Chloe Samaratunga

Chloe Samaratunga

Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) in Geospatial Science student

She had long been interested in geospatial science, says Chloe Samaratunga who is in the final stages of her Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) and will start a full-time position at Tonkin + Taylor as a GIS technician as soon as she graduates.

“I really enjoyed geography and the science subjects at school, and wanted to continue my studies at university along those lines. I decided on the Geospatial Science major as I found spatial data very interesting and loved the creative aspects of the field. Being able to create visual outputs and use my creativity in conjunction with science and research was something that really appealed to me.

“When I was considering my university study options, I chose AUT because its degree seemed more relevant and up-to-date as other universities were still teaching with older GIS software. I also had received an AUT New Horizons Undergraduate Scholarship, so that really sealed the deal on choosing AUT as the uni for me.”

Friends and mentors
For Chloe, there have been plenty of highlights throughout her time at AUT.

“My highlights would include late nights in the computer labs working on group assignments with my friends, and going on fieldtrips is always super exciting too. Studying can be really stressful at times, but having my peers around me made it enjoyable. It was nice to develop genuine friendships with my classmates and have that support available.

“I’m also proud of receiving the LINZ external tertiary GIS scholarship in 2020, which went towards the final year of my degree.”

One lecturer in particular made quite an impression on her.

“My geology lecturer and research supervisor, Professor Michael Petterson, was a massive motivator throughout my degree. He not only sparked my passion for geology in his classes, but also has been extremely helpful and supportive throughout my research.”

Valuable internship experience
With only one semester of her degree to go, Chloe is currently doing a summer internship with Environment Canterbury Regional Council, working within the organisation’s GIS team.

“This internship has been an amazing experience. It’s been really cool getting a taste of the industry, and being able to connect with professionals in the GIS field and have them as mentors. The teamwork aspect of the internship is what I’ve enjoyed the most. I was able to meet some amazing likeminded people through this internship, which made it a fun and enjoyable work environment.”

Her advice for other students? Apply for summer internship roles.

“It’s great way to gain some real-life industry experience before you graduate. Not only will it help with your CV and job search, but the hands-on experience will also help you decipher which avenue of the industry you enjoy most, and that can help you tailor your research or courses to suit you and your future goals.”

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