Ten prestigious Fulbright Scholarships for The University of Auckland

13 July 2011

Seven graduates and three academics from The University of Auckland have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships for 2011, with two of the successful graduates coming from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Engineering and science graduate Jeffrey Hawke, arts and commerce graduate Simon Ngawhika, and Karishma Sharma, an engineering graduate and current commerce student, were awarded Fulbright-Ministry of Science and Innovation Graduate Awards. The scholarships, worth more than US$25,000 each, are awarded to promising New Zealand graduate students to undertake postgraduate study or research at US institutions in fields which support growth and innovation in New Zealand.

Law graduate Jennifer Devlin, medical graduates Divya Dhar and Alexandra Greig, and Ghazaleh Golbakhsh, an arts graduate who is currently completing a masters at Auckland, were awarded Fulbright New Zealand General Graduate Awards. The scholarships, worth more than US$25,000 each, are awarded to promising New Zealand graduate students to undertake postgraduate study or research at US institutions in any field.

Chellie Spiller, a lecturer in management and international business at the Business School, and Yvonne Underhill-Sem, Director of the University’s Centre for Development Studies, are recipients of the Fulbright New Zealand Senior Scholar Awards. Only a small number of these awards, valued at US$32,500 (plus travel expenses and insurance) are offered each year.Chellie will research indigenous business models for creating relational wellbeing in addition to wealth, at Harvard University and the University of Arizona in Tucson. Yvonne will research the potential of feminist population geography theories to address maternal mortality, at the City University of New York.

Carmel Williams, a Research Fellow from the University’s Centre for Development Studies, was earlier this year awarded a Fulbright Travel Award. The award allows the recipient to visit the United States for up to three months to present their work to American audiences. In June, Carmel left for Boston and New York, regarded as centres of health human rights work in the US, to present her research in health rights and programme design at the FXB Centre for Health and Human Rights in the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.

About the graduates:

Fulbright-Ministry of Science and Innovation Graduate Awards:

  • Jeffrey Hawke will complete a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, specialising in mechatronics engineering for control of autonomous vehicles and robots, at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Jeffrey graduated with a BE (Hons) and a BSc from Auckland in 2010.
  • Simon Ngawhika (Te Arawa), who graduated with a BA (Hons) and a BCom from Auckland in 2007, will complete a Master of Business Administration degree, specialising in distributive issues within the agricultural food production system, at Portland State University in Portland Oregon.
  • Karishma Sharma, a current commerce student, will complete a Master of Business Administration degree, specialising in strategy, general management and finance, at the University of Chicago. She graduated with a BE (Hons) from The University of Auckland in 2008 and is currently completing a PGDipCom at Auckland.

Fulbright New Zealand General Graduate Awards:

  • Jennifer Devlin, will complete a Master of Laws degree in financial regulation, at Harvard. She graduated with a LLB (Hons) from Auckland in 2009.
  • Divya Dhar , who graduated with a MBChB from Auckland in 2009, will complete a Master of Public Policy degree in pharmaceutical policy at Harvard University. She will specialise in policies to promote research and development of pharmaceutical products for neglected diseases. Divya also received the Robin W. and Avril Flockton Winks Award. This award, valued at $US 1,500, provides one Fulbright graduate student in humanities and/or social sciences with further assistance towards research costs and book purchases. Divya’s interest veered toward public policy after an experience as Vice President of the New Zealand Student’s Medical Association in her fourth year; “We wrote a policy to encourage young doctors to stay in New Zealand by having part of their loan reimbursed. That policy was adopted by the Government. It really motivated me. I thought, ‘if we can do these kinds of things imagine what kind of New Zealand we can create’.” “Ultimately I want to impact global health. I am a huge advocate for poverty eradication and I want to see in my generation zero people living in extreme poverty in the world. A huge part of that is improving economic factors.”
  • Ghazaleh Golbakhsh, a current masters student, will compete a Master of Fine Arts degree in film production, specialising in directing, at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She obtained a BA (Hons) from Auckland in 2010.
  • Alexandra Greig , who graduated with a BHB in 2004 and an MBChB in 2007 from Auckland, will complete a Master of Public Health degree in health care management and policy at Harvard University. She will specialise in health policy development and analysis for patients with disabilities. Alexandra explains that during her student Pacific-based elective she noted how relative isolation and lack of resources on affected individuals and communities, particularly the chronically ill and disabled, and she recognised the need for more cohesive planning for health services. Furthermore her experience, as a doctor and as a Registrar in rehabilitation medicine, shed light on how a framework of policies (and the systems and care pathways they generate) could impact patients experience, journey and outcomes has influenced her direction. “While in the States I want to build greater skill in political and economic analysis so that I can help design policies which will impact health disparities through preventative and health promotion strategies.  In particular I am interested in policy as it affects patients with limitations in function due to chronic disease and disability,” says Alexandra.