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SunLive – Broken Bones, No Barrier for Graduates

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Graduating from the University of Waikato was a chance for Caleb Crosbie (Ngāpuhi) to reflect on the rollercoaster of the year that has been.

A serious sports injury two weeks into his bachelor’s degree left Caleb with a broken leg and unable to walk, and Covid-19 lockdowns and closed borders separated him and his family.

It’s been a tough final year, but on September 2, 2022, the 22-year-old celebrated his success by graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the university’s Tauranga campus in the CBD. (BSc).

He is part of the first cohort of bachelors to graduate since the campus opened in 2019.

Growing up, Caleb’s dream was like any other Kiwi boy – to play rugby for the All Blacks. His fascination with nature and the natural world only developed later in life.

“Oddly enough, I never did very well in science in school and I particularly dreaded chemistry with a burning passion,” says Caleb.

“But once I realized I could use science as both a pathway and a tool to better understand nature, it was like a penny dropped.” There was also a focus on sustainability and environmental rehabilitation in high school, so it was an easy decision to choose his environmental science major.

Caleb was awarded the Summer Research Fellowship, a $6,000 grant that provides the opportunity to experience the challenges and rewards of research.

He presented the results of his fellowship – investigating whether global change is impacting marine sediment communities, such as mudflats – at the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society conference held at the Tauranga campus.

“I spoke to and rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s foremost marine environmental experts and heard their views on New Zealand’s future challenges.”

Caleb is now a Master of Science (Research) student in Environmental Science studying the recovery of soft sediment communities following heatwave-related mortality events.

He is investigating whether there are specific juvenile-adult interactions between major cockle species and whether they have an effect on community recovery. He also does demos for at least two undergraduate papers each term to keep himself busy, helping to lead labs and field trips.

“I still don’t know what I want my future to hold in terms of a career. However, I believe that the skills and people I have met throughout my studies have been extremely beneficial for my future.