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Isobelle Barrett

Bachelor of Science and Postgraduate Diploma in Energy Studies

Lead Hydrologist, Trustpower

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I decided to study at Otago because of its reputation and the region appealed to me, due to the many outdoor opportunities.
Initially, I hadn’t considered Energy Studies, however, after a suggestion from my physics lecturer, I enrolled in a paper and never looked back! The small class sizes made for a nice community and we had plenty of good resources available to us.


I loved exploring Dunedin beaches, the wider Otago region and I got involved in some university sports clubs that introduced me to so many amazing people. I had only been to Dunedin once before moving there for university, so I had no idea what to expect. I remember being nervous but very excited! The staff and students were all very supportive and passionate, so I found it was an easy transition from leaving my small home town. Highlights and interesting memories of my time at Otago would be making lifelong friends and wearing beanies to bed to stay warm.


Since graduating I have worked in the energy industry with a small stint to the UK for my OE where I worked for a small solar firm and an international hydrology company. I returned to New Zealand and work in a role at an electricity generator where I oversee monitoring at hydro schemes across the country. My studies have continued to be valuable in my career and have provided me with great technical skills to apply in the real world.


Employers respond well to a Bachelor of Science in Energy. We had several employers approach our lecturers looking for graduates. The Energy Studies Programme was very new at the time I enrolled and very relevant to a growing demand for energy professionals.

What advice would I give to someone who is thinking about studying at Otago? Get involved in as many groups as possible, this is a great way to meet new people. Don’t underestimate how this can contribute to your life and career.