Making Their Mark Awards

The Making Their Mark Awards are held annually to celebrate our inspirational Old Girls.

The Awards recognise Old Girls who are:

  • Making their mark in their chosen field
  • Demonstrate outstanding achievement
  • Demonstrate the courage to take on significant challenges
  • Show leadership qualities
 

Previous recipients

2019 recipients

Andrea Rickard 1983–1987

Andrea Rickard was recently appointed as Beca’s first female General Manager of Transport and Infrastrucrure. Beca is regarded as the largest professional consultancy services company in the Asia-Pacific region, and Andrea has held senior management roles in major infrastructure projects such as the development of the Waterview Tunnel, the Victoria Park Tunnel, and the Newmarket Viaduct. 

In 2014, Andrea was recognised as a Beca Technical Fellow, specialising in Resource Management Planning. The title of Tecnhical Fellow recognises a commitment to excellence among Beca’s technical and future leaders. Andrea is passionate about advocating for her profession and is currently the longest serving elected national executive member of the Resource Management Law Association. She is also recognised for empowering the next generation of urban planners, which she does through her involvement on the NZ Planning Institute’s membership interview panel.

Jennifer Ma

Jennifer Jin Ma 1999–2002

Jennifer is the founder of ‘little oasis’, the first lifestyle-based Early Childhood Education brand in China. ‘little oasis’, which has eight locations across China, places a strong emphasis on the emotional and physical wellbeing of both parent and child and promotes education through the power of play. Jennifer was the recipient the 2015 Innobrand Competition for most innovative product and most innovative service. She is also on education-related speaking circuits internationally, and has given addresses as prestigious events including Beijing Design Week, International Kid’s Design Week, and even a Yale Guest Forum, where she spoke on the subject: “How to raise a happy child”. Jennifer’s love of working with children is not limited to her professional life. In addition to running Little Oasis, she is also instrumental to the Summer Children’s Foundation, a charity that organises fun activities for kids undergoing leukaemia treatment in hospitals across Beijing. Jennifer is the proud mother of Lucas (8), Jacob (6) and Mason (2). View Jennifer’s acceptance video hereFind more about Jennifer here.

Tracey Andrews Smith 1970–1981

Tracey is a Capital Programme Director with the New Zealand Defence Force, where she helps to develop, maintain and manage land, property and infrastructure assets in order to support NZDF military capabilities.

She is a member of a multitude of professional organisations and societies including the Resource Management Law Society, New Zealand Society of Construction Law, Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of NZ, Project Managers Institute, the Directors Institute, and the Designers Institute of New Zealand. She was also a Foundation Member of the Property Institute

In addition to her professional interests, Tracey has volunteered extensively in the Northland region with the local iwi, helping families in need and supporting tamariki sports initiatives.  She spent six years as a volunteer board member of the Northland Conservation Board, where she was instrumental in Supporting and writing the Northland 10 Year Conservation Strategy.

Of the importance of community engagement, Tracey says “communities are made through connectedness, a series of relationships based on commonality; college, sport, friends, interests, faith, or the town we grew up in. Not all of us, through position of birth or lack of resources, have equal opportunity or ability to change circumstances for ourselves or those we love or those around us.”

2018 recipients

Sandy Cooper 19691975

Sandy founded her company Minnie Cooper in 1989; she designed and manufactured high quality leather shoes and bags in New Zealand for over 30 years. She showed great courage in setting up her business and employed the best shoemakers and provided them with jobs to continue their craft.

As a business woman she operated in a very difficult market remaining committed to her original vision of designing robust stylish and beautifully made shoes for woman with attitude!! She opened retail stores in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch which were stocked exclusively with Minnie Cooper shoes, handbags and her knitwear. Whilst Sandy is no longer manufacturing in New Zealand, she is still designing and producing her beautiful slippers. Sandy is a wonderful example of a smart and creative woman who decided what she wanted to do, applied herself and created a very successful business which captured a corner of the shoe market in New Zealand for 30 years. 

