Rising Star Q & A: Ting Powell (October 2014)

The Rising Star column profiles students who have had close contact with the UC Sustainability Office and have graduated from UC, or will graduate very soon. In this column they share what they are currently doing and what their plans are for the future.

This edition’s Rising Star is Ting Powell, who did not one but two UC Sustainability Summer Scholarship Projects at the Sustainability Office. Ting Powell

When were you at UC? What did you qualify in?

From 2011 to 2014 (and yes, I went to class in a tent for several months after the 2011 earthquakes). I studied Natural Resources Engineering (BE (Hons)).

What is your job? What are you most excited about?

I am a Graduate Water Engineer, and I am most excited about applying what I have learned to solve real world problems.

How did your degree at UC prepare you to think about sustainability issues?

My degree put great emphasis on sustainability. For example, we studied ecological engineering and ecohydrology (the interrelation between water and ecosystems) and related topics, which are all quite unique to this degree. We are particularly interested in better understanding the interrelationships and links between the elements of natural systems and man-made systems. And we strive to achieve a design that promotes the performance of both by integrating them better.

What did you do with/for the Sustainability Office?

I was awarded a UC Sustainability Summer Scholarship for the last two summers. I worked on two topics that I was very passionate about. In the first summer, I conducted a research on evaluating the on-site food waste recycling program that was trialled at the University and investigating issues around expanding the trial. The following summer I worked on a project designing a stormwater runoff collection system to calibrate a stormwater quality assessments model that was developed at UC. (For more information on Ting’s projects, check it out here)

How has the UC Sustainability Office contributed to your thinking in relation to sustainability?

I think the ability to see the world holistically is an important skill to direct us to a sustainable future. I found working in an interdisciplinary environment was the most valuable experience I gained from working in the UC Sustainability Office. My colleagues were from various backgrounds: history, geography, geology, mechanical engineering, biology and social science. I have been most inspired by talking to them and appreciated the different perspectives they represent. It also reminded me how useful it is to communicate well with people having different backgrounds from one’s self.

Do you have a favourite ‘sustainability moment’ on campus?

I feel grateful every morning I walk on the path along the Okeover Stream to the University. The stream has been restored since the 90’s and the bank is densely vegetated. I also like the fact that the vibrant community garden is right adjacent to it.

If you could wave a wand, what would a sustainable University of Canterbury campus look like?

I believe that university should take on a leadership role to research as well as practice on innovative technology and design that will lead us to a sustainable future.

In five/ten years’ time, what would you like to be doing?

I have a wide range of interests and have tried many different things in my life. In the next 10 years, I would like to develop in-depth knowledge and skills on what most interests me. Water resource and quality are high in my list of priorities.

Check here for more information on other Eco Us projects or how to get involved with Sustainability at UC.


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