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Charlotte Goldsmith

Sculpture outside Centre for Innovation

Photo of Charlotte GoldsmithCharlotte Goldsmith

She believes Genetics is “the fastest-moving and most exciting of scientific disciplines that exists today.”

Few people throughout human history would have guessed that it would be one day possible to peer through a microscope and see the source code underlying the make-up of their own bodies, but in a third-year Genetics laboratory at the University of Otago, Charlotte Goldsmith did just that.

Charlotte says that having the ability to analyse a segment of her own DNA using technology available to university students provides a potent example of why she believes Genetics is “the fastest-moving and most exciting of scientific disciplines that exists today”.

Nowadays, it’s not her own DNA she is studying, but that of cattle and sheep. In her role as a Customer Service Consultant for Pfizer Animal Genetics, her aim is to help farmers make more sophisticated breeding decisions. Her job involves a mixture of scientific analysis and communicating closely with farmers and other clients, and both aspects of her work draw heavily on skills she learnt at Otago, Charlotte says.

“Dealing face to face with clients is the highlight of my job. New Zealand farmers are innovators and it’s interesting to hear the ways they’re implementing genetics on their farm to increase production – for me it really bridges the gap between what I learnt in the classroom and how to integrate it into real life.”

Charlotte moved from Brisbane to study at Otago because of the Genetics Department’s strong international reputation. However, she encourages other prospective students to make the move, whatever they intend to study.

“Otago is awesome! If I’d stayed in Brisbane, I would have spent the mornings and evenings commuting to the city from the suburbs, and I never would have experienced the close-knit, friendly student environment Dunedin offers. I would definitely recommend it to others.”