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IPENZ: Engineering over medicine to help people


Engineering over medicine to help people says IPENZ Waikato scholarship winner

Paula van Rhyn left school last year with the expressed desire to use her career to help people and improve the world; however, instead of following in her fathers’ footsteps and becoming a doctor, she took a less traveled road for women in her family and opted for an engineering degree. This week it paid off as she will be awarded the inaugural Institution of Professional Engineers, New Zealand (IPENZ) Waikato/BoP-Branch Scholarship.


Paula van Rhyn, with (left) Associate Professor Conan Fee, FIPENZ, Chairperson of the Materials and Process Engineering Department (and shaking hands with Paula on right) Professor Thomas Neitzert, Member of the local IPENZ branch committee. He is also Associate Dean of Engineering at The University of Waikato.

“Engineering will give me more scope to actually make a difference, as opposed to being constrained by the structure of the medical establishment. Professional Engineers can use their skills and knowledge to improve the quality of life enormously,” said Paula.

Paula is now in her first year as a Bachelor of Engineering student at The University of Waikato, specializing in Biochemistry. The scholarship of $1,000, created to encourage school leavers to consider a career in professional engineering, will be used to offset her tuition fees.

When awarding the scholarship Professor Thomas Neitzert, Associate Dean of Engineering at The University of Waikato, said Paula was part of the new wave of female students who were top of their secondary school and entered university opting for degrees in engineering, rather than law or accountancy.

"Paula is a top student, and has a high level of involvement with the community, and excellent communication skills. These talents will assist her in an engineering career.”

“An engineering degree is a good stepping stone into management roles. We have our own Professor Roy Crawford recently named as the next Vice-Chancellor of Waikato University who is a professional mechanical engineer, “said Professor Thomas Neitzert.
Already Paula has a raft of awards gaining the joint Proxime Accessit (runner-up to dux) at Waikato Diocesan School for Girls in 2003, and was a "New Zealand Herald Top Scholar" in 2002.

From next year two scholarships will be awarded annually - one through The University of Waikato, and the other through Wintec. Students wishing to apply for the scholarship should discuss with engineering staff at either institution.

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