A love of nature blossoms into a science degree and top University honour

22 DECEMBER 2020

A love of nature blossoms into a science degree and top University honour

Charles Sturt University graduate reflects on what sparked her interest in science and intention to use knowledge to “give back”

  • Charles Sturt University graduate reflects on what sparked her interest in science and intention to use knowledge to “give back”
  • Ms Lily Tenhave, from Ganmain in the Riverina, wins University medal in obtaining Bachelor of Science degree
  • Acting Vice-Chancellor offers congratulations on ‘outstanding academic record that led to this prestigious award’

A childhood pastime of mixing the genotypes of rabbits to produce offspring of certain colours has blossomed into a science degree and a prestigious honour for a Charles Sturt University graduate.

Ms Lily Tenhave, who lives in the small town of Ganmain in the Riverina, has been awarded a University Medal for her outstanding academic record in obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree over the past three years.

While she has no concrete plans for her career, or even 2021 – the prospect of undertaking an Honours degree in Biomedical Science with Charles Sturt is a possibility – Ms Tenhave is committed to putting her knowledge to use to “give back to the community”.

“I love the concept of curing diseases at the genetic level, rather than just treating the symptoms of many diseases. There is so much potential to research and resolve them at the root cause – genes,” she said.

“While I have no particular dream career, I'd love to contribute to this type of research one day.

“I'd also love to be able to use my skills and knowledge gained at Charles Sturt University to serve rural communities, whether that be working in industry, or maybe teaching one day. Who knows what the future holds?”

Ms Tenhave’s interest in learning, and in the field of science specifically, was first piqued through her childhood hobby of breeding rabbits.

She said her parents were instrumental to her obtaining her degree by encouraging her to enjoy learning and enabling her childhood pursuits in science.

“From a young age I was keen to learn new things, and began breeding rabbits at the age of 12 to look at the genetics of their coat colours,” she said.

“By studying the interactions between the genes I knew about, I was able to produce certain coat colours or determine the genotypes of my rabbits.

“This sparked my interest in human genetics, which was fostered by the academics and lecturers at Charles Sturt University who encouraged me to get where I am today.”

In lieu of a graduation ceremony, postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, Ms Tenhave was this week congratulated by Charles Sturt University Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Germov at the Wagga Wagga campus.

Professor Germov applauded her University Medal – awarded to eligible graduating students to recognise outstanding academic achievement – as well as her goal of using her knowledge and qualifications to serve the community.

“I heartily congratulate Lily on the outstanding academic record that led to this prestigious award, which is testament to her intelligence, determination and many, many hours of hard work,” he said.

“Even more laudable is her intention to utilise her knowledge for the benefit of her community, a goal which is to be commended in the strongest terms.

“In doing so, Lily will join many of her fellow Charles Sturt University graduates – past and present – who are striving to make a world worth living in.”

Ms Tenhave said her three years studying for her Bachelor’s degree had not been without challenges, but the flexibility of the course and the support of her teachers had made all obstacles surmountable.

“The lecturers and staff were really supportive and encouraging, always happy to invest their time into answering my questions, whether it be about course content or future careers,” she said.

Starting university I also wasn't sure exactly which area of science to pursue, so the flexibility of Charles Sturt University's Bachelor of Science course was appealing, and provided a well-rounded science knowledge base while still allowing you to specialise in certain areas.  

“Studying at Charles Sturt University allowed me to learn and grow in my passion for science, while staying local and involved in family and community life.”

Ms Tenhave and all 2020 graduates will be invited to attend in-person graduation ceremonies when COVID-19 restrictions allow for them to be held.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Ms Lily Tenhave contact Lisa Ditchfield at Charles Sturt Media on 0417 125 795 or via news@csu.edu.au

Photo: Charles Sturt University Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Germov presenting Lily Tenhave with the University Medal at the Wagga Wagga campus.

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