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Rhodes Scholars Elect For 2005

8 December 2004

Rhodes Scholars Elect For 2005

Richard Beal, Chelsea Payne and Silas Xu last night joined the illustrious list of New Zealand Rhodes Scholars following a selection meeting held at Government House in Wellington.

Tenable at Oxford University, Rhodes Scholarships constitute the pinnacle of achievement for university graduates wishing to pursue postgraduate study at one of the world’s leading universities. In this country, the awards are administered by the NZ Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.

Richard Beal is a University of Auckland engineering graduate who is described as an excellent, all-round, high achieving scholar with strong sporting interests, cultural and community involvement. A former dux of Rosehill College, he gained an A plus grade in a university calculus paper while still at secondary school, before achieving an outstanding bursary examination result.

At Auckland University, Richard won many scholarships and awards and spent a semester in 2003 at the University of California, Berkeley, as a result of one such achievement. Badminton is his sport, both as player and coach, and he has been a member of a Slazenger Cup-winning Counties Manukau team as well as being selected for the NZ Universities’ Mens Badminton Team. Richard’s cultural interests span acting, debating, public speaking and music.

He is a member of the Auckland University choir Campus Cantoris and completed several music courses as part of his studies at that institution. At Oxford, he intends undertaking a DPhil in the Department of Materials Science with a focus on sustainable technologies.

Chelsea Payne holds an LLB (Hons) and BA in politics and German from Victoria University of Wellington. A Lower Hutt resident, she was dux of Chilton St James School and spent time in both Japan and Germany as part of her secondary school language studies.

Chelsea’s academic achievements at Victoria included numerous awards such as the 2002 NZ Law Review Prize and a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship which enabled her to study for five months at the Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen in that country. Negotiation and witness examination are among her specialist legal skills and she has achieved international competition success in both fields.

The current president of the Victoria University Law Students’ Society, Chelsea’s work experience to date includes tertiary education policy analysis for the Ministry of Education and she is about to take up a role of judge’s clerk at the Supreme Court. Her interests include Amnesty International and debating, for which she holds two New Zealand Universities Blues Awards, having finished sixth in the World Schools Debating Championship in London in 1999.

Chelsea wants to use her Rhodes Scholarship to undertake a Bachelor of Civil Law, then MPhil in Law at Oxford, with a long-term ambition for a United Nations internship followed by a legal career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Sixiao Xu (Silas) is a Harvard graduate who is currently working for the OECD in Paris. Born in China, he is a permanent resident of this country and attended St Andrew’s College in Christchurch where he was dux. While at secondary school he represented New Zealand at the 32nd International Chemistry Olympiad in Denmark, winning the silver medal. At Harvard, Silas was on the Dean’s List for all four years of his studies as a student with an A grade point average. Fluent in English and Mandarin, he has also studied French at advanced level.

His extracurricular involvement at the renowned United States university included the Harvard in Asia Project (co-founder), Harvard Crimson (editorial board of America’s oldest student daily newspaper), Institute of Politics in the Kennedy School of Government (student liaison for the visit of then New Zealand Prime Minister Jenny Shipley) and the Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association (president). Silas’ sporting achievements centre on table tennis, as captain of the highly successful Harvard A team, and as a Canterbury provincial age group representative in this country.

At the OECD he is a research intern in the Economics Department’s structural policy analysis division. Silas aims to complete an MPhil in economics at Oxford with a thesis based on capital flow between advanced economies and developing nations. His goal is a public service career in New Zealand, starting at the Reserve Bank or Treasury.


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