Media Advisory October 23

Ten finalists have been selected for Waikato University’s Thesis in Three competition following four heats. Thesis in Three is a competition where doctoral students present their research in three minutes with the aid of a single static slide and are judged on content, academic rigour, relevance and presentation. The winner from the evening will be given the opportunity to compete with candidates from more than 40 other tertiary institutions at the Australasian finals, to be hosted in 2013 by the University of Western Sydney. “A competition like this forces the students to really focus on what it is they’re trying to achieve in their doctoral research,” says Professor Kay Weaver, Pro Vice-Chancellor Postgraduate. “Candidates not only have the opportunity to win up to $5,000 in research funding, but also gain valuable experience in communicating their ideas effectively to a non-specialist audience.” The final takes place in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts tomorrow, on Wednesday 24 October at 7pm. It is free and open to the public.

The University of Waikato is once again a major partner of Equidays – a national event for all sectors of the equine industry. Waikato University Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says being involved in Equidays is a fitting partnership for the university. “The University of Waikato is a very strong supporter of the region. We are strategic partners at the National Agricultural Fieldays, and it is fitting that we also play our part with Equidays.” Professor Crawford says Equidays is particularly relevant to the university which has a proud history of involvement and support in the agricultural and equine industry. Equidays takes place from 2-4 November and is held at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek. For information visit the Equidays website.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 24 October, the University of Waikato School of Engineering celebrates 10 years. In 2002, the first eight students graduated with Engineering degrees from Waikato. Now, 10 years later, the University of Waikato has more than 300 students and all its Engineering degrees are fully accredited by IPENZ, the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand, which is recognised in 13 countries worldwide. A cocktail event will be held on Wednesday from 5-6pm, at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, celebrating the milestone. Former and current staff and students will be in attendance, along with industry representatives and stakeholders.

With renewability and sustainable practices under the global spotlight, scientists are focusing their research on discovering new waste materials that can be turned into useful products. At next week’s Café Scientifique in Tauranga, University of Waikato engineering lecturer Dr Johan Verbeek will discuss his work in creating bio-derived products, and the progress made to commercialise them. Dr Verbeek is a Senior Lecturer and convenor of the Chemical and Biological Engineering programme. He has won and been nominated for various awards, including being a finalist in the 2011 Kudos Awards for his work turning low-value animal protein into high-value biodegradable plastics. Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, where for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. The Café Scientifique series is organised by Julia and Warren Banks and supported by the University of Waikato. The next Café will be held on Monday 29 October, 6.45pm, at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. For more information visit:

In commemoration of the 200th birthday of celebrated writer Charles Dickens (1812-1870) the Tauranga Art Gallery presents an exhibition entitled, The Haunts of Dickens. To augment this exhibition Dr Kirstine Moffat and Dr Mark Houlahan, from the English Programme at the University of Waikato will deliver a presentation called The Drama of Dickens. They will recreate some of his famous readings, including excerpts from: A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities. The presentation will be held on Thursday 25 October, at 5.30pm at the Tauranga Art Gallery. Entrance costs $5. Register online at, or for further enquiries email, or call 07 577 5376.

An interest in New Zealand’s flora led retired Auckland businessman Philip Rigley back to university at the age of 57. Philip completed the University of Waikato’s two-week Flora of Aotearoa/New Zealand paper in 2011 and says “the course is perfect for people who want to spend time outdoors getting a solid overview of botany and practical knowledge”. The 200-Level paper is open to Waikato University students and community members interested in native and naturalised flora. The taught part of the course includes a three-day field trip, while the remainder is held at the University of Waikato’s Hamilton campus. The budding botanist encourages those in a similar situation to take advantage of the course’s open entry, which suits community members who may not have the prerequisites needed for other university papers of this level. This year’s course is taught from 16-30 November.

The University of Waikato’s annual ChemQuest will provide the ultimate test for Year 12 chemistry students this week. The after-school event gives students studying chemistry at NCEA Level 2 the chance to compete for the ChemQuest trophy and other prizes. Sixty-seven teams of three students are expected to attend. “ChemQuest is a highlight of the year, and it’s great to see keen students giving up their spare time to participate in the quiz. Of course, we try to make it fun, with a wide variety of chemistry-based questions, including chemistry general knowledge and music with a chemistry connection,” says event organiser Professor Bill Henderson. The event is sponsored by the Faculty of Science & Engineering, James & Wells Intellectual Property and Hill Laboratories. The ChemQuest takes place tomorrow at 7pm, 24 October, and is held at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, PWC lecture theatre.

The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp and Paper Engineering Design Show this year showcases both historical and modern design. University of Waikato graduate diploma in engineering student Chris Mitchell will have his miniature steam engine on show, as will many of his class mates, as a demonstration of the work they’ve done in class. Students built the steam engines as part of their introduction to workshop process paper, utilising the university’s large scale laboratory. The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show is being held this week at the University of Waikato on 24 and 25 October, in S Block. Topics include Chemical & Biological Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Software Engineering. The Design Show is an opportunity for high school students and industry representatives to meet the School of Engineering’s students.

University of Waikato student James Swarbrick became the fifth generation in a run of lawyers when he graduated last week. But it wasn’t until recently that he decided to be on the legal-side of the law. After high school he got a communications degree from Wintec and then decided to become a police officer. “Once I finished my degree I decided I wanted to go into the police force. I was sitting on the waiting list for around 18 months and got sick of waiting and one summer decided I might go back and study. I’ll be the fifth generation on my father’s side to become a lawyer”. In 2010 he came to the University of Waikato to study law and never looked back. He graduated alongside about 600 fellow University of Waikato students at ceremonies at Claudelands Arena.

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