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‘Best Brains’ Awarded Postgraduate Scholarships

Press Release – Universities New Zealand – Te Pokai Tara

Several young New Zealanders have been given assistance to complete their postgraduate study thanks to the William Georgetti Scholarships. Established by the late William Georgetti, a Hawkes Bay farmer, to create opportunities for the best brains …

Several young New Zealanders have been given assistance to complete their postgraduate study thanks to the William Georgetti Scholarships.

Established by the late William Georgetti, a Hawke’s Bay farmer, to create opportunities for the “best brains” to benefit from his bequest, the scholarships encourage postgraduate study and research in a field important to New Zealand’s social, cultural or economic development.

This year’s recipients are:

· Jack Alexander, currently practising as a litigator at a leading law firm. Jack studied law and history at the University of Auckland, winning several first-in-course awards, publishing extensively and managing the Equal Justice Project’s pro bono team during his time there. Jack was also recently awarded the Cleary Memorial Prize as the most promising young New Zealand lawyer—an award granted for the promise to serve the community through the legal profession, as well as for academic excellence. Jack plans to complete a Master of Laws (LLM) degree at the University of Cambridge, specialising in the law of trusts. His research will look at law reform opportunities to ensure trusts are being used for the purpose for which they were originally intended.

· Maui Brennan, who recently graduated from the University of Canterbury with a B Comm majoring in Economics, winning a number of first-in-class prizes during his studies. He has interned at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, works as a piano teacher and tour guide for Ko Tāne Māori Tourism in Christchurch, and is extensively involved with his iwi, Ngāi Tahu. Scholarship funding will enable Maui to undertake an MSc in Economic and Social Sciences a Bocconi University in Milan, analysing the effects of fiscal or monetary policy on Māori compared to non-Māori in New Zealand to see whether cultural values held by both groups could influence the difference in socioeconomic outcomes from those policies.

· Benjamin Davies, who graduated from the University of Canterbury with a BSc(Hons) in Economics and Mathematics, winning prizes in both subjects during his study. He currently works as a research analyst at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. Benjamin plans to pursue a PhD in Economics at Stanford University, with the eventual aim of informing NZ science and innovation policy.

· Robbie Morrison, who graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Information Systems. After graduating, he took an internship in the US Congress working on law reform. He then worked as a Judges’ Clerk in the High Court for two years and now works as a litigator at a leading Auckland law firm. Robbie has lectured a first year law paper and volunteers in a variety of projects. He will be doing a Master of Laws in the US, focusing on the intersection between Law and Information Technology, and particularly on the application of artificial intelligence to the legal system.

· Thorne Snow, who completed a BA in English and New Media Studies at AUT, and was awarded a Dean’s Prize for Excellence. He is currently working with the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, as well as volunteering with the Healing Through Arts trust. Thorne plans to complete a Master of Creative writing at AUT, using the background of his difficult life experiences to create a memoir—What it Means to be a Cockroach—that will help teach and model resilience.

· Nadia Schroeder, who completed a conjoint Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Auckland, topping the Dean’s Honours List in both disciplines in consecutive years. Nadia is also a programme director with CivX, a charitable civic education programme that delivers non-partisan political education. Her scholarship funds will go towards study at Cambridge University in the UK, where she plans to complete an MPhil in Politics and International Studies researching if capability theory can provide a new approach to environmental politics and policymaking.

  • Shannon Taylor, who is completing a Master’s in Science (Genetics) at the University of Otago, having previously completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons). During this time, Shannon has worked in the Laboratory for Evolution and Development at the university. She plans to study towards a DPhil in Zoology at Oxford University.

Professor Peter Whiteford, Chair of Universities New Zealand’s Scholarship Committee who also chaired this Selection Panel, congratulated the successful scholars saying they will make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s development.

Universities New Zealand administers this scholarship in addition to 40 other undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships each year. Applications for the 2021 William Georgetti Scholarships close on 1 February 2021.

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