Meet the Executive
Jane Lieshout – President
In a previous working life, with a BSc majoring in Chemistry, I was responsible for quality control testing of products as well as producing labels for products and safety data sheets. I have served on various committees, including four years in the President and Secretary roles for the local kindergarten in Australia where we lived for ten years and the PTA of my children’s primary school.Since November 2008, I have been the technician at St Patrick’s College, Kilbirnie, Wellington. It is a Catholic integrated boy’s school with around 800 students and 6 science labs. I like to be involved and kept busy, I thought I might learn something new and meet some lovely people if I joined STANZ Executive committee! This has all come true in the years I have served on the committee so I am happy to continue.
Jacqui Alcock – Treasurer
I am Lab manager/Science technician at James Hargest College in Invercargill.
I have lived in NZ for 16 years and it’s definitely the place I call home. I have two boys that keep me very busy and a new Springer Spaniel puppy.
I have been a science technician for 6 years and pre children I worked as a research scientist at Unilever in UK.
I have previously been on the STANZ committee for 2 years and absolutely loved being involved. It really helped me become a more confident technician as I learnt so much from the experience.
I have since been involved with writing and presenting the Safety in Science webinars with Jane Lieshout, which was a steep learning curve to try and dissect the safety documentation and find some clarity to certain aspects of it. I enjoyed presenting at the CONSTANZ 22 and getting to know so many of you.
I am keen to help out on the STANZ committee as I appreciate how much hard work they do behind the scenes and how valuable it is to us all
Sarah Garner – Secretary
I have been working at Kamo High School now for 14 years, the school roll has changed considerably over time. I started with 1,400 students, dropped to 750 and we now stand at around 1,000. We currently have 9 science labs and 9 teachers.
I didn’t have a science background before coming to Aotearoa, just a love from school. I decided to retrain, so attended NorthTec and undertook the National Diploma in Applied Science. It gave me a great foundation for my present role as a Science Technician. I have also completed the Otago University HAZX401 paper on hazardous substances, and this year I obtained my chemical handlers’ certification. Over the years I have really enjoyed meeting fellow technicians at conference.
Other roles outside school have been chair of a Kindergarten, school BOT member, PTA chair, scout club secretary and I am currently treasurer of a local running club, Hatea Harriers. I enjoy walking/jogging, attending Parkrun and the odd half marathon.
Megan Hay – Vice President and Advocacy Officer
Hello, my name is Megan. I am 48 years old and live with a cat, a dog, and a chicken in rural Waikato. I started as the sole Science Technician in 2021 at Hillcrest High School and in January of 2022, I also became the Lab Manager.
This is my third year at Hillcrest High School and I am really enjoying my role! I was training to be a Primary School Teacher but had to take a couple of years off when my only daughter had a near fatal car accident. I became her full-time carer to support her rehabilitation.
The position of Science Technician was advertised and I took up the challenge, instead of returning to University.
I am the Secretary of the H&S Committee, an HSR and I also complete all new staff inductions at Hillcrest High School. I believe H&S to be of upmost importance and am passionate about supporting others on ways to keep themselves safe.
In 2021 I was fortunate enough to be selected for a full scholarship to attend ConSTANZ in Christchurch. It was an exciting trip for me, learnt lots of new things and meet so many other wonderful technicians. I would like to give back, and I hope I can do that by nominating myself to serve on the committee. I am a strong advocate for H&S, with a voice that isn’t afraid to speak up if things aren’t right. I enjoy helping others who need it, with training, support, or ways to find ideas and information.
Sharon Edgecombe – Health and Safety
My name is Sharon Edgecombe and I have been a School Science Technician at Wellington East Girls College since 2018. I have had a varied career in Science working in the Dairy Industry, Local Government testing water and waste water, Environmental and Scientific Research, Calibration and Auditing of science laboratories, and now in the Education sector.
I am passionate about education and helping others to recognise that students learn in different ways. Hands on experiments and opportunities for visual learning are key elements in my belief that educators need to adapt for different learning styles. Both my children struggled at school due to specific learning difficulties. One was dyslexic, the other had Irlen’s syndrome and as an adult was diagnosed as Autistic.
I was happy to be part of the team negotiating for Pay Equity for School Science Technicians as it also felt right to be giving back to a community that has been essential to shaping the future of Science in New Zealand. This experience is what has led my nomination to the Executive Committee of STANZ. I have had a number of other members suggest in the past that I join the committee but I guess I just had to feel the confidence to be a part of making sure that STANZ continues to support school science technicians in the vital role they play in education.
I have had experience in making sure laboratories meet legislative requirements and feel strongly about health and safety. I am not afraid to speak out or point out inconsistencies, but sometimes blunt objects are not the best tools in the toolbox and there are varied ways to achieve an objective.
Jasmine Harrison – Communications Officer and Tech Tonic Editor
Since 2016 I’ve been the Science Technician at St Andrews College in Christchurch. This year I’ve been made Lab Manager with a team of two alongside me and like many of you I’m still learning the ropes of this new role. I have a BSc in Environmental Biogeoscience (mostly a mix of soil science and chemistry) and a PGDip in Water Resource Management. Lately, I’ve been one of the busy little bees working to bring you ConSTANZ 21, and I look forward to meeting some of you when we host the conference in 2022. I feel privileged to be able to help the Executive team advance the recognition and progression of our profession.
Rowena Dunnet – Web Manager and Accumulated Wisdom Editor
My name is Rowena Dunnet, I am 53 years old and live in Cromwell where I have been for the last 20 years. I was born in England but grew up in New Zealand in the town of Taihape.
I attended Massey University where I gained a BSc majoring in Zoology. I also met my husband at university.
After finishing our studies we went on our OE to the UK which ended up with us living there for 9 years before finally coming back to New Zealand with a baby in tow. In the UK I mostly worked in hotels and was the Head Housekeeper of two of these, one in rural Wales and one in Ilkley, Yorkshire.
Once we had moved back to New Zealand and settled in Cromwell I became a fulltime mother. I have two children Jasmine who is 21 and Jamie who is 14.
I have been on various committee’s through motherhood from kindergarten through to High School.
I am in my fourth year of been a science technician at Cromwell College, it is my first job using my science degree and I had forgotten how much I loved science till I got back into it.
I enjoy that everyday can be different. That I get to problem solve when something is not working. That I get to see students interest perk up when they discover something they enjoy doing.
Working in a rural school can be quite isolating especially when you are new to the job. I would like to see if there are more ways to reach out to those scitechs who don’t have the support that those working in the cities do.