Kate Davenport QC 19701978

Kate has an LLB (Hons) and a Master of Jurisprudence (Distinction), was admitted to the Bar in 1983, became a Barrister sole in 1990 and was appointed Queens Counsel in 2013. She is also admitted to the UK Bar (Middle Temple). Kate is a civil and commercial litigator with 28 years’ experience at the bar. She is also a qualified mediator. She practices primarily in civil and commercial litigation including cases involving contracts and torts, equity and trusts, insolvency and company law, land law, construction law, relationship property and health law. Kate has a special interest in professional regulation. Kate was New Zealand Barrister of the Year in 2013.

Kate is President-Elect of the New Zealand Bar Association. She has been appointed to government tribunals, overseeing a range of disciplines which include the National Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproduction, Health Disciplinary Boards, the Appeal Board from the Censor and the Real Estate Disciplinary Tribunal. Kate’s commitment to the law has seen her involved in governance of the legal profession and she has appeared as counsel and assessor for a range of specialties and causes. Kate is a mother of four children – Giles, Elena, Julia, and Jamie. She is married to Tim Christmas. Find more about Kate here

Dr Ann Hood 19631973

Ann’s first career was as a teacher. After having her family she trained as a psychologist, graduating with a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology from the University of Auckland in 2006. Her research was on youth suicide in New Zealand.

Her work has supported refugees, children, adolescents and families. She became a team leader and clinical lead at Whirinaki, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, before becoming a team leader at Procare Psychological Services. Ann was appointed CEO of Refugees as Survivors in New Zealand in July 2015. Refugees as Survivors is a mental health service which promotes programmes and policies that advance the health, well-being and human rights of people from refugee backgrounds. Ann has proved outstanding in her role, her work touches and transforms the lives of refugees and those who work for the organisation on a daily basis. Her leadership qualities are wide ranging and model integrity, commitment and passion for the work and her teams. She has a holistic understanding of the needs of refugees and creative strategies to support the teams in meeting those needs. Find more about Ann here

Samantha Holdsworth 19901994

During her brilliant years as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Senior Research Scientist at Stanford University, Samantha was responsible for developing, translating, and maintaining advanced and clinically useful MRI acquisition and post-processing techniques to the Stanford Hospital and Clinics. She has received numerous awards and grants for her work and among other successes pioneered the “amplified MRI” method; this shows clearer images of brain movement, which has the potential to help diagnose diseases earlier. Samantha is an innovator and an academic. She has a great story to tell, one of endurance and opportunity harnessed in a most unusual manner. She is a vibrant and inspirational speaker and a mother of young children who is contributing to the medical scene in New Zealand in ways far beyond her years.

Apart from her leading academic work at Stanford University she is one of the creators behind the proposed New Zealand Institute of Biomedical Imaging. This advanced medical organisation, if it achieves its core government funding (likely), will become a world leading innovator. Samantha’s story is fascinating, her results are outstanding. This is about looking at the world differently, using tenacity and invention to solve a range of imaging and biomedical issues. Find more about Samantha here

2017 recipients

Dr Anna Fenton BHB, MBChB, CCD, PhD, FRACP

Anna is an Endocrinologist or hormone specialist working at the Canterbury District Health Board and Southern Women’s Health in Christchurch. She is passionate about women’s health and is actively involved in educating women and their healthcare providers.

