Kia ora. My name is Petra, and I am a fourth-year student at the University of Otago studying Physics, Computer Science, and Mathematics.
I am passionate about space science, including space exploration, technology, and astrophysics. I aspire to be at the forefront of this field, whether through research or working in New Zealand's space industry.
In 2021/2022, I led the New Zealand team in the International Space Challenge, where we designed a rover capable of In-Situ Resource Utilisation and excavation on the moon and won the grand prize. I also worked as an Applied Mathematics and Astrophysics intern for the University of Otago under a Summer Research Scholarship. In addition, I have received several awards for my academic achievements, including the Stuart Prize, the Staff Prize, and the Beverly Bursary for excellence in physics.
Apart from my academic pursuits, I am also passionate about environmental conservation and volunteering in the community. I am currently finishing up the University of Otago Student Leadership Award, where I am working on a science outreach project to make students from rural and low decile high schools more aware of available opportunities. I am also a Residential Assistant at Knox College, on the executive team for the Otago Mathematics and Physics Students Association, and I enjoy planting native trees to help resuscitate New Zealand's natural bush.
Outside of my academic and volunteer work, I enjoy long distance running, cycling, swimming, and tramping. I also play the flute and am learning to sing. I have had the opportunity to participate in the Pinnacle Programme, where I sailed from the Bay of Islands to Auckland on the Spirit of New Zealand and completed the Outward Bound three week Classic Course. These experiences taught me about the reserves of mental and physical strength we all have and the importance of spending time with friends and whanau.