Waikato University student named Fulbright scholar

28 June 2012

Kenny Bell

Berkeley bound: University of Waikato student Kenny Bell has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of California, Berkeley.

University of Waikato Master of Management Studies student Kenny Bell has been awarded a US$25,000 Fulbright Ministry of Science and Innovation Graduate Award to study at the University of California, Berkeley.

Kenny has been at Waikato University since leaving high school and plans to spend the next four years at Berkeley, working on his PhD and as a research assistant studying agricultural and resource economics.

Exchange sparked new study path

It’s a new direction of study for the mathematics, finance and economics student who decided to change his focus after taking a couple of classes in the agricultural and resource economics department at Berkeley during an academic exchange last year. Professor David Zilberman was one of his teachers during this time.

“He’s a pretty brilliant guy,” says Kenny. “I took a paper with him during my exchange which got me interested in agriculture and the environmental impacts of products.”

Research plans

Kenny will work under Professor Zilberman as a research assistant, taking papers for the first two years, before completing his own research for the following two.

“My research will look at the life-cycle environmental impacts of products. Current research ignores some important flow-on economic impacts of products and these flow-on effects have their own environmental impacts.

“For example, society’s use of recycled paper severely impacts forestry profits as people buy a lot less new paper. The worse forestry gets as a business, the more attractive alternative uses of that land become and these alternative uses could have much worse environmental impacts than forestry.

Building a framework

“I’m hoping to build a framework which allows firms who assess their products’ environmental impacts to take account of these types of flow on effects. This will be especially important as carbon markets develop over the next few decades and as consumers become more environmentally conscious.”

“While my main source of income will come from Berkeley, I probably wouldn’t have gone ahead with my trip without the Fulbright Scholarship. It’s paid for my flights there and back and means that I’ll be able to enjoy my time over there instead of just working non-stop.”

After completing his time at Berkeley, Kenny is hoping to continue working as an economic researcher.

Fellow University of Waikato students Tanya O’Neill and Lora Vaioleti also received awards from Fulbright New Zealand.

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