Two University of Waikato students have landed a substantial scholarship that has opened the door to the University of Cambridge.
Science student Emma Walker, and engineering graduate Thomas Archbold, have each been awarded the Woolf Fisher Scholarship to study at Cambridge next year.
The scholarship, which covers study and living costs, is estimated at $300,000 each.
Walker, who is currently studying a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology, is planning to pursue a PhD at Babraham Institute – a partner institute of Cambridge.
She will be working with Dr Simon Cook, Head of Babraham Institute’s Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Programme, focusing on the DYRK protein kinases in health and disease.
Walker is looking forward to commencing her research, and says the scholarship is a step towards her goal of combating cancer in New Zealand.
“My ultimate career goal is to significantly improve cancer statistics in New Zealand,” says Emma.
“Public engagement, scientific communication, and knowledge exchange are key skills that will undeniably help me in this.
“The key to understanding lifelong health is to understand the signaling pathways that operate inside cells – this summarises Dr Cook’s research.
“So, understanding how these pathways function and contribute to disease is fundamental to disease prevention, treatment, and improving the human health span.”
Fellow scholarship recipient Thomas Archbold, who graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours and a Masters of Engineering, will continue pursuing engineering at Cambridge.
“I wanted a project where I could use my analytical ability to challenge the ‘trial-and-error’ philosophy used in engineering design, and at the same time, find a good cause.
“With tools developed to optimise structures in a practical way, a more suitable alternative to ‘trial-and-error’ will exist, which may encourage designers to engineer lightweight structures.
“I sincerely believe New Zealand could become a world leader in the design of lightweight structures because we are committed to protecting our clean green image, and we have more scope for growth and improvement than the rest of the world.”
Sir Woolf Fisher (1912-1975), co-founder of Fisher and Paykel, set up his Trust in 1960 to recognise and reward excellence in education. Young New Zealanders are selected based on their outstanding academic ability, leadership potential, integrity, vision and capacity for work. They must also show how their research will benefit New Zealand.