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The interaction between microscopic atoms can have a massive impact on the world around us. Bachelor of Science (Honours) graduate Holly Scott believes chemistry is the key to protecting our environment and says the small efforts of many could safeguard our planet for future generations. As an environmental scientist at Beca, focusing on contaminated land, Holly hopes to become a growing piece of a much larger environmental puzzle.

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You learn about all the small things and how they work, and then you relate it to the larger issues.

The small efforts making a big impact

Holly Scott is a self-confessed "science nerd" who believes the world's environmental problems can be tackled through science.

"I get a thrill out of making sense of our world and how it works. You learn about all the small things and how they work, and then you relate it to the larger issues. That is one of the main reasons I love science so much – it really does help us get a deeper understanding of the world around us."

Holly's interest in science has always run alongside her passion for the environment and how science can be used to protect it.

"I really started to notice my passion for the environment during my university studies because I found myself always working on projects that were somehow related to environmental applications. It seems so simple but if everyone made the small efforts it would compound to have a great effect."

Now an Environmental Scientist at Beca in Tauranga, Holly is working primarily in the contaminated land space.

"I think the greatest thing Massey helped me with, is simply to be yourself at work every day – to bring that passion. I don't want to be another person who works in the office and does all the same things. I want to bring my personality to work and Massey helped me foster that."

Holly doesn't quite know where her career will lead, but she knows how she wants to approach it.

"I feel like there are so many possibilities and I just want to get my feet wet. Take as many opportunities as possible. I learnt that people will keep giving you opportunities if you choose to take them. And it's okay to say yes and push yourself out of your comfort zone."

The 23-year-old from Gisborne says chemistry at a high level is very much about people.

"Some of my best friends were made by doing post-grad together, locked up in the lab, you get pretty close. The weekend just gone, I was up in Auckland and I caught up with one of my old lecturers for coffee, where does that happen? That's why I loved Massey. It was the smaller class environment, it was having a very real close relationship with my lecturers…just being able to do some research with some really cool people.

"Because Massey was so supportive and the people around me were so supportive - keeping going was never a challenge. I finished my bachelor's and thought, I am ready to start working, this it for me. But then I just wanted to keep going, so that's when I went back to do post-grad. I feel like Massey is really good at offering opportunities to keep going if that's what you decide to do."

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