Shopping Cart You have (0) items in your Cart

Recent Post Graduate Awardees

Graduate Women Manawatū Postgraduate Scholarships 2020

The Graduate Women Manawatū Charitable Trust Inc. is delighted to be able to showcase our 2020 awardees.

These 12 awardees have been selected from a strong field of postgraduate women students who are currently studying at Massey University. Enrolled across Wellington, Manawatū, and Auckland campuses, either face-to-face or by distance, these women have excelled in their studies and have demonstrated the potential to become influential women in their chosen field. Collectively, their studies represent a range of research applications that will serve to impact positively on many spheres of our lives in Aotearoa New Zealand.

As part of our mission to support and empower women through education the Graduate Women Manawatū Charitable Trust has funded these scholarships to a total of $69, 000 – drawing on profits derived from the Academic Dress Hire service that is owned by the Trust.

2020 Awardees Research Profiles

Anika Connelly
Anika Connelly

My field of study is Applied Statistics, the professional practice of statistics and study of  quantitative skills to conduct robust statistical analyses that are effective in the real world. Some areas of application include engineering, genetics, ecology, and agriculture. As part of my Master of Applied Statistics my research involves investigating sparse Partial Least Squares methods to analyse transcriptome data from rye grass (Lolium perenne) and the mycorrhizal fungus (Epichloё festucae) which lives in its tissues. The aim is to implement statistical methods to investigate how the genes in the two species “talk” to each other. Rye grass is a very important pasture species in New Zealand and investigations into the relationship it has with the endophyte will be beneficial to the agricultural sector.

Ariana Mackay
Ariana MackayWhakaki Lagoon is a large (4.75km2) shallow lake located north of Wairoa, Hawkes Bay. The lake is currently in an algal dominated eutrophic state. As part of my Master of Science I will be investigating the sedimentation rate in Whakaki with emphasis on three key periods: before artificial opening (direct to sea), during direct to sea openings (1960’s – 1997) and after the reinstatement of Rāhui Channel (natural outlet). This portion of my research will be done through pollen and carbon dating of sediment cores taken from within the lagoon. Alongside this I will be characterising and assessing the viability of the lake’s seedbank, to better understand the abundance, distribution and species composition of the lost macrophyte community. My research into the sedimentation rates and seed bank of Whakaki Lagoon will further knowledge of the ecosystem for both Iwi and Regional Council and support large-scale ongoing restoration efforts.


Brooke Hopkinson
Brooke HopkinsonAs part of my Master of Arts in Psychology my thesis project - ‘Demands and Resources: Flourishing in The New Zealand Defence Force’ – utilises the 2019 New Zealand Defence Force Health and Wellbeing Survey data. My research seeks to investigate how job demands relate to flourishing, wellbeing, and turnover intention. My research will explore if both personal and job resources moderates or mediates the relationship between job demands and flourishing, wellbeing, and turnover intention.

Catherine Davenport
Catherine DavenportI am part of team working to develop a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19, The test utilises biological nanorods to detect the virus. We are designing a dipstick test which can be easily used in doctors’ clinics and hospitals without the need for specialist equipment or reagents. My Bachelor of Science (Honours) project focuses on developing a method for modification of these biological nanorods, so that they can produce visible results on the dipstick test without further imaging or processing.


Dorte Wray
Dorte WrayThere is growing recognition of the harm caused to our natural world by our throw-away thinking and make-use-waste economic model. An alternative zero waste approach envisages a world where nothing is wasted, and all resources are valued and reclaimed. As part of my Masters in Environmental Management, my research uses an action research methodology that includes collaboration with The Zero Waste Network - a group of organisations trading in reused and recycled materials. Developing a shared impact methodology, the project seeks to understand the sector’s various impacts, and to develop a framework for collective reporting and story telling.

KimberleyI am currently completing my Master of Business Studies (Marketing). My motivation for pursuing an advanced qualification are my children. I want to provide a foundation for them to see that you can do anything you put your mind to, despite any hardships along the way. My research component will help measure how to maximise small service market businesses profits and growth, as well as contributing to the shaping of profitable growth and sustainability practices throughout local and national businesses. My hope is that this research will assist New Zealand’s economy in this time of uncertainty fuelled by Covid-19.



