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Outstanding all-rounder heading to Cambridge University

Outstanding all-rounder heading to Cambridge University

27 March 2014

Shem Harris, a first-year University of Auckland student determined to have a positive impact on society, will study at Cambridge University after being awarded the prestigious Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship 2014.

The scholarship, valued at $100,000 over three years, will see him heading to Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University where he plans to do an engineering degree specialising in environmental engineering. He would like to follow this up with a postgraduate law degree.

“Environmental engineering aims to address the ramifications of human activities like pollution, large-scale construction and global warning, while studying law will enable me to work towards changing legislation and policy to be part of the solution to prevent these impacts.”

Shem believes that Cambridge will help to ‘open doors’ to fulfil his goal of contributing to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

“The opportunity to learn alongside other motivated students will allow me to gain inspiration, grow academically and broaden my worldview. I am both humbled and excited to receive this scholarship and recognise the inputs of many people whose contribution helped to make my dream a tangible reality."

Sir Douglas Myers, a Cambridge alumnus, set up the scholarship 14 years ago for academically gifted students intending to return to New Zealand to become leaders in their chosen fields. It covers tuition fees and a living allowance.

Shem, a former Horowhenua College student in Levin, has his eye firmly on the future with plans to work for a private engineering firm in New Zealand as well as gaining work experience in developing countries in areas such as water supply and sustainable development.

In his last year at Horowhenua College, Shem was the Dux Scholar for 2013 and was the top scholar in his year group for four years running. He was awarded five NCEA scholarships in Physics, Chemistry, English, Statistics and Geography. He is an outstanding football player who played at national youth level in both futsal and football, while also playing lawn bowls, basketball, squash and table tennis at interschool levels. He also coached the Under-15 football team and refereed at interschool tournaments.

As a Prefect, Sports Captain and a member of the Horowhenua Youth Council Shem was in charge of the Breakfast Club and in various committees while volunteering at community events such as Project K, Horowhenua’s Got Talent and Celebrating Youth Nua (CYN) projects.

Shem is a talented musician who has been a member of the Levin Junior Brass Band and played the tenor horn and cornet for the Levin Centennial Band, as well as the guitar.

He is now taking papers for a conjoint Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Laws at the University of Auckland pending his start at Cambridge in October.

Past Myers scholars are now working at a senior level in fields such as manufacturing, management consulting and project management, while others have progressed to doctoral study.

In New Zealand the scholarship programme is administered by Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara. The deadline for applications is 1 December. More information about the scholarship can be found at


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