I chose Otago because of the Phys Ed school, and the sport science programme it offered. My siblings all went to different Universities, but I always knew I was going to Otago.
I was always aware of the PE school in Otago, but I wanted to also complete a BSc to complement the sport science. After reviewing the options, I settled on a BSc in neuroscience, as the idea of studying athletes' brains really interested me.
My honours project looked at brain blood flow during rowing, and the possible implications on 2000 m rowing ergometer performance. I was very fortunate to have one supervisor based in the PE school, and one based in Physiology/Neuroscience so that my project could cross both disciplines. I am particularly interested in the exercise physiology of rowing, as a former rower myself and a coach for the last seven years.
So I did a PE degree and a BSc in neuroscience, and now I am studying towards a PhD in clinical neuroscience at Oxford University. I've continued an integrated approach, working an exercise application into my PhD work—looking at respiratory centres in the brains of rowers and asthmatics.
I'm on a Commonwealth Scholarship at Oxford, and while I was at home I was very fortunate to have the backing of both the Otago Alumni Association and the Freemasons charity. Keeping my loan down was really important to allow me the freedom to travel and study overseas following my studies at Otago, so I am very grateful for all of the support I received while at Otago.
My PE degree allowed for really practical learning and covers a broad range of topics, and I was glad to have the BSc in Neuroscience to specifically strengthen my science qualifications—something worth considering if you have a particular subject area of interest.