Rights: The University of Waikato Published 20 November 2007 Download

Lynn Ferguson started out thinking she wanted to be a hairdresser. After giving it a go, she changed her mind and decided to go into science. She is now Head of Nutrition at the University of Auckland, as well as leading several national research projects, but she didn't start out knowing exactly where she was headed.


Lynn Ferguson (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland) I was actually going to be a hairdresser, and my mother very wisely sent me to hairdressing school. And I discovered I had absolutely zero interest or talent in hairdressing. It sort of seemed a fairly light weight, fairly glamorous occupation, and I realised I actually didn’t like doing it at all, but what I was actually interested in was working things out. That what I had skills in was maths and science, and somehow or other I went on in that.

I think when I went to university the thought of going on to a PhD would have been terrifying, but you sort of take it a step at a time. You do a Bachelors degree, and then you realise the last year of the course was much more interesting than the first, and so you go on a bit further. And then you discover that working in a lab is really quite interesting, and so then you go on to do a PhD. If I had set out to do eight years of work at the beginning, I think I would have been to intimidated by it.