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Orion Health Scholarships Awarded to Three UC Students

Orion Health Scholarships Awarded to Three UC Students

Three computer science students from the University of Canterbury (UC) have been awarded inaugural Orion Health Computer Science Scholarships which will see them gain valuable workplace experience while completing their degrees.

The Bachelor of Science students - Benjamin Ellis, Xiaoke Gong and Rory Varcoe - will each receive funding for course fees and will undertake two summer work integrated learning courses through internships at Orion Health.

The recipients were selected by a panel from the University and Orion Health based on academic merit, relevant work experience and community or volunteer work.

Orion Health is a global health software company and CEO Ian McCrae said the scholarships were a great fit for Orion Health as it builds on its other initiatives to try and increase interest in computer science as a valued career path.

The scholarships were established earlier this year in partnership with the University, encouraging students to pursue careers in information science by providing an opportunity to fast-track their studies.

The scholarships are open to full-time undergraduate students majoring in computer science at UC and Orion Health hopes to be able to increase the number of scholarships offered in the near future.

Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor of the College of Engineering, Professor Conan Fee, said it was "exciting to see opportunities such as this for our students to engage in health related information science".

"This brings together an area of significant strength in computer science and software engineering at UC with our growing capabilities in multi-disciplinary health sciences."

Ian McCrae said real life practical experience added a critical dimension for fledgling computer scientists and will be a key component of the scholarships.

"By working over the holidays students can reduce a four year degree to three years, and of course, most importantly to students, they get paid.

"At Orion Health, we are consistently curious about how we can do things better, how we can make the ultimate elegant piece of software that will revolutionise healthcare delivery and consumption. Part of that is engaging with people who have different perspectives.

"We employ people from all around the world throughout our global offices, but I am particularly passionate about growing great IT people and fostering innovation here in New Zealand."

Dr Chris Kirk, Director of Strategic Projects at UC, said the University is "delighted to be partners with Orion Health in this initiative".

"It's an excellent example of a university and a leading New Zealand company collaborating together to provide talented students with dedicated support as they study and gain practical hands-on experience in a dynamic industry setting."

Professor Tanja Mitrovic, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University, said the Orion Health scholarships provided opportunities that would give the three UC students an advantage over other graduates in the employment market.

"UC is committed to engaging with industry to increase opportunities for students to gain workplace experience while they are studying, and these scholarships are a result of that commitment.

"These scholarships not only give computer science students at UC a chance to work for a global organisation but also encourage others to consider information technology as a career."


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