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Kiwi engineering student to study at Duke University

Excellent all round kiwi engineering student to study at Duke University

An excellent all round engineering student from the University of Auckland, who wants to use his education and skills to give back to New Zealand, has been awarded a scholarship to study at prestigious Duke University in the United States.

Samuel Kelly, a University of Auckland Scholarship recipient and former head prefect of Rotorua’s John Paul College, has received a Robertson Scholarship worth $70,000 a year. It is funded by New York philanthropist Julian Robertson.

At Duke Samuel plans to do a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE). “The opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world is a dream come true. Studying in the US also has major benefits for my future career as I will be close to consulting firms such as the Boston Consulting Group whom I would love to work for.”

Samuel also wishes to pursue postgraduate qualifications in commerce and law.

He plans to eventually return to New Zealand to share his engineering and consulting experience. “I want to ultimately share my experience and time and give back to New Zealand.”

Samuel endorsed NCEA levels One to Three with Excellence and gained a scholarship in Physics. He, along with a friend, was also the Supreme Winner of the NIWA Bay of Plenty Science Fair for researching the effects of the Ohau Channel diversion on Lake Rotoiti.

His former Principal Patrick Walsh describes him as an ‘all round student’ excelling academically and on the sports field, demonstrating strong leadership skills, and making a significant contribution to his community. He kick-started the school’s involvement with a local primary school’s breakfast service, and began an initiative to get students volunteering at local charities such as the SPCA. Samuel has also tutored students and last year organised his school’s world record attempt.

On the sports field Samuel is an excellent cricket player and captained the John Paul College First XI and played for the Bay of Plenty Lakelands cricket team. He also enjoys swimming, soccer, water polo and golf.

The Robertson Programme was established by Julian Robertson and his late wife Josie in 2000 with a $US24 million gift.

Up to three Robertson Scholarships are offered in New Zealand annually, covering free tuition, board and a living allowance for up to four years. Selection is focused on leadership ability, along with academic achievement, commitment to community service, collaborative spirit, courage and an ethical outlook.

The Robertson Scholars Programme in New Zealand is administered by Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara. More information about the scholarship can be found at


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