Hooked on biology

Oct 03, 2002, vol. 25, no. 3
By Stuart Colcleugh

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The roots of Paulus Mau's passion for environmental science can be summed up in two words: field research.

“I love being outside, involved with the nitty gritty of scientific research,” says this year's top honours bachelor of science grad in SFU's environmental science (biology stream) program, with a 4.04 cumulative GPA.

Mau (above) got hooked on biology while volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium while in Grade 10 at Burnaby North secondary school. But it was his summer internships - experimenting with apple-orchard fertilization and irrigation methods for Agriculture Canada after Grade 11 and with recycled pulp and paper processes for MacMillan Bloedel after Grade 12 - that gave him the environmental research bug.

“It was very satisfying to discover that my research could make a difference,” says the Hong Kong native, who immigrated to Canada with his family in 1988.

Mau combined academic excellence at SFU with second and third year student co-op terms with UBC Forest Products Biotechnology and B.C. Hydro's power supply environment team. The B.C. Hydro co-op led to a three-year contracting position while he completed his degree and an interest in the company's reservoir fish and nutrient enhancement program, which became the basis for his honours thesis.

“My co-op experiences are what really convinced me to pursue multidisciplinary environmental research as a career,” he says. “But I never would have gotten this far without the support of my family and friends.”

This fall, Mau began his master's degree at SFU's school of resource and environmental management on a $34,600 NSERC scholarship. After he graduates he plans to work as an environmental consultant, then complete a PhD in environmental science.

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