Courtney, 20, is a passionate biologist with experience ranging from marine ecology through to microbiology. Her affinity with the environment, and freshwater in particular, stemmed from developing her Ayrshire cattle stud Inca Ayrshires and realising there needed to be a sustainable pathway for the future of agriculture in New Zealand, especially around riparian farm boundaries and animal effluent runoff. Whilst studying towards a Masters of Natural Science, her interdisciplinary knowledge has seen her be part of projects including toheroa detection through ecological forensics, intertidal surveys and novel virus isolation from soil. When she’s not in the laboratory, you can find her out in the paddock with her cows.
As an enthusiastic Massey University Ambassador as well as a recipient of the Massey University Natural Sciences Excellence Award has given Courtney a platform to encourage keen students into the biological/ecological sciences and get them passionate about creating positive change for tomorrow. A young leader with a keen kinship for the world around her, Courtney was recently selected to attend the Janelia Research Campus in the United States, presenting her class’s research around bacteriophage isolation from marine, freshwater and soil samples and will be travelling to Peru as one of four New Zealand’s delegates for the APEC Voices Summit where she, along with the 21 other APEC economy delegates, will be raising issues around the environment and discussing youth involvement in the future. In the past, Courtney has also represented New Zealand in Future Problem Solving and finds great satisfaction in using these skills to solve problems in the laboratory and in the field. Courtney is excited to be a 2016 Blake Ambassador and use her abilities to gain a deeper understanding of the freshwater work NIWA does as well as working closely with the Sir Peter Blake Trust, making tomorrow better than today.