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Revealed: The best of the Fulbright crop

Revealed: The best of the Fulbright crop

Hon Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs and an Honorary Chairperson of Fulbright New Zealand, addresses the 2011 Fulbright New Zealand Awards CeremonyThe recipients of this year’s Fulbright New Zealand Graduate Awards have just been revealed, and they include students in fields as diverse as mechatronics engineering, infectious disease epidemiology, indigenous law, pharmaceutical policy and operatic directing.

That means the 22 worthy individuals will be off shortly to undertake research or post-grad study in the US, having met the benchmark for “academic excellence, leadership potential and ambassadorial qualities”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, made the announcement at the annual Fulbright ceremony at Parliament this week.

“We look forward to seeing the results of your work in encouraging innovation and creativity, and building on the rich diversity between our societies.”

Fulbright NZ was established in 1948 and offers a range of more than 70 awards each year for graduate students, academics, artists and professionals to study, research and teach in each other’s countries.

The Hon David Huebner, US ambassador to New Zealand, says he and programme founder J. William Fulbright share the belief that people-to-people exchanges are the best forms of diplomacy.

“The best way of building mutual respect and understanding is to send people abroad to form their own conclusions, and that if we just put enough smart, open-minded young people together the world would become a better place.”

As you might expect, the bar is set high; eight of the 2011 recipients have been accepted at Harvard—the most popular university of choice for this year’s students.

The list:

  • * Nicholas Fancourt (Auckland), will complete a PhD in Public Health at Johns Hopkins
  • * Sara Burgess (Palmerston North) will research the link between endospore production and biofilm formation by thermophilic bacilli at Harvard
  • * Jeffrey Hawke (Auckland) will complete a Master of Science specialising in mechatronics engineering for control of autonomous vehicles and robots at Georgia Institute of Technology
  • * Kate Holland (Palmerston North) will complete a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology, specialising in infectious disease epidemiology, at the University of Arizona
  • * Eryn Newman (Wellington) will research cognitive mechanisms driving human memory distortions and biases in decision making at the University of California, Irvine
  • * Simon Ngawhika (Wellington) will complete an MBA specialising in distributive issues within the agricultural food production system at Portland State University
  • * William Perry (Christchurch) will complete a Master of Public Health specialising in policy development for surgical safety and quality improvement,at Harvard
  • * Karishma Sharma (Auckland) will complete an MBA specialising in strategy, general management and finance at the University of Chicago
  • * Julia Talbot-Jones (Christchurch) will complete a Master of Arts in Environmental Economics, specialising in valuing water resources, at the University of California, Santa Barbara
  • * Claire Whelen (Wellington) will complete a Master of Science in Health Policy and Management, specialising in the use of data to assist decision-making and improve healthcare quality, at Harvard
  • * Laura Woods (Auckland) will complete a PhD in Organic Chemistry, specialising in natural synthesis of biologically-active compounds for medicinal use, at the University of Notre Dame
  • * Xiaowen Yu (Wellington) will complete a PhD in Neuroscience, specialising in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, at Northwestern University
  • * Natalie Coates (Whakatane) will complete a Master of Laws in Human Rights and Indigenous Law at Harvard
  • * Tessa Bromwich (Wellington) will complete a Master of Laws degree in Tort Law and Constitutional Law at New York University
  • * Jennifer Devlin (Wellington) will complete a Master of Laws in Financial Regulation at Harvard
  • * Divya Dhar (Auckland) will complete a Master of Public Policy specialising in policies to promote research and development of pharmaceutical products for neglected diseases at Harvard
  • * Rachel Fairhurst (Dunedin) will complete a Master of Arts in Peace Studies, specialising in peace building, development and human rights, at the University of Notre Dame
  • * Ghazaleh Golbakhsh (Auckland) will complete a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles
  • * Alexandra Greig (Auckland) will complete a Master of Public Health specialising in health policy development and analysis for patients with disabilities, at Harvard
  • * Frances Moore (Auckland) will complete an Artist Diploma in Operatic Directing specialising in the impact of cinematic technologies at the University of Cincinnati
  • * Alexis Rider (Wellington) will complete a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, specialising in the role of narrative in refugee resettlement policy, at the New School in New York
  • * Rosemary Wyber (Wellington) will complete a Master of Public Health specialising in factors associated with the success of rheumatic heart disease control programmes at Harvard

Also recognised during Wednesday’s ceremony were 39 recipients of various Scholar Awards for more advanced academics, artists and professionals, and five participants in NZ-US exchange fellowship programmes.

To date, more than 1,400 New Zealanders and 1,100 Americans have benefited from a Fulbright award. The programme is mainly funded by the US and New Zealand governments with additional funding from award sponsors, private philanthropists and alumni donors.

And that, in turn, means application deadlines for the next round of grants close soon. See fulbright.org.nz for more details.