Bright Birthday Girl Wins Scion Scholarship

8 December 2008

Rotorua secondary school student Tracey Bates will be celebrating her birthday on 6th December, with an extra special present courtesy of Crown Research Institute Scion.

The John Paul College graduate will not only be turning 18 this Saturday, but will also have a cheque in her hand for $2,000 towards the next stage in her science studies, and the guarantee of summer vacation work at Scion for the duration of her undergraduate degree.

Tracey has been awarded the 2008 Scion Suffrage Centennial Scholarship, an annual award to promote science as an attractive career option for women.

Tracey will be starting a conjoint Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree at Victoria University of Wellington in February 2009. She says winning the award means a lot to her.

“Not only is it offering guaranteed summer work throughout my tertiary education, but it is also offering the chance to gain skills and knowledge that I could not get anywhere else,” says Tracey.

“It means that I will be leaving university with a lot of experience that other graduates will not have. I am also really looking forward to the fact that the work is so different and interesting compared to the general summer student jobs. Also, with increasing concerns about the environment and our effect on it, I think the work that Scion and its scientists do has become increasingly important.”

Previous scholarship recipient Kerry Charles is also a former John Paul College graduate and currently at Victoria University of Wellington undertaking a conjoint BSc/BA. Kerry says she is fortunate to have had the opportunities the scholarship has offered.

“To have a job for the summer where you can keep thinking instead of switching off your brain is great,” says Kerry.

“Also, to be able to apply what you have learnt in a lecture theatre during the year to a real world situation is really valuable. The scholarship has given me the chance to work with, learn from and get to know some incredibly talented, knowledgeable and fun people. The interesting, challenging and enjoyable work I have experienced at Scion has only reinforced that science is what I want to do with my life.”

John Paul College Principal Patrick Walsh is delighted with Tracey’s award.

“Tracey has always been a top performing student, but she is also a very well rounded individual,” Mr Walsh says.

“As well as academic studies, she has excelled in areas such as sport and community work, and is an excellent role model. I am sure she would have succeeded in any tertiary studies she chose, so it is great that she has chosen to pursue science

“Science research is fundamental to the success of New Zealand’s economy. We are a small country and it is only through the work of our scientists that we can hope to compete in the global marketplace.”

Dr Christine Todoroki, Scion senior scientist and scholarship judge, says the calibre of every applicant was excellent this year, but that Tracey was outstanding.

“She has exceptional academic, sporting and community achievements, including gaining Scholarship English while in year 12, and being a water polo, swimming, cycling and track champion,” says Dr Todoroki.

“She is also clearly passionate about science, particularly biology and ecology, and has a strong desire to learn. She was the perfect fit to what we look for in a scholarship candidate.”