a lot less scary. I also found the flexibility of my degree very appealing as it means that even though I’m doing a Bachelor of Science majoring in chemistry, I can also pursue my interests of music, physics and maths.”   

“It’s great being able to study subjects that I love in such a friendly and intellectually stimulating environment, surrounded by great people from New Zealand and around the world.”


Alice Wang

Alice Wang

BSc(Tech); MSc in Chemistry

Technical Sales Specialist - Asia Pacific Region
Magritek

"This role combines my technical knowledge and people skills to connect with customers throughout the world.”

Waikato Masters Graduate Alice Wang spends a lot of her work life travelling throughout the world.

Alice now works at Magritek, a scientific instrument company specialising in compact benchtop NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) technologies. Based in the New Zealand office in Wellington, Alice is the Technical Sales Specialist for the Asia Pacific region and looks after sales activities in the company’s Asian markets.

“The responsibilities including selling our products, managing a network of channel partners, traveling, and attending conferences and exhibitions. This role combines my technical knowledge and people skills to connect with customers throughout the world” says Alice.

Alice, a previous Hillcrest High School student, studied Biochemistry as part of the Bachelor of Science (Technology) degree and enjoyed it so much that she then went on to complete a Master of Science in Chemistry. Alice received a number of University and nationwide scholarships to fund her studies and was grateful for the support and approachability of the lecturers.

Alice was also fortunate enough as part of her undergraduate degree to all spend a year in London at Tata Global Beverages for her final work placement in her last year – a real stand out from her time at Waikato.

“The industrial work experience I gained during my final placement was a definite highlight during my study. I learnt a lot of things working with talented people, and gained some skills that couldn’t be taught in a classroom” says Alice.


Nicholas Kuan

Nicholas Kuan

BSc(Tech) in Chemistry

Current Student

"I have a real interest in food chemistry and hope to work towards a career in this industry."

With an excellent reputation for chemistry research, a relaxed campus, and a handful of scholarships on offer, former Saint John's College student Nicholas Kuan knew the University of Waikato was the right choice for him.

The opportunity to complete a summer research project after his first year of a BSc(Tech) has been a highlight for Nicholas, who says the new challenges he faced during the study meant he learnt a range of different chemistry techniques in a short period of time. Alongside experts in the field, his research project looked into the antibacterial properties of manuka honey.

The research investigated the limitations of a recently-published method for quantifying dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is one of the components involved when determining the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) of a sample of honey.

"I have a real interest in food chemistry and hope to work towards a career in this industry. However, at the moment I'm focused on learning the fundamentals of chemistry, alongside papers in physics, biological sciences and calculus."


Coco Hseuh

Coco Hseuh

BSc(Tech) in Biochemistry

Laboratory Technician
CAIQTEST Pacific

“I wanted a degree that offered me the opportunity to gain both theory knowledge about science and as well as practical work experience, and the BSc(Tech) did that”.

Coco Hseuh, a previous Hamilton High School student, studied a Bachelor of Science(Tech) majoring in biochemistry.

Coco now works as a laboratory technician in the microbiology department of CAIQTEST Pacific (a testing laboratory focussing on goods, mainly dairy products) who export to China.

Coco said one of main reasons she chose to study at Waikato was because of the practical work experience she gained. “I wanted a degree that offered me the opportunity to gain both theory knowledge about science and as well as practical work experience, and the BSc(Tech) did that”.