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2024 William Georgetti Scholarship winners announced

06 June 2024 | media

Brilliant minds tackle world challenges – William Georgetti Scholarship winners announced

The diversity of research interests of this year’s Georgetti Scholarship winners is clear evidence of the abundance of impactful research coming out of New Zealand’s universities.

From building rockets to early detection of ovarian cancer, the nine winners of the 2024 Georgetti Scholarship are the embodiment of William Georgetti’s wish that “the best brains available shall receive the benefit of this trust.”

The Scholarship, now in its 81st year, is one of New Zealand’s most prestigious graduate awards, offering exceptional students the opportunity to pursue post-graduate study either in New Zealand or overseas.

Universities New Zealand’s Scholarships Chair Professor Duncan McGillivray said, “Every year I am struck by the caliber of candidates interviewed and this year was no different. I am delighted to see these nine young scholars being recognised for their innovative and essential research that will have long-term benefits for Aotearoa New Zealand’s social, cultural and economic development.”

The 2024 scholarship winners are:

Jennifer Berry,
aged 23, from Auckland, has a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons First Class) from the University of Canterbury, and recently graduated with a Masters in Space Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. The Georgetti Scholarship will support Jennifer to complete a PhD in Space Engineering also at Caltech where her area of further research is in Autonomous Space Systems.

Kate Hooper, aged 46, from Napier, has a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science (Hons First Class), both from the University of Waikato. The Georgetti Scholarship will help support Kate to complete a PhD in Environmental Planning at the University of Waikato investigating how collaboration with descendant communities and mātauranga Māori can improve heritage, resource, and emergency management to manage and protect cultural landscapes in the face of climate change.

Stella Ivory,
aged 28, from Wellington, has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Cultural Anthropology from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. The Georgetti Scholarship will support Stella to begin an Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies (GEMMA). Stella’s background is in human rights and social policy and her research focus is investigating how Crown policy and (Pākehā) Rainbow community initiatives can better meet the needs of all Rainbow communities by upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Sonesavanh Larnkham, aged 24, from Wellington, has a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and a Master of Clinical Immunology (with Distinction) from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington and recently began her PhD, also at Te Herenga Waka. With support from funds from the Georgetti Scholarship, Sonesavanh’s research will investigate developing screening tools that can be used for the purpose of detecting early-stage ovarian cancer.

Maddy Nash, aged 28, from Lower Hutt, has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University and, following study on international exchange, a Bachelor of Commerce. As well as the Georgetti Scholarship, Maddy is also the recipient of the Ethel Benjamin Scholarship and the Knox Fellowship and will undertake her post-graduate studies at Harvard Law School. Her primary areas of interest are competition law, financial markets law, consumer law and white-collar crime.

Juliette Phillipson, aged 27, from Christchurch, graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery (with Distinction) from the University of Otago. The funds from the Georgetti Scholarship will support Juliette to undertake a Master of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Juliette’s areas of interest include health equity and reducing cultural health disparity in New Zealand.

Jean-Louise Roberts, aged 26, from Christchurch, has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Master of Pest Management (with Distinction) from Lincoln University. With funding support from the Georgetti Scholarship, Jean-Louise will undertake a PhD in Pest Management and Conservation at Lincoln University, focusing on evaluating the stages of landscape scale eradication of brushtail possums across Aotearoa.

Crissy Sanders, aged 21, from Auckland, has a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Public Health from the University of Otago and will use the funding from her Georgetti scholarship to support a Masters of Science in Public Health for Development at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her research focus will be on the vaping experiences of young people and the adoption of effective health policy.

Hannah Yang, aged 28, graduated with a joint Bachelor of Arts and Laws (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 2019. Alongside a Georgetti Scholarship, Hannah has also been awarded an Ethel Benjamin Scholarship and a Knox Fellowship and will be attending Harvard Law School. Her research will consider the bases for legislative and judicial authority, how New Zealand’s unique history affects those justifications, and what this means for how the Treaty ought to be incorporated in New Zealand law.


For more information about the William Georgetti Scholarship and the other scholarships and awards UNZ administers, go to UNZ’s website.

Applications for next years’ William Georgetti Scholarship open on 1 October 2024 and close on 1 February 2025.

For more information about this year’s recipients or to arrange an interview, contact or +64 27 636 5050.