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Music and science are languages of their own

Sam Merton image
Samuel Merton is a Bachelor of Science first-year student who has already started making his mark in the world of music.

A scholarship can make a big difference for a future with more than one dream.

Samuel Merton is a Bachelor of Science first-year student who has already started making his mark in the world of music. The 18-year-old violinist had a big life decision to make that was impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and his love for both music and science.

“I chose to study Information Science because I love computers and math, but also, being at Otago means I can choose to branch out and do a double degree in Music too.”

“They’re both so similar as they are kind of like their own languages and I couldn’t choose just one.”

Sam was a successful applicant of the University of Otago Performance Entrance Scholarship which is available to academically able students with a demonstrated high-level ability in cultural and sporting subjects. As a violinist who has been playing since he was five years old and playing in orchestras at a national level, Sam was thrilled to be chosen as a recipient.

“I had a few options for study. Having the scholarship definitely helped with my decision to study at Otago.”

The musician says the scholarship wasn’t the only reason he chose Otago. Growing up as an only child, he was excited to be surrounded by new people and challenge himself to be in a busier environment.

“I was excited to move out of home and do my own thing. It’s been exciting to experience the student culture and I love the city here.”

Due to COVID-19 creating regular changes to how we go about day-to-day activities, Sam had been nervous to leave Wellington with the off chance the nation might return to a higher Alert Level.

“Deciding what to do with my future was a big decision. I’d like to go overseas but even that’s hard to imagine right now. Right up until a few weeks before the semester started I was planning to stay in Wellington. However, as weeks passed, I felt confident New Zealand had things under control and I’m glad I made the decision to come to Dunedin.”

Before moving to Dunedin Sam had kept active in the Wellington orchestral community.

“I played in concerts alongside the students at the New Zealand School of Music and my group reached the Regional Finals for the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Competition.”

This year Sam plans to audition for the National Youth Orchestra and also has plans which include the Dunedin Youth Orchestra in the future. When he graduates, Sam hopes to take both his passion for information science and his skills in music out into the world as side-by-side careers.

Kōrero by Internal Communications Adviser, Chelsea McRae