She has served on the board of Osteoporosis New Zealand and currently leads the Canterbury District Health Board Bone Density Service. Anna was co-editor-in-chief of Climacteric, the journal of the International Menopause Society from 2007 until late 2016.  She is Immediate Past President of the Australasian Menopause Society and was one of the primary authors in last year’s international guidelines on managing women’s health at midlife. Anna has published over 100 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. She has also served on corporate boards. Find more about Anna here

Juliet Maclean

Juliet grew up on a sheep and beef farm in rural Northland and her love of farming led her to establish a career in the rural sector. She completed a Bachelor of Agriculture Degree at Massey University where she was awarded a Massey Scholarship and over the last 25 years, she has been involved in the establishment and operation of various beef and dairy agricultural businesses in Northland, Waikato and Canterbury. In 2001, Juliet was a founding partner of Synlait Farms, an innovative 13,000 dairy cow farming business. Under her inspired leadership, the business became the first corporate farming business in New Zealand. In 2013, Juliet led the transaction to recapitalise the company with the introduction of a major overseas shareholder, this lead to an INFINZ Mergers and Acquisitions Transaction of the Year Award.

Juliet is highly respected for her involvement in the industry and holds many leadership positions within the dairy sector including being on the advisory board for First Light Foods. She has presented at numerous dairy industry conferences both in New Zealand and overseas.

Jessica Milne

Jess attended Auckland Uni and graduated with a BCom/LLB, Majoring in Marketing in 2006 and her first job was in the legal and HR arenas. However, her intention of working in humanitarian law ended when she was offered a role with Exposure International Ltd, a media company. She found her true niche in production and was thrown into the deep end managing projects for charities including Tearfund and  World Vision that covered a wide range of humanitarian issues. These projects saw her travel to strife torn countries creating World Vision partners, material for fundraising and exposing their causes. A life defining experience was travelling to Somali to work on a story about the catastrophically high maternal death rate.

These projects involve managing large numbers of people including crews and actors in some testing environments and juggling budgets from pro bono to multi millions. At the same time as this work, her experience and natural talent for production was utilized by Exposure for their high profile commercial clients. Jess has produced many high budget advertising campaigns that we all see daily. She was named Executive Producer in 2016 for Exposure Ltd.

Jess is a highly efficient people manager particularly under pressure and has achieved extraordinary success for her company with a leadership ability far beyond her years. Find more about Jess here. 

2016 recipients

Julie Thomas

Born with a congenital heart condition, Julie had to stay in bed for the first four years of her life. Her reading skills developed over this time, as she became a voracious reader and then began composing her own stories.

She worked in radio, writing 72 commercials a day, then moved on to television and film where she wrote, produced and ‘script doctored’ everything form sports programmes and documentaries to dramas. Her first novel was written over seven years, between 4am and 8am before heading to her job.

She is now a full time author, having published a number of books, the most successful to date is the ‘The Keeper of Secrets’. It was initially self-published on the internet and created such an impression and sold so many copies, it was picked up by Harper Collins New York and published as a paperback. Other books published include: Rachel’s Legacy, Blood, Wine and Chocolate and a number of e-books.

Laura Myers

Laura is a successful designer and entrepreneur who has created the label, Atea Oceanie, in the highly competitive world of fashion. Her vision was to fill a gap in the market for quietly confident pieces, made from quality fabrics; Laura’s mantra for each piece within the range is “everything with everything”. Her pieces are timeless and transcend time zones and seasons, as she separates her label from the relentless pace of the fashion industry. Her business has grown exponentially and has been wholesaling since 2014. The collection was picked up by Barney’s in the US for Fall Winter 2015.

After leaving St Cuthbert’s, Laura attended Ivy League Brown University. She has worked with a number of fashion houses and advertising agencies and gained an understanding of niche markets and branding along the way.  

Angela Bull

Angela’s career has crossed successfully from the legal world to management roles in significant New Zealand corporates. She made her mark in the area of strategic property development, as general manager of Foodstuffs North Island; New Zealand’s largest retailer with approximately 150 supermarkets and $6 billion in annual sales, managing a team of 30. 

Her current appointment is as CEO of Tramco Group Limited, a property investment company managing three property portfolios which include substantial land holdings across Auckland, the Viaduct Harbour and elsewhere in the North Island. 
Angela’s achievements are outstanding, her leadership abilities allow her to lead large teams and her pragmatism, professional approach and strategic style has earned her the respect of her colleagues in a highly competitive market place.

