Studying Science was a “no-brainer” for Jade Boerboom, who started working at Lion Dairy and Drinks just one week after she finished studying at UCOL, and is now looking to become a Science teacher.
Jade chose UCOL due to the small classes, the one-on-one teaching style, and the practical approach to learning.
“One of the great things about UCOL is that the learning is all very hands-on,” she says.
She liked that UCOL’s Science programmes
gave her a good understanding of a variety of disciplines such as chromatography, microbiology, and biochemistry.
“You get a taste of everything. I was able to try a range of things and find what I liked the most and carry on with it. My favourite was microbiology. When you finish the programme, you come out with a lot of options.”
A highlight for Jade was completing a four month placement with AgResearch
. She worked in the plant and fungal team, researching fungi in grasses.
Jade says that UCOL’s labs were some of the best she has seen.
“The labs are very well looked after. There is a lot of room, good work benches, and plenty of glassware and equipment. They’ve got everything you need to learn the basics, and once you go on to your placement you get to learn to use more specialised equipment.”
Jade found her lecturers to be very supportive and flexible when she had to take time off to care for her young daughter.
“The lecturers were very understanding when it came to sick days, or if I had to leave early. They’d email me work and offered support.”
“Writing isn’t my strongest point, so the lecturers were also very good at helping me proofread my assignments before I handed them it."
After finishing her UCOL studies, Jade worked as a Technical Assistant at Lion Dairy and Drinks
, after she was shoulder-tapped for the job by a former classmate.
“They had an opening and she remembered me. She asked my lecturers if I would be good for the job, brought me in for an interview, and now here I am.”
Jade’s main responsibility was testing Yoplait yogurts
for microbial growth, making sure that the products met the specifications before they are released.
“I realled enjoying it. I initially wanted to go into a research lab, but I liked this better because the protocols were already set up. Everyone was really supportive, and I had my own lab all to myself, so it was really fun.”
She feels that her UCOL studies prepared her well for the job.
“Science is such a good field to get into in the Manawatu
. As long as you study and stick to it, there are so many opportunities that can come out studying Science at UCOL.”
Jade is now studying towards a Bachelor in Biological Sciences with a Psychology minor, with the aim of becoming a secondary school teacher in the next five to six years.
“I like the idea of teaching at high school because of the stage of development the students are at. I know a lot people find it tough at high school, and I feel like I’d be able to support students through that as a teacher.”
Jade is also working part-time in an after school care programme to build up some practical skills to help with teaching.
Lion Dairy and Drinks is a subsidiary of Lion that produces milk, yoghurt, cream, dairy desserts, juice and cheese in Australia and New Zealand. Its New Zealand market brands include Yoplait yoghurt and Vitasoy plant milk.