After leaving school at 15 and prior to finding his career path, Caleb McSweeney was a self-professed jack of all trades and master of none. But having recently graduated from the University of Waikato in Tauranga, that 'master of none' has mastered one, and graduated with a Master of Science (Research).
Mr McSweeney initially completed a Diploma in Marine Studies and Bachelor of Applied Science before being motivated to pursue postgraduate study as a result of the Rena grounding in 2011.
"The ocean has always been close to my heart and being from Motiti Island, I felt that by continuing my studies it would help to answer key questions from whanau and community.
"Another motivating factor in undertaking postgraduate study was the opportunity to work with Professor Chris Battershill (Chair in Coastal Science at the University's Coastal Marine Field Station in Tauranga). Ultimately, the establishment of Waikato University in Tauranga gave me the opportunity to do postgraduate study near the ocean and my family."
As part of his Master of Science, Caleb's thesis involved looking at the effect of the Rena disaster on paua, by undertaking eco-toxicology lab experiments.
"I've been very lucky to study paua and then move into a job growing paua. Aquaculture is the field I enjoy the most and paua, from a cultural perspective, is very important to me."
Mr McSweeney - who is now the Production Manager at OceaNZ Blue in Northland, New Zealand's largest paua farming facility - encourages anyone considering postgraduate study to explore their options.
"Postgraduate study broadened my perspective and taught me how to research, critique and interpret information better, it also helped me gain confidence in what I know. I'd say to anyone considering postgraduate studies 'believe in yourself and you'll come out of it as an improved person ready for any challenge life throws at you'."
The University of Waikato is hosting a Postgraduate Information Session in Tauranga next Thursday 26 May at the Bongard Centre Student Café, level 5, 200 Cameron Road. University staff will be available to answer any questions.