In my STEM field as an environmental scientist, my role involves understanding processes in action and then working to influence those processes in ways that are beneficial to both people and the environment.

As a graduate with AECOM in Christchurch, New Zealand, I was surprised to discover the wide range of projects the environment team is involved in — from contaminated land and groundwater investigations to compliance monitoring — no two projects are the same. One of the interesting projects I have worked on is South Frame, which will see the introduction of a mixed-use space in the south of the Christchurch Central Business District. I conducted soil sampling in potentially contaminated areas to ensure the safety of workers during the construction phase of the project.

The entire New Zealand environment team has supported me along the way. Not JUST my manager — although she is awesome — but the wider team in Christchurch and also the teams in Auckland and Wellington. There is a close relationship between teams, which means I am able to draw on the knowledge of a broad array of people from different backgrounds with regard to specific projects and their unique challenges and circumstances.

AECOM’s Graduate Development Program has been a valuable part of my experience as it has helped me network with other graduates across the country and learn how the company operates and my role within it.

I chose to study science because I was interested in why things are the way they are in the environment around me. I love the way science connects everything, whether it is immediately obvious or not! Science is constantly evolving, which makes it an exciting field to work in.

I was (and continue to be) inspired by scientists whose research furthers our understanding of our influence on the environment. I think it’s important that people do what they can to work towards a better future. I also think it’s important that more of these people are girls and that we encourage and support their interests in science.