Studying science was a “no-brainer” for Jade Boerboom, who started her job at Lion Dairy and Drinks just one week after she finished studying at UCOL.
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, which is what I'm now doing in my job. When you finish the programme, you come out with a lot of options."
A highlight for Jade was completing a four month placement with Ag Research. 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. "
Jade is now working 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 is testing Yoplait yogurts for microbial growth, making sure that the products meet the specifications before they are released.
"I'm really enjoying it. I initially wanted to go into a research lab, but I like this better because the protocols have already been set up. Everyone is really supportive, and I've got my own lab all to myself, so it's really fun."
She feels that her UCOL studies prepared her well for her current role.
"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 wants to eventually teach high school Science.
"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."
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.