General news

27 November 2019

Summer scholars start their science-led research projects at Cawthron Institute

Cawthron Institute has welcomed the 2019 Cawthron Foundation Scholarship recipients this week as they commence their highly-sought after ten week placements over summer.

Fern Kumeroa, Mena Welford, and Kevin Tang will work on specific research projects and will be mentored by top Cawthron scientists.

Fern Kumeroa (Ngāti Ruanui) received the Te Pītau Whakarei Karahipi scholarship, which is offered in partnership with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. She is currently studying at Massey University towards a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Zoology. Fern will contribute to a national register of sustainable land-use actions to improve water quality, which will assist land-owners and communities to adopt sustainable land use practices.

"I am extremely excited to get a first-hand experience of what a career in science looks like,” says Fern. “This experience will increase my understanding of how we can improve our water quality, which is of the upmost importance to our flora and fauna. I look forward to contributing a Te Ao Māori point of view and my knowledge of the sciences to this project."

Mena Welford received the Kathleen Curtis scholarship. This year she completed an undergraduate degree in Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Auckland. Mena’s project will evaluate the response of different species of shellfish to aerial exposure under controlled experimental conditions in order to understand the effects of the commercial transportation of live individuals out of the water.

“Marine science has captivated my attention and especially the remarkable dependence of life on our oceans. I want to use my understanding of biology and relate it to industry,” says Mena. “With an interest in understanding adaptive mechanisms and response of organisms to certain environments, the prospect of hands on experience has me incredibly excited.”

Kevin Tang received the Theodore Rigg scholarship. Kevin has completed three years of a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree at the University of Auckland. While at Cawthron, he will contribute to the enabling open ocean aquaculture project. Kevin will be designing and developing electronic equipment to be used to record conditions and changes in open ocean environments.

"I want to apply my research and academic knowledge to real world applications that can be used to improve New Zealand practices,” says Kevin. “Being at Cawthron for ten weeks will give me important exposure to aquaculture and the engineering world and I am very honoured to have this opportunity.”

The three scholarships are supported by individual donations and grant funding, and donations are now being invited for the 2020-2021 scholarships.