A soon-to-be geologist began her studies as a psychology student at Waikato, taking earth sciences to "fill up gaps".
Lhani Voyle said it didn't take long to find her calling.
"It [earth sciences] was much more interesting and applicable to rural life, and there were more job opportunities."
The Waitara woman, 23, spent six weeks in the Mokau/Awakino area earlier this year, carrying out geological mapping for her earth studies thesis.
Miss Voyle has mapped 840 square kilometres , at a scale of 1:50,000 - which she says is likely to be the closest scaled map produced in the last 30 years.
She said the project was a chance to use equipment and skills learnt at university, but it wasn't a walk in the park.
"Being out there by myself was overwhelming at times, and using things learnt at uni can be quite daunting."
The former New Plymouth Girls' High School student has landed a graduate job at engineering and environmental consultancy Tonkin and Taylor, and begins in February.
Her job title will be engineering geologist, and the work will entail site assessments, sampling, testing, mapping, hazard evaluation and work with the Earthquake Commission.
There may also be overseas opportunities working in hazard assessment, which she is excited about.
"I am the first in all my family to attend university so I didn't really know what to expect," she said.
"I can't wait to learn a more practical approach to geology and to learn from industry-based professionals."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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