2015 recipients

Simone Roggen

Simone is an internationally renowned violinist, a graduate with a Masters of Music from the University of Auckland and the Lucerne Conservatory in Switzerland. In March 2012 she was offered the place of leader with the Faust Quartet and is often invited to be guest soloist or concertmaster with orchestras worldwide. For example, in 2012, she was the soloist in Brahm’s Violin Concerto in Paris and won the position of co-soloist in the Geneva Chamber Orchestra. In her second year at university, Simone had to stop playing the violin for two years because of an injury to her left hand. This removed her confidence and instinctive approach to performing. Her achievements are significant, considering she had to relearn how to play the violin and overcome a new demon – stage fright.

Simone created the Klangzoon Project which is funded by the Migros Foundation. It brings music to the lives of the disadvantaged as they visit shelters for the homeless, orphanages, and homes for the disabled. Find more about Simone here

Dr Laura Young 

Laura completed her medical degree at Auckland University, she then trained as a Haematologist at Auckland Hospital and became a fellow of both the Royal Australasian Pathology and Physicians’ Colleges.

Laura completed a PhD, investigating the genetics of thrombosis relating to the serpin class of proteins, with clinical and laboratory components. She continues to have active research interests at Auckland Hospital including both investigator initiated and pharmaceutical multi-centre trials.

She now juggles her roles as Senior Lecturer at Auckland University, with patient care and research in her field, writes clinical guidelines, speaks as a guest lecturer at both national and international haematology conferences alongside bringing up a young family. Find more about Laura here

Antonia Watson

Antonia has built an enormously successful career in the accounting and finance arena worldwide. She is a qualified chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience in financial services and is highly experienced across a wide range of management and financial functions. Antonia’s current role is as CFO of ANZ New Zealand where she leads a team of nearly 200 people across Auckland and Wellington and is a key member of the ANZ New Zealand Leadership Team. She chairs the ANZ New Zealand Staff Foundation, a charitable trust which provides grants to community organisations throughout New Zealand, with over $3 million distributed so far to over 530 charities and community projects and is on the board of UDC Finance Limited. Antonia has always championed diversity in the workplace and in the community. Find more about Antonia here

2014 recipients

Polly Olivia Powrie

Polly is part of Team Jolly and together with Jo Aleh, she sails a 470 dinghy. They are currently Olympic Champions, World Champions and ISAF World Sailors of the Year. Polly has been awarded an MNZM.

The team is exceptional as they are responsible for all their own planning and organization. Their planning is meticulous and their attention to detail legendary; nothing is left to chance.

Managing a sailing campaign, includes everything from boat handling, sail development, boat maintenance to fitness, nutrition, budgeting, accounts, logistics, team building, media and publicity. They have mastered a wide range of skills while forging a path to the top of their sport. Find more about Polly here

Sarah Paykel

Sarah is the Director of her own public relations and communications company and Co-Director and founder of return2work; which runs programmes to prepare candidates to re-enter the workforce. She was also the Co-Director and founding partner of Lush Cosmetics Australasia, she ran a retail and manufacturing business with 13 stores and 250 staff based in Sydney which saw her win the Young Australian Entrepreneur Award in 1999 and she was inducted into the Australian Women’s Business Hall of Fame. Sarah sits on the board of NZ Mental Health Foundation and Co.ofWomen. She raises awareness and helps secure funding for the Mental Health Foundation which aims to remove the stigma society gives to mental illness, to improve and sustain the mental health of New Zealanders. Co.ofWomen are a group of entrepreneurial women, who support and champion success. A huge inspiration and high achiever, she is a great role model to young girls, showing that with hard work and respect for others, you can have a successful career, be involved in our community and look after a family. Find more about Sarah here

Kate Rogan

An architect, Kate has inspired her friends and colleagues by forging an interesting, flexible and intellectually rewarding career – known as ‘the trifecta’ – as an architect, lecturer and design critic, resulting in three sets of challenges and rewards. Kate has presented seminars for the New Zealand Institute of Architects; she is a Professional Teaching Fellow and critic of Design at the University of Auckland School of Architecture; and in 2010 and 2011 was a judge in the NZIA Local Architecture Awards (Auckland). Kate is a regular magazine contributor including styling for Home New Zealand, writing for Urbis and as Home Design Editor for Sunday Star Times Sunday Magazine. Her design blog, By Accident Or Design, has been profiled in Sunday Magazine, Urbis and NZ House and Garden.

After living overseas for a number of years, her return to New Zealand saw her moving from an established practice to set up her own architectural firm. She has the courage and vision to make her mark in the world of design. Her international architectural experience as well as her understanding of the New Zealand way of life, makes her work distinctive, yet practical and functional. Find more about Kate here

2013 recipients

Anna Chitty

Anna is a globally recognized senior media agency practitioner with a proven ability to deliver exceptional business results. Her main area of expertise is in managing new business projects and large business transitions around the use of media by organizations. A highlight of her career was the key leadership role Anna took in PHD China’s high profile and successful pitch for Unilever in 2009/10. The largest media pitch ever held in China ($400 million-plus) Anna led the transition effort. Her work was from initial team development to a fully operational team structure across the account. In 2010 Anna ranked as one of China’s Top 18 Best Performing Media Professionals. She then moved to New York and took on her next role – the transition of GlaxoSmithKline into PHD US – another $500 million monster! Anna strives for excellence in everything she does, she is an intelligent, fun, strong St Cuthbert’s girl with an infectious personality. 

Philippa De Lacey

Philippa is the Executive Director of a leading television production company, Screentime NZ, which is responsible for high rating, hugely successful drama and factual entertainment. She was one of the youngest people in the industry to helm a major production company and take responsibility for the commissioning and development, creative and financial production, delivery and sales of Screentime NZ’s programmes. Broadcasts and programmes that can be credited to Philippa and her team include ‘Beyond the Darklands’, ‘The Free Range Cook’, ‘Descent from Disaster’ and ‘Police Ten 7’. Philippa and her team have won numerous awards, including five at the New Zealand Television Awards held in November 2012 for ‘Siege’. Philippa has to-date been responsible for over 300 hours of innovative, new local New Zealand content. She is passionate about her industry and is on the board of the New Zealand Screen Production and Development Association and lobbies for local content and the right of television and film producers. Find more about Philippa here

Sarah Townsend

Sarah is the founder of The Aromatherapy Company which was established in 1990. She has always been fascinated with nature and developed a passion for natural fragrance. So, when she studied Business Management in London during the 1980’s, she spent her weekends learning and investigating natural remedies and the healing properties that nature had to offer.

She was inspired by the concept of blending essential oils and natural therapies and the idea for The Aromatherapy Company was born. Her company was the first to create a body product without parabens, sulphates and artificial fragrances.

However, her belief in her product and her vision are only part of the story. The huge growth of her company is a testimony to her business acumen and her ability to build a great team and manage effective business relationships. She leads a team of over 80 staff based in Australia and New Zealand.  The company has grown into an internationally and nationally recognized brand now sold on all continents.

