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Outstanding Christchurch student wins Myers scholarship

29 March 2019

Outstanding Christchurch student wins Myers scholarship to Cambridge

William Wynn Thomas, Dux of Christchurch’s Christ’s College last year, has been awarded theprestigious Sir Douglas Myers scholarship to study at Cambridge University in England.

Seventeen-year-old Wills plans to study for the Mathematical Tripos course at Cambridge, furthering his passion for mathematics and science.

“My passion for mathematics and science has permeated my life both inside and outside school,” he says. “In the academic realm, I aspire to be part of the effort to unify quantum physics and relativity, which would constitute a scientific revolution of the greatest magnitude. Furthermore, through my own research, I believe I can help place New Zealand on the academic map and foster its growth as a global hub of excellence.”

As well as a strong background in science and maths (achieving Scholarship in six subjects, including calculus, physics, biology, chemistry and statistics), Wills was an enthusiastic and skilled participant in both the artistic and sporting life of the school. He was head of the auditioned choir (Schola Cantorum) and of the school orchestra, a keen football player and captain of the school team, co-founder of school student journal, and founded and captained the school’s eSports League of Legends team.

Debating and leadership were also a strong part of his school life; Wills represented Canterbury in debating, winning awards in 2017 and 2018. These are just two of the many awards and prizes Wills received during his time at school, including awards for citizenship and service.

Wills is keen to inspire other young people with a love for science. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my mathematical and scientific education, but it saddens me to see that many students cannot say the same,” he says. “I believe that students are repelled from science because, in many cases, it is taught in an unapproachable manner with a curriculum that often lacks the ability to engage young minds.

“New Zealand needs to work on its education system if this is to improve…Whether through returning to New Zealand with the experience required to advise on curriculum changes or by publicly promoting science and demonstrating its endless capacity to fascinate, inspire and enrich…I would like to make this improvement happen.”

The late Sir Douglas Myers set up this scholarship 18 years ago for academically gifted students intending to return to New Zealand to become leaders in their chosen fields.

John Taylor, Chair of the Myers Scholarship Selection Committee, says “Sir Douglas was a significant supporter of education, business, sport and the arts, and this scholarship continues his outstanding legacy of creating opportunities to encourage young New Zealanders to succeed in global competition.”

Sir Douglas, a well-known businessman and former leader in the brewing industry, graduated with a BA in History from Gonville and Caius College. He was a significant supporter of education, business, sport and the arts, and this scholarship continues his outstanding legacy of finding ways to create opportunities to encourage young New Zealanders to succeed in global competition.

The scholarship provides tuition and college fees and a living allowance and is worth approximately £34,000 or NZ$60,000 per annum.

Universities New Zealand, formerly the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, administers this scholarship in addition to around 40 other undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships.

Applications for the 2020 Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship close on 1 December 2019.


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