Nicole Ashley
Nicole AshleyClimate change requires complete, global transformations in how we relate to each other – not only other people, but also other life forms. Yet, we seem to get stuck when thinking about how we might envisage that change. I suggest that this rests upon the way we see ourselves in relation to nature. Humans have long been conceived as somehow separate from the environment, evidenced in split between the natural and social sciences. Dominant assumptions of nature’s boundaries work to abstract the human from interspecies relations, and I believe this limits our ability to imagine other ways of living. How might we do interspecies relations differently? How might we move beyond human exceptionalism? Working towards my Master of Arts in Sociology at Massey University, my research seeks to rethink nature-society relations by exploring where possibilities of hope might emerge for more sustainable futures in Aotearoa.

Rebecca Conway
Rebecca Conway
Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Within my field of social work, I am committed to making a positive difference in people’s lives and improving the quality of life in a range of communities. As part of my study towards a Master of Applied Social Work, I am exploring how eco-anxiety affects people in Aotearoa New Zealand. The aim of this research is to explore the indirect effect of climate change on the mental health and well-being of people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Renata Lodge
Renata LodgeSocieties go through huge political and social transformations after conflict. In some cases, this post conflict transformation gives rise to massive changes in gender relations including significant increases in the number of women in politics and legal and policy reforms towards gender equality, but this isn’t always the case. As part of my Master of International Development, my research considers the key factors that are known to influence whether a society moves towards or away from gender equality in the period after a civil war conflict. It does this by looking at the barriers preventing women from formal political participation in post-conflict scenarios. I am undertaking this research in a Pacific context using the Solomon Islands and Bougainville conflicts as case studies.

Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson
Dementia is the leading neurodegenerative disorder worldwide where memory impairments are a significant aspect. Drosophila melanogaster, more commonly known as the fruit fly, is an important model system used to study memory as they form memories via similar molecular processes as humans. As part of my Master of Science, my research project investigates the role HDAC4 plays in the growth of neurons (nerve cells), which occurs during the formation of new memories. I am specifically interested in the interaction HDAC4 has with a structural protein, Ankyrin2, and the importance this association has in new memory formation. Given that mutations in HDAC4 and Ankyrin2 independently impair memory, there is a possibility that these proteins could aid in drug targeting therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.


Sharleen Andrews
Sharleen Andrews
Having completed a degree in Social Services and a Diploma in Trauma management I have begun my MBA postgraduate study. With these new skills and knowledge, I am looking to become a general manager or CEO in the industry of wellbeing, where I can utilise my creative skills and lived experience of depression and anxiety. The recent world pandemic has changed the way that we work with people bringing about ideas on how we can support people ‘where they are’ not where we want them to be. Good communication in business and especially within the mental health sector is paramount to successful outcomes for the people that we serve, and I look forward to creating ‘exciting’ positive change.

Sophie Newmarch
Sophie Newmarch
The New Zealand flora is a unique, diverse, national treasure. My Master of Science research project is part of an effort to understand how our flora has evolved. One mechanism deemed important is whole-genome duplication. With more DNA there is greater opportunity for sequence change and, ultimately, evolution. I am studying this phenomenon in the native iris Libertia where distinct species have different genome copy numbers. To understand when and how duplication events occurs and the evolutionary consequences, I will reconstruct the evolutionary history of Libertia. DNA sequences will be used to build a tree of species relationships and pinpoint duplication events. Patterns, including New Zealand’s climatic history, niche shifts, and floral trait innovations, will then be overlaid to gauge what pressures were present when duplication occurred and how it enabled diversification in Libertia species.

Awardees 2016

Jenna Buchanan
College of Sciences, Institute of Fundamental Sciences, studying toward an MSc

Jenna is completing a Master of Science, majoring in Chemistry. Jenna is investigating the unique magnetic properties of metal containing organic matter. Future applications of this research will produce new magnetic materials which will lead to improvements in data storage and help in the development of quantum computing.

Rose Collis
College of Sciences, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, studying toward an MSc

Rose is completing a Master of Science, majoring in Microbiology. Rose will investigate the metabolic characteristics and genomic epidemiology of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) to aid the development of an agar medium for the detection and isolation of this pathogen.

