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Make way for vibrant Victoria graduates

12 May 2008

Make way for thousands of vibrant Victoria graduates

More than 1960 new graduates of Victoria University will procession through inner-city Wellington over three days of graduation ceremonies from Wednesday this week.

A blend of 700-year-old tradition, pageantry and spontaneous celebration, the ceremonies mark an education milestone and a cause for celebration for Victoria students and thousands of family members and friends who join them at the Michael Fowler Centre and in the streets for the graduation procession.

The new graduates will become members of the University's alumni community, as have the 1000 other students who have graduated in absentia so far this year—with their doctorates, degrees, diplomas and certificates conferred upon them by the University Council.

Highlights of the ceremonies include the graduation of 20 PhD students, and on Friday 16 May Victoria University will confer two honorary doctorates on political journalist Colin James and distinguished linguist Professor Bernard Spolsky.

The traditional street procession of graduands and staff will depart from the Government Buildings Historic Reserve on Wednesday and Thursday at noon, parading along Lambton Quay and Willis and Mercer Streets to finish in Civic Square where Mayor Kerry Prendergast will welcome them.

If the parade is cancelled, notification will be given on Newstalk ZB from 11am on the morning of the parade.

Ceremony details:

Wednesday 14 May
Noon graduation parade
Ceremony 1: 1.30pm Faculties of: Architecture & Design; Science
Ceremony 2: 6.00pm Faculty of Education

Thursday 15 May
Noon graduation parade
Ceremony 3: 1.30pm Faculties of: Commerce & Administration; Law
Ceremony 4 6.00pm Faculty of Commerce & Administration

Friday 16 May
Ceremony 5 1.30pm Faculties of: Humanities & Social Sciences; Toihuarewa
Ceremony 6 6.00pm Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences; NZ School of Music

A selection of topical PhD research abstracts are as follows:

Ecstasy (MDMA) addiction

Evangelene Daniela: The use of illegal psychostimulants—such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA—has increased in New Zealand and globally over the past two decades. Evangelene Daniela aimed to determine if MDMA shared similar behavioural and neurochemical properties as other psychostimulants. Her results indicated that MDMA produced similar behavioural characteristics as other psychostimulants. This information is a novel contribution to scientific literature, as the behavioural effects of MDMA have not previously been characterised. The data produced by this lab was one of the first in the world to demonstrate that MDMA may have an abuse potential.

The minds of young male offenders
Shirley Grace: Shirley Grace studied young men’s understanding of the sexual and general violence they had committed. Her findings contradicted dominant explanations of youth violence, which can position offenders as ‘abnormal’. Participants in Shirley’s study embraced the rationality of ‘manliness’, in which being violent was a means to ‘get it right as a man’. Paradoxically, their sexual violence was viewed as also being irrational instead of manly. Therefore, participants were unable to explain why they were sexually violent. Shirley suggested that in developing theories about youth violence, attention must be given to how notions of manhood influence the development of violence.

Improving the abundance of a seafood delicacy
Phil James: Good quality sea-urchin roe is a seafood delicacy. However, in New Zealand, many sea urchins are uneconomic to harvest because they have very low roe content. Roe is the reproductive organ of sea-urchins and the only edible part of the animal. Phil James identified optimal holding systems and environmental conditions for improving the quantity and quality of sea-urchin roe. He suggested seawater temperature and water movement were the most critical factors. His results will assist the development of a sea-urchin roe enhancement industry, make better use of wild sea-urchin resources and help meet increasing worldwide demand for high-quality sea-urchin roe.

Immune protection against TB:
Kylie Quinn: Tuberculosis (TB) kills 1.8 million people every year, and the current vaccine against it is only partially effective. Kylie Quinn’s hypothesis was that Tregs (T regulatory cells) could suppress the immune system’s response induced by vaccination, decreasing the vaccine’s efficacy. To explore this, Kylie inactivated Tregs prior to vaccination against TB. She found that protection against TB was not enhanced by this inactivation, despite increases in the type of immune response that dogma suggests should be protective. Kylie proposed a new model for immune protection against TB, which will assist the development of an effective TB vaccine.


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