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Fresh water ecology or the history of enlightenment philosophers?

It is déjà vu for Lisa Carlin, who is graduating this month with a Bachelor of Arts Honours in History.

In 2017 she completed a Master of Science (Ecology), with a focus on fresh water ecology.

Carlin's Honours project couldn't have been much further from freshwater ecology.

“I looked at the patriotism of Adam Ferguson, a Scottish enlightenment philosopher.”

While she thoroughly enjoyed her time in the Zoology department, and her work with Dr Jeremy Piggott and Professor Christoph Matthaei, she said she found herself sneaking into history lectures in her spare time.

“My ecology professors found out pretty quickly that my real passion was for history”, Lisa says.

“It was Associate Professor John Stenhouse's lectures in particular.

“I remember trying to go to both his 'Science and Society' and 'New Zealand Religion and Society' lectures.”

Eventually, after a slightly disapproving look from a Zoology professor Carlin decided it might be better to pick one of Associate Professor Stenhouse's history lectures to attend, rather than both.

After graduating, she went on to work on several ecology projects across New Zealand before realising she really wanted to settle in Dunedin.

In 2019 she began her second journey as an Otago tauira.

She will graduate with her Honours this month and is in the final stages of applying for a scholarship to do a joint-supervised PhD with Associate Professor Stenhouse and Professor Takashi Shogimen.

Carlin's message to current and future Otago tauira is to follow their dreams, even if they might have to try twice before they find a perfect match!

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