Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Rhodes Scholarship to engineering student

The University of Auckland
Media Release
19 November 2009

Rhodes Scholarship to engineering student

Richard Stebbing, a University of Auckland engineering student with a passion for medical imaging, has been awarded an esteemed Rhodes Scholarship.

He was one of three chosen after interviews with shortlisted applicants in Government House in Auckland yesterday. The scholarships, held at Oxford University, have long been among the most prestigious for university graduates wanting to do further study abroad.

Richard, aged 20, is on track to complete a four-year Bachelor of Engineering honours degree in electrical and electronic engineering in three years, so far with straight A plus passes. He is described by his teachers as one of their most gifted students ever.

At Oxford Richard will embark on DPhil degree in biomedical engineering. He hopes to work with Oxford's Biomedical Image Analysis Group on such projects as image-guided therapy, analysing tissue elasticity for detecting cancers, and techniques for assessing the health of the heart.

"The aspect of image processing that interests me is developing methods for automatically detecting and classifying objects and materials in images. This area has extensive application in robotics, industrial automation and medical image analysis."

On completing his studies at Oxford he plans to return to New Zealand to continue his work on biomedical signal and image analysis in either academia or industry.

Richard's interest in the biomedical application of electronic systems stems, he says, largely from first-hand experience. "When I was playing inline and ice hockey I got hurt on multiple occasions and the doctors relied on medical imaging techniques to successfully diagnose my injuries. A lot of this happened at a young age and I was amazed that an X-ray machine had the power to 'see through' my skin. I really wanted to understand how it all worked.

Richard attended Northcote College where was head boy and dux. A violin player since the age of five he was leader of the school orchestra and its chamber group. In 2006 he won a bronze medal at the International Chemistry Olympiad held in South Korea. He represented Auckland in ice hockey in the under 16 national competition, and played tennis for Northcote College throughout high school.

He came to university with three scholarships: an NZEST Scholarship (awarded to only nine students nationwide in 2006 for exceptional academic achievement), an NZQA Outstanding Scholar award, and a University of Auckland Scholarship based on academic ability, extracurricular achievement and leadership potential.

This year he has been a Teaching Assistant for two electrical engineering papers, and he is secretary of the University's Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Student Branch.

At Oxford he is looking forward to visiting the Museum of History and Science. "There I will be able to see first-hand the work of the great mathematicians who have contributed hugely to electrical engineering and signal processing."

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Roddy Doyle's Grim and Gritty Rosie

Although it was completed over two years ago, Roddy Doyle's first original screenplay in over eighteen years has only just arrived in New Zealand. It's been well worth the wait. More>>

Howard Davis: Naming Names - The Personal History of David Copperfield

Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Armando Iannucci has re-imagined Charles Dickens’ tribute to grit and perseverance through the comedic lens of colour-blind casting, giving the narrative new life for a woke age. More>>




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland