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GWNZ Charitable Trust Awardees



The awards made by the GWNZ Charitable Trust are made possible through the generosity of GWNZ Members, both past and present. All donations are used to fund awards.

Susan Byrne Memorial Award
Harriette Jenkins Award


Each year, the GWNZ Charitable Trust offers a number of Fellowships for New Zealand women graduates to support their study at Masters or Doctoral level. The field of study or research is unrestricted and the Fellowships are tenable at any recognised university or polytechnical institute. For more information on Fellowships, or to apply for an award, follow this link:


2017 Fellows

Hannah Gibson awarded $20,000 – Victoria University, PhD


Hannah Gibson Hannah Gibson obtained a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology from Massey University, Palmerston North. Currently enrolled as a PhD Candidate with Victoria University of Wellington in Cultural Anthropology, she is researching surrogacy in a New Zealand context and in relation to people travelling overseas for assisted reproductive technology. Hannah is examining the personal experiences of intended parents and surrogates and how they navigate the medical, legal, and political processes and challenges.  She hopes to contribute to policy, ethical, and regulatory debates regarding surrogacy, as well as the broader topic of reproduction and parenthood in contemporary New Zealand. Mid-Term Report



Katherine Yates awarded $15,000 – University of Canterbury, PhD


katherine-picture Katherine is currently a PhD candidate in Engineering Geology in the Geological Sciences department at the University of Canterbury. Before pursuing a career in Engineering Geology, Katherine undertook a Civil Engineering apprenticeship where she worked full time in industry and studied part time. Upon completing her apprenticeship, Katherine completed a Master’s of Science in Engineering Geology with First Class Honours at the University of Canterbury. She then worked as an Engineering Geologist at Beca Ltd for several years before returning for further Postgraduate study. Her current research aims to improve the understanding of slope instability in windblown silt deposits (loess) in Banks Peninsula, Canterbury. Mid-Term Report, June 2017



Samantha Dudley awarded $10,000, University of Canterbury


 samantha-dudley Samantha’s research is focussed on estrogen mimicking compounds and their role as potential breast cancer risk factors. Breast cancer is the number one in New Zealand. Her principle aim is to investigate ways in which a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer could be reduced. Samantha is currently in her second year of her PhD at the University of Canterbury. She also holds a Bachelor of Science (2013) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Science (distinction, 2014) in biochemistry, both also from the University of Canterbury. Mid-Term Report



Holly McQuillan awarded $7500, Massey University & University of Borås, Sweden, PhD


 Holly McQuillan Holly McQuillan is design researcher who primarily works in the field of sustainable design practice. Holly is a leader the field of Zero Waste Fashion, curating and designing for exhibitions and the industry, and co-authoring ‘Zero Waste Fashion Design’, published in 2016 by Bloomsbury.

After completing her Master of Design at Massey University in 2005, Holly was a Senior Lecturer at Massey University School of Design until 2016, before leaving that position to undertake her PhD at the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås in Sweden. Mid-Term Report



Megan Schischka awarded $7500, University of Auckland


 meganschischkaphoto Megan is working towards a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, having graduated from Massey University with First Class Honours in Biological Sciences in 2015. As part of her PhD research, she is developing a novel system to study the organisation and dynamics of the ribosomal RNA gene repeats in human cells. She plans to use the system she develops to investigate if and how instability of the ribosomal RNA genes contributes to cancer and aging, and also to characterise the molecular basis of tumour cells’ sensitivity to an anti-cancer drug that inhibits transcription of ribosomal RNA. Mid-term report



Alice Osman awarded $7500, Harvard University, Masters of Law


 photo-alice-osman Alice Osman holds a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (Politics major) from the University of Otago. After graduating in 2013, Alice worked as a judges’ clerk at the Auckland High Court and as a junior barrister at Stout Street Chambers. Alice is the co-founder of the Public Interest Law Journal of New Zealand and a trustee of Law For Change, a national organisation that encourages young lawyers to practice public interest law. She is currently completing a taught Masters of Law at Harvard Law School, where she is focusing on human rights law and access to justice. Report



Holly Hedley awarded $5000, Georgetown University Washington DC, LLM


 Holly Hedley Holly graduated from the University of Otago with an LLB (Hons), BSc in 2010.  She is specialist health lawyer and is currently completing a Masters in Global Health Law at Georgetown University, Washington DC.  In 2014 she was a New Zealand Pegasus Scholar and while studying at Victoria University she won the Quentin Baxter LLM Prize in Public and International Law.  She is a co-recipient of the New Zealand Law Foundation’s Ethel Benjamin prize for 2016.  Her studies at Georgetown will focus primarily on women’s health law issues and the intersection between human rights and health.  Mid-term report



Emma Fox Derwin awarded $5000, Massey University and Lund University Sweden, PhD


 emma-fox-derwin-photo-nzfgw-fellowship-application Emma Fox Derwin is an international award winning furniture designer and industrial design researcher situated between her studio in New Zealand and office in Sweden. Emma’s work has been presented at Milan Design Week, London Design Festival , ObjectSpace and Dowse Art Museum. Emma is led of Studio Emma Fox, brand Well-Groomed Fox, Lecturer of Industrial Design at the School of Design, College of Creative Arts Massey University and mother to one son. Her practice concentrates on furniture design targeting new approaches to flat-pack furniture design. Emma is undertaking PhD study in this field at the Department of Design Sciences, Lund University, Sweden. Mid-Term Report



Vanessa Cameron Lewis awarded $20,000, University of Auckland, PhD


 Version 2 Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Social Science (First Class Honours) in Education from the University of Waikato (2010). In 2011 Vanessa began her doctorate at the University of Auckland. The Fellowship will allow Vanessa to complete her doctorate, which had been put on hold due to the birth of her first child. Vanessa’s thesis extends her experience as a preventative sexual abuse educator by rethinking sexuality education in New Zealand through the lens of feminist new materialism. Utilising this philosophy Vanessa investigates the different human and nonhuman forces that co-create young peoples sexualities. Mid-Term Report, June 2017



2016 Fellows

Erica Buxton -Public Sector Finance


Buxton_Erica_photo Erica holds a BA (Hons) in French and History from the University of Otago (2010), and an MA (Hons) in International Relations from the Australian National University (2012). She has been working in public sector finance since graduation, and will use the award to study a Master of Finance at the University of Cambridge in 2016/2017. Erica has been a research assistant and tutor at Otago and Victoria universities in public policy, political philosophy, international relations and history, and studied at a French university as part of her undergraduate degree. Erica grew up in Christchurch. Mid-term Report 



Gemma Cartwright – Veterinary Medicine, Melbourne University 


Gemma Cartwright Gemma is in her 3rd year of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine course at Melbourne University. She is currently involved in a research project looking at the long term outcomes of small animals following joint fusion operations. She intends on returning to New Zealand, once having completed her degree, to work as a large animal veterinarian.  Mid-term Report



Natalie Jones -Law, International Law and climate change


Natalie Jones photo Natalie is a lawyer looking to change the way the world thinks about international law in the context of climate change. She is a graduate of the University of Canterbury and the University of Cambridge, and will return to Cambridge to study for her PhD. In her spare time she works with the New Zealand Youth Delegation to the UN climate change negotiations, and Positive Investment, a Cambridge-based shareholder engagement organisation working on finance for a fairer future.  Mid-term report



Sarah Kuper – Law


Sarah Kuper - US Supreme Court photo Sarah  received a New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women Fellowship in 2015 and just graduated with a Master of Laws (LLM) with distinction from the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah focused her studies on human rights and access to criminal and civil justice. Sarah has volunteered with various youth and community organisations in New Zealand and abroad. She hopes to contribute to New Zealand law reform in these areas. Mid-term Report



 Tamaryn Meek – Medicinal Chemistry


 2016 Fellow_Tamaryn Meek Tamaryn is extremely passionate about medicinal chemistry, as she believes that it is an area of science which can contribute significantly to the improvement of people’s lives. Tamaryn aims to pursue a career in research, and has recently taken up the opportunity to do her PhD studies, within medicinal chemistry, at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Melbourne. Mid-term Report



Grace Salisbury Mills – Architecture 


Grace hails from Wellington, where she has spent the majority of her life. Grace completed a Masters of Architecture (with distinction) in 2013, and a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, in 2011, from Victoria University of Wellington (including an exchange at the Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, in Copenhagen). As of May 2015, Grace is undertaking a Masters of Urban Design, at Columbia University in New York City.  Mid-term Report



Lisa Pilkington – Organic chemistry 


Lisa Pilkington Lisa is a research organic chemist studying for a Masters in Applied Statistics at the University of Oxford with the help of a NZFGW Fellowship. Lisa is using this opportunity to combine her background in medicinal chemistry with knowledge and skills in advanced statistical methods in the pursuit of improving methods of drug discovery. Mid-term Report



 Tessa Popay -Cellular and Molecular Biology 


 popay Tessa_2016 Having grown up in Hamilton and completed her undergraduate at the University of Auckland, Tessa Popay took it upon herself to try something a little different. The call came from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, to enter the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program from August 2014, which ultimately led to a place in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, where she will remain until the completion of her PhD. Mid-term Report