2012 recipients

Frances Clayton

Frances graduated with a Master of Commerce in 2001 from the University of New South Wales, and received the Peter D Industrial Marketing Prize. She completed Bachelor of Arts – English Literature and Bachelor of Commerce – Marketing and Management from the University of Auckland in 2000. With these qualifications, Frances has risen to a number of top-level positions in advertising including Head of Strategy and Discovery at Publicis Mojo and Worldwide Director of Xploring at Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide. She has also lent her expertise to a number of industry events, with a stint as an Australian Effie Awards Judge 2012 and as a presenter at CAANZ/AUT Strategic Thinking 2012. In the last ten years Frances has received a number of Effie Awards in Australia, USA and NZ. She is also a founding member, speaker and mentor of SheSays Australia, an organization running free mentorship and events to women in the creative and marketing businesses to encourage more women to make it to the top. Find more about Frances here

Sara-Jane Elika

In 2011 was admitted Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and in 2010 completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Ethnomusicology. She initially graduated from the University of Auckland in 2005 with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts – Music. Sara-Jane has held many roles including Operations Manager of Elika Sports-Athlete Management and Director of Sara-Jane Ltd, a consultancy she founded to advise music acts in the area of entertainment law,  event management and the development of business plans in the creative industry. During 2006 and 2007 she was Production Manager for Sunday and 20/20, Production Assistant for Fair Go, Project and Event Manager for Parachute, Artistic Director of Niue Island Tourism Authority and Junior Legal Representative at Sinclair Black Entertainment Lawyers. She has lectured and mentored at MAINZ Tai Poutini Polytechnic over last six years, mentored for NZ Music Commission from 2005-2011 and previously been a guest lecturer at the University of Auckland for the Centre for Pacific Studies and Unitec for Contemporary Music Studies. Find more about Sara-Jane here

Anna Gowan

Anna graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Arts – Film and Media Studies and Visual Culture in 2003. She completed her first teenage novel in 2007, the same year she took part in the New Zealand Society of Authors Mentorship Programme.

As an author of children’s and teen fiction including the popular ‘Hollie Chips’, Anna has been awarded the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award, Best First Book Award and Children’s Choice Award for the Junior Fiction category at the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.

Prior to being a published author Anna worked in publicity for TV2 and TV3. Find more about Anna here

2011 recipients

Roseanne Liang

Roseanne Liang was Dux of St Cuthbert’s College in 1995 and went on to graduate from the University of Auckland in 2003 with a Master of Creative and Performing Arts with First Class Honours in Film, Television and Media Studies.

Roseanne was the director and writer of the acclaimed 2011 film My Wedding and Other Secrets, which was based on her award-winning documentary ‘Banana In A Nutshell’. The film won the Best Screenplay Award for a feature film at the Aotearoa Film & Television Awards and Audience Choice Awards at two New York film festivals. In 2005 she was awarded the SPADA New Film-maker of the Year Award, and won many awards in 2007 at the Berlin and Valladolid Film Festivals for the short film she wrote and directed, Take 3. In 2008 she was awarded WIFT’s Woman to Watch Award for Women in Film and Television.

Amber Sainsbury

Amber Sainsbury is fluent in Italian and Spanish and has Diploma in Fine Arts from Lecio Artistico Stalale, Venice, Italy. She graduated from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London with Honours in 2002 giving her great skills to accompany her talent. She has starred in well known films such as Poseidon Adventure and 30 Days of Night.

Recently however, Amber has been concentrating on the UK registered charity she founded in 2007, Dramatic Need, which supports underprivileged communities in South Africa, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

Amber continues to strive for more and is currently studying a BSc in International Development at Birkbeck College, London.

Joanna Pidgeon

Joanna Pidgeon founded her own boutique commercial property and commercial law firm in 2009 after working as a Solicitor, Senior Associate and Partner with different law firms. She has always been at the forefront of property law and has been appointed to National Law society committees and work groups which have an impact on developments within the property community. She is also a member of the YMCA’s Leading Women initiative and a trustee of the the Piha Kids Charitable Trust and Selwyn Foundation – the largest charitable provider of rest home, retirement and community care in New Zealand. Find more about Joanna here

2010 recipients

Sarah Williamson

Sarah Williamson’s qualifications include a Master of Science Honours degree in Psychology and a Bachelor Degree in Geography and Psychology from the University of Auckland. The first few years of her career were spent as a Human Resources Consultant, resulting in her becoming Head of HR at the Bank of New Zealand, which at the time had 5000 employees.

