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Top Doctoral Scholars Named

Media release
6 August 2008

Top Doctoral Scholars Named

Ten University of Auckland students are among the 32 Top Achiever Doctoral Scholars announced today.

The scholarships, each worth up to nearly $100,000 over three years and administered by the Tertiary Education Commission, are awarded to New Zealand's brightest scholars engaged in doctoral research. They receive an annual stipend towards their PhD study as well as course fees and conference funding.

The ten University of Auckland students were awarded nearly $950,000 of just over $3 million allocated nationwide.

Thesis topics being investigated by them include the use of video games to make children more physically active; developing flax-reinforced earth housing which is both sustainable and affordable for rural Maori; helping patients with heart failure to better understand and manage their illness through computer-based imagery; and computerised self-help for depressed adolescents who are outside mainstream schooling.

"This round of scholarship recipients represent a rich variety of disciplines," said Tertiary Education Minister, Pete Hodgson. "While some research will contribute directly to innovation, other topics will help us to gain important insights into our society and culture, giving us a deeper understanding of the way we live."

Twenty-six of the 74 Top Achiever Doctoral Scholars named in this year's two rounds are from The University of Auckland.

"This result is testament to the calibre of our best postgraduate students and their research as they advance to doctoral study," says the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Jane Harding. "The scholarships are highly prized and we congratulate these prospective future leaders in their research fields."

The ten recipients and their topics are:

Dawn Booth (Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics) - The impact of the new TOEFL-iBT 2006 test format on teaching and learning in Korean TOEFL preparation courses.

John Cheah (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) - Development of an accessible low-cost Uku earth housing solution for rural Maori communities.

Jane Christie (Department of Spanish) - Interpreting contemporary gender politics in Chile and Argentina through critical discourse analysis.

Theresa Fleming (Department of Psychological Medicine) - Computer game based CBT intervention for adolescents with depression who are outside of mainstream schooling and have high health needs.

Louise Foley (School of Population Health) - Physical activity in New Zealand children: Measurement and intervention.

Justin Goh (School of Biological Sciences) - Genetic regulation of thermotolerant yeast for bioethanol fermentation.

Lana Jago (Department of Psychology) - Improving adherence in heart failure.

Anna Lorimer (Department of Chemistry) - Synthesis of Aigialospirol, a novel spiroacetal isolated from the marine fungus Aigialus parvis BCC 5311.

Susan Potter (Department of Film, Television and Media Studies) - An uncertain regard: Rereading silent cinema and modern sexuality.

Tsz Ying Yuen (Department of Chemistry) - Synthesis of paecilospirone: A lead structure for the synthesis of novel antimitotic agents.


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