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Otago University student named Eureka! award winner

Otago University student named Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards premier award winner.

Third year neuroscience student, Sam Hall-McMaster, has taken out the third Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka!Awards, held in Wellington on Friday. Sam, a student at the University of Otago, delivered a twelve minute presentation about how nanoparticles could solve some of New Zealand’s health and environmental issues.

Sam is in his third year of a Bachelor of Neuroscience at Otago University, and recently returned from spending a semester at the University of California, Berkley. In addition to the Sir Paul Callaghan trophy, Sam receives $5000. Sam was also the recipient of a scholarship provided by The McDiarmid Institue, which was awarded to ‘the student who presented the most creative and innovative solutions based on advanced materials and nanotechnology to address the critical issues of climate change and/or the delivery of green and sustainable growth for New Zealand.”

Three highly commended awards, worth $2500 each, were also presented to the runners up:
Siska Falconer, a year 13 Waikato student who delivered a presentation on superbugs and responsible antibiotic use and education.
Shalini Guleria, a third year Waikato University engineering student whose presentation addressed the use of natural killer cells and reovirus as a possible cancer cure.
And Jack Wynne, a year 13 St Patricks College Wellington student, who spoke about quantum computing and its benefits for a wide array of New Zealand industries. Jack was also the recipient of the Beca Silver Scholarship, awarded to ‘the student whose presentation most clearly provides a creative and innovative engineering solution to address issues of economic, societal and environmental value for New Zealand.

2014 marked the first year that Eureka! was able to provide scholarships to students who presented ideas that best matched a set of criteria. As well as the McDiarmid Institute and Beca Silver Scholarships, Rachael Wiltshire of Auckland University was the recipient of the Contact Energy Gold Scholarship, and Grant McNaughton, a student at Logan Park High School, received the Treasury Gold Scholarship.

“All national finalists receive a $1000 merit award, to signify their success in reaching the national final, after being selected from a pool of highly talented contenders’ says national convenor Francis Wevers.

The 2014 Eureka! national finalists were all judged by a panel of scientists and businesspeople, consisting of Russ Ballard, Dr. Stephen Goldson, Catherine Beard, Neville Jordan, and Kim Hill.

The Eureka! Sir Paul Callaghan Awards were set up in Sir Paul Callaghan’s name shortly after his passing and serve to provide a platform for young scientists and engineers to share their ideas that have societal, economic and environmental benefit for New Zealand.


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