Scholarship enables students to tackle climate change

13 July 2022

Tower Insurance Climate Change Scholarship recipients Morgan Harris and Georgina Barwood (left to right).

First-year Bachelor of Climate Change students Morgan Harris and Georgina Barwood are the inaugural winners of the Tower Insurance Climate Change Scholarship.

The Tower Insurance Climate Change Scholarship was established in 2021 to acknowledge the need to nurture a workforce that has a comprehensive understanding of climate change. The two recipients were chosen based on their commitment to understanding climate change and their desire to communicate its impact to the wider community to assist in implementing real world solutions.

Morgan, who attended Hauraki Plains College, has always been interested in climate change. “I remember in Year 8 learning about climate change but I didn’t understand why it was happening. The more I learnt, the more I felt empowered that I could make a difference in this space,” she says.

When considering her study options, she found the University of Waikato’s Bachelor of Climate Change the only degree that combined both the science and social aspects of climate change.

“I saw the Bachelor of Climate Change pop up online and knew I had to study it. This degree allows you to tackle climate change through a variety of different lenses.”

Morgan is passionate about her degree and helping communities understand what climate change means. She acknowledges that climate change is a complex problem and she hopes to be able to bridge the gap between science and implementation of real-world solutions.

Morgan says she is grateful for the support from Tower. “It shows that companies like Tower want to help students make a difference in the climate change space.”

The second recipient, Georgina who is based in Auckland, is returning to study after 20 years as an English teacher. “I had been teaching for over 20 years and wanted to breakout and find a new way to make a difference. When I trained as a teacher, I had no idea climate change would become the biggest crisis facing humanity and now I want to learn more about how to deal with this existential threat.”

A key motivator for Georgina was to offer a sense of hope for her children and to teach them that there is something we can do about climate change.

With the introduction of the Bachelor of Climate Change, her children attending school and a bit of a push from her mum, now was the right time for Georgina to enrol a second time at Waikato.

“Coming back after 20 years is hard. I went back and forth thinking about whether I could get back into study mode but, after receiving this scholarship, it’s a sign that somebody else agreed that I could do it,” she says.

Tower’s Chief Executive Officer Blair Turnbull says Tower is thrilled to support Morgan and Georgina.

“At Tower, we firmly believe that climate change is the single biggest issue that we will face as individuals and as an industry in our lifetime. Tower’s commitment is about enabling the best and the brightest to tackle the climate change challenge, that’s why we are supporting the University of Waikato Bachelor of Climate Change degree.

“Just like Morgan and Georgina, we believe that we can make a difference and are pleased to be embarking on this world-first journey with them and the University of Waikato.”

As a part of the scholarship, both recipients have the opportunity to complete an internship with Tower.

The Bachelor of Climate Change, introduced in 2022, is the first climate change degree in the world and has seen a good uptake of students in its first year.

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