She entered the airline industry in 1999 and for the past decade has been with Air New Zealand in various high-profile positions. 

In May 2009, she was appointed General Manager of the Air New Zealand subsidiary, Mt Cook Airlines, where she is responsible for eleven aircraft and 400 staff. Sarah is also on the board of directors of Mt Cook Airlines. She is responsible for leading the commercial airline to return better than industry benchmark performance in terms of operational excellence, financial performance, delivery of service excellence, regulatory and safety compliance. Find more about Sarah here

Natalie Archer

Natalie Archer completed a double degree (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce) at the University of Auckland in four years whilst working part-time as a management consultant. She began her career with Sheffield Ltd, an organisational consulting firm, and was the co-founder of operations for their Australian arm. In 2003, she co-founded Bendelta, a specialist strategic advisory firm based in Sydney. The company now has 12 consultants and 10 flexible contractors.

Natalie appears regularly on the Australian Channel 7’s Kochie’s Business Builder show as an authority on business, and is a frequent keynote speaker in Australia and elsewhere on leadership and strategy. At 23, she became a World Vision NZ Board member – their youngest board member globally. Natalie also gives strategic assistance to the board of the NZ Child Cancer Foundation.

Rebecca Elvin

Rebecca Elvin graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Laws then a Bachelor of Arts in English & Political Studies, after which she was invited into an Honours programme. In 2009, she was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor for the High Court of New Zealand. From September 2010, she will be studying towards a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies at King’s College, University of London.

She has been a volunteer with City Lights (which helps socially disadvantaged people in Auckland); a member of Amnesty International’s Auckland Legal Network; a mentor with the Brothers in Arms programme for at-risk youth Auckland; and a volunteer with Homes of Hope, a trust established to provide foster care for children.

2009 recipients

Dr Virginia Toy

Dr Virginia Toy, is a lecturer in structural geology at the University of Otago and involved in numerous research projects and community, university and company services. 

After completing school, a degree, two masters and a PhD, Virginia never anticipated she would be a teacher. 

“It has given me a new appreciation for the amount of time and energy that my teachers must have put into me in the past. I know that they work really long hours to provide us with the opportunities that we have and I wanted to say thank you for that.” Find more about Virginia here

Dr Renee Liang

Consultant paediatrician and playwright Renee Liang is a specialist paediatrician with an interest in youth health, especially in the interface between arts and healthy behaviours. She was involved as a core researcher on the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study. The “proud Old Girl of St Cuthbert’s” also holds a Masters in Creative Writing from The University of Auckland and is working on her first novel. Her plays include Lantern, Mask and The Bone Feeder. Mask was the first of her plays to be professionally produced and was performed in the Manawatu Festival of New Arts in 2008. In 2010 Renee was chosen as one of 12 representatives from New Zealand to take part in the Emerging Pacific Leaders Forum. The Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue is a regional “meeting of minds” designed to foster the next generation of Pacific leaders. It is organised by Commonwealth Study Conference alumni and is supported by governments and organisations in the region. Find more about Renee here. More details of Renee’s writing can be found here and here

Dr Karen Willcox

Dr Karen Willcox designs future aircraft and at the age of 32 was promoted to Associate Professor of Aeronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – where she gained her Masters and PhD.

She has worked at NASA Dryden Flight Research Centre, in the middle of the Californian desert, and at Boeing Phantom Works where she assisted with the development of “the blended wing body” – an environmentally friendly futuristic aircraft, yet to be seen flying.

She spoke of the joy she gets from her teaching role and the importance of service to a professional person. “It’s incredibly important, whether it’s serving on committees to advise politicians or companies or whether it’s being an editor for a journal…there are just so many places you can serve and be involved in.” Find more about Karen here.

Contact

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