Lucy van Oosterom

Being a Blake Ambassador is a huge honour and has lifted me beyond where I would be had I not received the award. The research voyage itself was an eye-opener and has changed the way I think about many issues surrounding fisheries and NZ’s marine resources. It has changed the direction I would direct any future research and has added another element to what I would like my career to cover. Being involved with the SPBT had me feeling like a leader, which was refreshing after years of feeling like a junior in my field. This has given me a great lift in my confidence and also in my aspirations for the near future – I can do great things now, I don’t need to wait for the future to come along. My future direction has shifted slightly and I now hope to move into a role where I can carry out research but also include education and outreach, and attempt to be as inspiring and influential as others I have met through winning the award. I think leaders strive to be of value, not of success, and I hope to do the same now and in the near future.

I think this particular award was most beneficial for me because it combined real science with leadership, education and outreach, which is something that is often lacking as you come through the university system. Getting real industry experience is difficult, especially something as hands on as what we did with NIWA on board Tangaroa, so this was unforgettable and irreplaceable, although very intense and often heavy. Being invited into an organisation like the SPBT that helps you realise your potential and encourages you to dream big was the icing on the cake and the cake itself, and I hope the next NIWA-SPBT ambassadors feel the same.