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Top Woolf Fisher Scholars Off To Cambridge

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

28 OCTOBER 2008 - The best of New Zealand's university students receive prestigious scholarships to Cambridge and Oxford

A stellar performance in physics, civil engineering and classical studies has paved the way for three of New Zealand's top scholars to Cambridge University as recipients of the prestigious Woolf Fisher Scholarships for 2009. The scholarships are among the most valuable awarded in New Zealand and are each worth up to $100,000 annually for three years of study, equating to a total contribution of $900,000 over three years.

Jennifer Haskell from the University of Canterbury, Andrew Haines from the University of Otago and James McNamara from Victoria University of Wellington have all chosen to study at Cambridge University thanks to the scholarships granted by the Woolf Fisher Trust, a New Zealand-based organisation that has been recognising and rewarding excellence in education for almost fifty years. The scholars will each receive full payment of their University and College fees, an allowance of $35,000 a year, and an annual London-New Zealand return airfare.

Jennifer Haskell will be working towards a PhD at the University of Cambridge under Dr Gopal Madabhushi a world-leading lecturer in geotechnical science. Her research will focus on seismic design of foundations and will use the Cambridge's geotechnical centrifuge, a sophisticated model that can simulate the impact of earthquakes on soil. An athlete and a scientist, Jennifer has represented New Zealand in both ice and inline (roller) hockey and hopes to play for the Cambridge Women's ice hockey team.

Andrew Haines hopes to study with Professor Jeremy Baumberg in Cambridge's nanophotonics group that studies the behaviour of light on the nanometre scale. He will be working towards a doctorate of philosophy at Cambridge, investigating the assembly of metamaterials. This research has immediate relevance in fields such as telecommunications, but also may be applied to a wide variety of technologies.

James McNamara will be working towards a PhD in Classics at Cambridge, researching the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus. He is looking to expand on an earlier project on the exploitation of fear as a command tool in the Roman Empire. James has already completed an MA in Classics with distinction at Victoria University of Wellington, having majored in Latin, Ancient Greek and German at undergraduate level.

The Secretary of the Woolf Fisher Trust, Dr Nigel Evans, says the calibre of applicants for the Woolf Fisher Scholarships continues to be outstanding.

"All of the short-listed applicants were outstanding honours students from our top Universities. The Woolf Fisher Scholars are rapidly gaining a formidable reputation at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and we know Jennifer, Andrew and James will continue to enhance this," he says.

While the scholars have first-class academic records, Dr Evans also highlighted the broader entry criteria for the Woolf Fisher Scholarships.

"Sir Woolf Fisher admired integrity, kindness, generosity, leadership and boldness of vision, along with exceptional zeal, keenness and capacity for work."

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