Media Advisory December 15

Waikato research recognised at national soil conference

Staff and graduates of the University of Waikato's School of Science earth sciences programme featured prominently in the awards presented at the New Zealand Society of Soil Science (NZSSS) national conference held in Hamilton in early December. The conference - the first to be held by NZSSS in New Zealand since 2008 - attracted more than 180 delegates, including 23 from Waikato University and several international visitors. The awards were presented at the conference dinner with six Waikato staff or students receiving recognition. Earth Sciences Professor Louis Schipper was awarded the M L Leamy Award for best publication in soil science for the past three years for a paper describing a new theory on the temperature sensitivity of biological processes that applies to scales ranging from enzymes through to ecosystems in soils, which was published in Global Change Biology. Former PhD student Dr Paul Mudge won the Fieldes Award for best PhD thesis of 2014 and current student Sam McNally won the Bert Quinn Award for best PhD student entering their third year in 2014. MSc student Olivia Jordan won the highly competitive Tom Walker Memorial Prize for best student oral presentation at the conference while former MSc student Alice Barnett was awarded the Rigg Award for best MSc thesis for 2013 and BSc graduate Danielle Le Lievre won the NZSSS best completing undergraduate student in soil science award for Waikato University (2014).

University van heads to beaches over summer

What's black, has mag wheels and will be turning up at Coromandel beaches in the New Year? It's the University of Waikato's new-look van, which is heading to where the action is over summer, spending January 2 and 3 at Whangamata and January 4 at Pauanui. Waikato students and van volunteers Tia Sweet, Scott Martin and Shelby Wilson will be turning up the music while beachgoers drop in to play backyard cricket, volleyball and swingball, or just chill out on beanbags. There will be prizes and an opportunity to chat with the students about studying at Waikato.

Jubilee scholars visit campus

Six of the 10 Golden Jubilee scholars have visited the University of Waikato campus recently ahead of their 2015 start. Laura Hetherington (Cambridge High School), Jordan Schroder (Hillcrest High School), John Bell (Sacred Heart College, Auckland), Anna Caudwell (Feilding High School), Nicholas Broome (Lindisfarne College, Hawke's Bay) and Libby Campbell (Rodney College, Wellsford) toured the campus including their chosen Halls of Residence and Faculties. Scholars met with key University leaders and Deans as well as the University's Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alister Jones. Two more scholars, Maynard Scott (Aquinas College, Tauranga) and Nick Humphries (Fiordland College) will be visiting the campus on Tuesday, December 16. The Golden Jubilee Scholarships were awarded as part of the university's 50th anniversary this year, and were given to 10 school leavers who demonstrated a high level of academic excellence, leadership potential and community citizenship. More than 200 students applied for the scholarship which is worth up to $40,000. As part of the programme, scholars will have the opportunities to develop leadership skills through a tailored leadership programme.

2015 Waikato Writer in Residence

Novelist Mandy Hager will be the University of Waikato's writer in residence for 2015. Ms Hager has a long track record in young adult fiction, including the Blood of the Lamb trilogy, and more recently Dear Vincent, a young adult novel about 'painting, suicide and Van Gogh' which won the 2014 LIANZA Young Adult Award for the most distinguished contribution to literature for children and young adults aged 13 years and above. She was this year's Katherine Mansfield fellow in Menton, where she began work on what will be her residency project: a novel for adults about the life of Heloise d'Argeneuil and her doomed love-affair with Pierre Abelard.

David Johnstone scholarship great start to 2015

Thirty-four school-leavers from across the Waikato have been awarded a share of $200,000 to pay for their first year of tertiary education at the University of Waikato or Wintec. The windfall comes from the David Johnstone Charitable Trust Science and Education Scholarships, one of the most significant scholarships awarded in the Waikato in terms of the number of students it assists every year. The students will each receive $6000 towards study next year. Their success was acknowledged at an awards ceremony in Hamilton on December 9 at which BMX Olympian Sarah Walker was the guest speaker. The scholarships were established in 1996 to assist school leavers from the greater Waikato region in their first year of study. Since 1997, the David Johnstone Charitable Trust has awarded approximately $2.5 million to more than 450 Waikato students.

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