Mevagh Sanson -Psychology, trigger warnings 


Mevagh Sanson_2016 Mevagh, from Whangarei and Wellington, is using her NZFGW award to research the effectiveness and consequences of trigger warnings—a type of content warning. Trigger warnings summarise negative material a person is about to see and imply that viewing it could elicit symptoms of distress. Mevagh is currently studying towards a PhD in Psychology from Victoria University of Wellington, but is conducting part of her research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in New York City. Mid-term Report



2016 Fellows

2015 Fellows

2014 Fellows



Susan Byrne Memorial Award – career change


Kylie Sutcliffe awarded $10,000, Victoria University, Post graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology
Sutcliffee Kylie SBKylie intended to study psychology when she first left school but was distracted by books. She gained qualifications in English literature and book publishing and spent 15 happy years working in libraries and publishing. Kylie’s interest in mental health never waned, and in 2015 she got brave and returned to study. In 2017 she will begin a Post-Graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology at Victoria University, with plans to specialise in child and adolescent mental health. Mid-Term Report, July 2017


2016 – Chanel Taylor Mid-term Report

Chanel Taylor’s previous career was in the field of academic neuroscience research. After graduating from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology and a PhD in Neuroscience, Chanel held three consecutive Post-doctoral Research Fellow positions at the University of Oxford, the University of Otago, and the Queensland Brain Institute. Chanel has recently embarked upon a new career as a Visual Artist, for which she has received the Susan Byrne Memorial Award. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Applied Media Arts at the Southern Institute of Technology.

Harriette Jenkins Award


Dr Sita Venkateswar – Manawatu Branch
Sita, who is the new President of Manawatu Branch, has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Since 2011 she has been working on a research project addressing perceptions of climate change in India and the ongoing efforts to mitigate its impact by advisee/indigenous groups. Sita’s project has taken her to Wayanad, in northern Kerala, a region famed for its forests and fertility but also the site of increasing instance of farmer suicides over recent years. She has joined a cyber- network called ‘Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture and has learned about the importance of millets. Millets are highly climate compliant. They are adapted to a wide range of ecological conditions, are all-season crops cultivated round the year requiring no irrigation and a fraction of the rainfall required for paddy or other cash crops like sugarcane or banana. They also survive on poor soils less than 15 cm so are an asset in the expanding dry, arid conditions anticipated for the future as a consequence of climate change. They do not require synthetic fertilisers and when grown using traditional methods, do not attract pests.

Nicole Steele – Independent Member
Nicole has a BSc in Animal Science and Agricultural Science, and a Master of Science (Animal Science) both from Massey University. She will use the award to help her fund a PhD in Dairy Science at Virginia Tech in the USA, commencing in January 2016. The first year of the programme will involve coursework covering topics such as physiology, immunology, microbiology, reproduction, and nutrition, all related to the dairy cow. The research topic is in the area of mastitis in dairy cattle, in particular the diagnosis of infection and finding more effective treatments. Nicole grew up on a diary farm and is passionately interested in dairy research in areas that address real problems encountered by farmers. in 2009 she received a Royal Society of New Zealand ‘Realise the Dream’ Outstanding Award which led to her being employed at Dairy NZ over summer breaks as an animal research technician.

Alison Blair – Otago Branch
Alison is a BA in English, has a Diploma in Teaching, Post-Graduate Diplomas in Film and in Media Studies and is currently completing her Masters in Media, Film and Communication at Otago University. Her research topic is British 1970s glam rock, in particular the work of David Bowie and Marc Bolan, and the ways in which it represents a significant turning point in British culture and society – most significantly, as a response to increasingly unpalatable social and economic conditions, with an emphasis on escapism and transformation. The award will enable her to undertake a PhD next year.

Kiri Cutting  (Wallace)– Independent member (previously a member of the former Waikato Branch)
Kiri has been working on a PhD in Biological Sciences at Waikato University. Her topic is Urban Restoration Ecology: Investigating environmental change, ecological function, and enrichment planting. Kiri has an MSc in wildlife ecology from the University of Delaware in the USA. Her passion lies in the field of restoring degraded ecosystems. She has been undertaking field work in 39 urban forests in Hamilton and New Plymouth.

Bridget Percy – Manawatu Branch
Bridget, who is a member of the general staff of Massey University, has a Diploma of Teaching, a BEduc, a Post-Grad Diploma of Education, and MEduc from Massey University, a Diploma of Theology from Wellington Catholic Education Centre, and a Trinity Certificate TESOL from International Pacific College.  She will use the Harriet Jenkins award to support her PhD field work interview transcribing costs. Her PhD is a study of lecturers’ professional learning experiences. The study aims to enable a better understanding of ‘aha’ moments experienced by 11 early career lecturers working at two tertiary institutions, and the role these moments play in improving teacher efficacy.