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


Beca scholarship recipient builds "recycled" wheelchair

Engineering a better future

“There is nothing I believe more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.” – Bill Nye (science educator, former mechanical engineer)

Ara student Rebecca Jones lives and breathes this quote. For her, becoming a mechanical engineer means making a difference in other people’s lives and helping them to ‘become the best they can be’.

Last night (15 May) her passion to make the world better through engineering landed her the Beca scholarship of $2,500.

Jones, whose goal it is to get into the prosthetics field after graduating, says the scholarship will help her spend more time working on large projects in her final year of studying instead of working in her part time job.

“This scholarship will help me achieve my goal to become a qualified mechanical engineer and when I head out to the workforce, I can give back to others through what I’ve learnt and achieved while studying.

“I am very passionate about what I do and my love for engineering has grown over time. I really enjoy helping others.

“I want to make a difference to people in their lives with innovative new designs and there is a wide range of opportunity within the field,” says Jones.

For her final year project Jones decided to build a wheelchair out of items that are readily available in developing countries. She was inspired to help after seeing the inaccessibility to wheelchairs during a trip to India.

“We saw so many people in the streets outside hospitals and they didn’t have anything they could use to get around. At the same time there was so much rubbish around, so many different materials and I thought maybe I could build something out of that which could help people.”

This project was part of what impressed the selection committee at Beca about Jones.

Richard Jenkins, Principal - Civil Engineering at Beca, presented the award and says he was impressed with Rebecca’s enthusiasm and commitment to her chosen career path.

“It’s always great to meet people who are passionate about what they do and study, and Rebecca was no exception.

“What made her passion for engineering stand out more were her efforts to make life better for her friends, family and the community.

“She’s an example to her peers, proactively engaging in various activities to better herself and learn more. I hope winning this scholarship encourages her to aim for greater heights as she progresses with her studies and career.”

Jones says she chose to do the Bachelor degree as a stepping stone and has high aspirations for her future.

“Once I finish my study, I want to peruse my dreams of becoming a design and manufacture
engineer for new innovative products. I want to design health care products such as prosthetics, implants, health care products for elderly and wheelchairs. This has been my dream for a very long time.”

The Beca scholarship was awarded for the third time in an awards ceremony at Ara’s Kahakura building.

Ara Institute of Canterbury and Beca have an ongoing relationship through Beca’s active membership of the Employer Programme Advisory Campaign (EPAC). This cooperation enables Ara to receive advice on industry needs and requirements from Beca, feedback on courses and the ability to offer students access to industry events or site visits.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Dazed & Confused by Beats

Beats is both a coming-of-age tale and a romantic movie about endings, set to a nostalgic backdrop of the disappearing tail of the UK's illegal rave scene. More>>

Howard Davis: And The Oscar Goes To … Parasite
For its deliciously dark wit and genre-bending ingenuity, Bong Joon-ho's latest movie has just won four out of a potential six Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay and Director. Only ten foreign-language films have previously been nominated for Best Picture and none have won before. More>>

Howard Davis: 1917's 1,000 Yard Stare

Sam Mendes has created a terrible and barbarous trek, one that we appreciate all the more for being catapulted right into the midst of this ear-splitting melee from the film's opening sequence. More>>

National Voyage Continues: Tuia 250 Ends

Tuia 250 has unleashed an unstoppable desire to keep moving forward and continue the kōrero about who we are, say the co-chairs of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee, Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. More>>


Over 150 Productions: NZ Fringe 2020 Has Launched

The upcoming festival will be held at 40 venues all over Wellington Region from 28 February to 21 March, and includes every genre possible—theatre, comedy, dance, music, clowning, cabaret, visual art, children’s shows and more! More>>





  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland