Testimonial: Zenon Czenze

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) - New Zealand Awardee (2014-2016)

University of Auckland (Biology, PhD)

The depth and quality of my research is directly linked to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP). Being a full-time student in New Zealand affords me the opportunity to examine seasonal changes in native species. I study populations of New Zealand lesser short-tailed bats across the country from subtropical and temperate climates to examine differences in diet and energy use.

Being a recipient of the CSFP - New Zealand has enabled me to pursue my passion for biological science. The CSFP has allowed me to immerse myself in New Zealand culture which would have been impossible as a part-time student. The connections I made within academic and government departments have led to high quality collaborative research on native species.

My relationship with the Department of Conservation (DoC) blossomed after living in a small village of six houses, outside of a national park, for seven months. Working everyday with DoC rangers enhanced, not only, my research but the concurrent conservation work being done by DoC. This relationship has manifested itself in access to otherwise protected ecosystems, collaborative projects, and a network of colleagues across the country.

Being based out of the University of Auckland has also enhanced my experience outside of fieldwork. Being part of the academic community in New Zealand has provided me the opportunity engage in discussions with academics, and share my previous research in Canada to a broader audience. Not to mention the friends I made in my department and my access to state of the art equipment in the School of Biological Sciences.

The CSFP has provided me with a platform to continue my academic career. The skills I learned in New Zealand will be invaluable when I am applying for post-doctoral fellowships. By studying outside of Canada I have become more self-reliant, which will be essential moving forward and critical to my continuing success as an academic.