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Student Profiles - Sciences

Researcher in lab

Find out students reasons for undertaking distance study and how their learning has been applied in their workplace:


Trish Nugent-Lyne

Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Sciences (Textiles)

Trish Nugent-Lyne student profile

The combination of papers offered by the University of Otago, together with the quality and expertise of the staff attracted Trish Nugent-Lyne back to school – albeit by distance. Trish, Collection Manager at Whanganui Regional Museum, is working on her Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Sciences (Textiles).

Her day-to-day job entails looking after the objects in the museum’s collection, including negotiating with donors and vendors for new acquisitions, looking after storage and the database, and arranging for the loan of items. Part of the collection includes textiles, which were previously catalogued by “fantastic volunteers who knew all about them”.

When the volunteers were unable to assist any longer and personally seeking some extra stimulation (“it had been 20 years since I last studied”), Trish decided to do a qualification on the topic. Her background – an Otago undergraduate degree in History and Anthropology, and a PGDip in Museum Studies – didn’t cover textiles in any detail.

The combination of science and history which the Textiles PGDip covers has fuelled her interest and she now plans to undertake a master’s degree when her diploma is completed.  Read more…

Rachael Holloway

Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences (Hazard Assessment and Management

rachael holloway resized

"The course coordinator was very supportive and the workshops were all well managed and relevant"
I’m currently working as the Compliance Officer in the Department of Physiology at Otago, having completed a degree in Pharmacology and a MSc in Toxicology. The Hazards Management qualification has given me a good background to local legislation regarding genetically modified organisms; plus a refresher on aspects of chemical Management, in New Zealand and globally.

Distance learning meant I could study at night, and when my son had an afternoon nap I could get a little bit of reading done — although when I had two children this became a bit harder!

The course coordinator was very supportive and the workshops were all well managed and relevant. They also gave you a chance to meet others who were part of the course. For the Environmental Hazards paper we went to the Green Island Landfill — who would have any idea how informative a trip to the rubbish dump could be! Read more

Paula Haines-Bellamy

Master of Consumer and Applied Sciences

Paula Haines-Bellamy student profile

Research leads to national award: The mother of four was awarded her distance-taught Master of Consumer and Applied Sciences in 2008. Her thesis involved researching the history behind an extensive collection of old garments and textiles held by the Nelson Provincial Museum. After her studies were complete, she s

et about creating an exhibition “Unpicking the Past", based on the collection. While this presented many challenges, Paula says the tools gained through her Otago studies, as well as a growing interest in the people behind the clothes, made it a labour of love and it went on to win the 2009 Museums Aotearoa Award for Exhibition Excellence, against some impressive competition.

Paula attributes much of her success to Otago’s Distance Learning programme. It allowed her to live in Nelson while taking advantage of all the University had to offer, through the use of the library service, online resources, extensive contact with her supervisors, conference calls and contact visits. Read more ...