Katie Gibb
College of Sciences, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, studying toward an MSc

Katie is completing a Master of Science, investigating the reported decline in mallard (Anus platyrhynchos) numbers and other waterfowl populations in most regions throughout the country. Katie's research will be conducted as part of a larger team, and funded by Fish and Game New Zealand. Katie aims to determine if dietary levels of five heavy metals (lead,cadmium, mercury, zinc and arsenic) are elevated in the New Zealand mallard population, and to evaluate whether the current levels are different across two spatially explicit populations; Waikato and Southland.

Ansie Jansen van Vuuren
College of Health, School of Social Work, studying toward a MAppSWork

Ansie is completing a Master of Applied Social Work and investigating resettlement and integration challenges of former refugee women. Ansie will explore ways in which service providers can support former refugee women in improving resettlement outcomes according to the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy goals of self-sufficiency, participation, health and wellbeing, education and housing.

Amelia Mawhinney
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Humanities, studying towards an MA

Amelia is completing a Master of Arts in History. Amelia's thesis focuses on how women asserted their authority against gender norms in the Medieval Churches, with a specific focus on female visionaries, or mystics, preachers or writers. Amelia is particularly interested in investigating the difference between those women who were sanctioned in their actions by the male-dominated church, and those who were condemned as heretical for their same beliefs.

Tessa-Maree Nielsen
College of Health, School of Sports and Exercise, studying towards a BSE(Hons)

Tessa-Maree is completing a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise with Honours. Tessa-Maree is specialising in prescribing exercise for those with chronic diseases. Tessa-Maree plans to work within the health sector to assist these people with their health and/or rehabilitation, as well as developing health initiatives for New Zealanders to prevent such conditions of a wider scale.

Emmarentia du Plessis
College of Sciences, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, studying toward a BSc(Hons)

Emmarentia (Willa) is completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours. Willa is researching to relative aversiveness of CO2 and other gas mixtures in the commercial stunning and killing of poultry. Willa's research intends to inform the development of codes of best practice and enforceable regulations regarding the humane destruction of poultry.

Ashleigh Walker
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Centre for Defence and Security Studies, studying toward a MIntSecurity

Ashleigh is completing a Master of International Security. Ashleigh's thesis focuses on providing an assessment of the prevention opportunities for New Zealand Police in adopting a national policy of routine police service of temporary protection orders. The goal of this research is to contribute to the development of policies that reduce the risk of repeat victimisation by victims of family violence in New Zealand.

Goldie Walker
College of Sciences, Institution of Agriculture and Environment, studying toward an MSc

Goldie is completing a Master of Science in Geography. Goldie is investigating the origins of lumpy, hummocky, little hills scattered throughout the wide de-glaciated valleys of Fiordland, New Zealand. Goldie's research will help re-define understanding of past climates in the region, and/or recognise the significance of previously unidentified rock avalanche risks in locations where people may be in the path of potentially catastrophic events.

  • Awardees 2015

Ingrid Cheung
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Institute of Education, studying toward a MEd

Ingrid is studying toward a Master of Education. Ingrid is investigating the teacher's action to support Pasifika students to engage in mathematical discourse in culturally responsive ways which aim to increase engagement and participation of Pasifika students so they become confident and successful learners of mathematics.

Belinda Jansen
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Social Work, studying toward a MAppSW

Belinda is studying toward a Master in Applied Social Work, and aims to become a qualified psychiatric social worker. Belinda's passion is working with a diverse range of individuals and families who are living with mental illness that affects their everyday living. Belinda hopes to help resolve issues within her community through professional responsibility, empathy and integrity.

Anne Kim
College of Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Environment, studying towards a MSc

Anne is studying toward a Master of Science in Zoology. Anne's research investigates the effect of arm amputation on the cellular heavy metal tolerance in the eleven-armed seastar (Coscinasteria muricata). Physiological parameters such as dopamine, noradrenaline, cellular metabolic activity and membrane integrity are evaluated.

Iris Nanguzgambo
College of Sciences, Institute of Fundamental Sciences, studying towards a MApplStat

Iris is studying toward a Master in Applied Statistics. As part of her study, Iris is currently undertaking a seriation analysis of a data set collected on several fish species over 24 years. Iris aims to determine whether the assemblages of fish are changing progressively over the 24 year period and if these changes are in fact random. Iris's research thesis will be based on hospital data, where she hopes to be able to implement methods learnt in Survival Analysis and Reliability Studies, and in Statistical Quality Control papers she has studied as part of her degree.

Laura Quin
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Psychology, studying toward a MSc

Laura is undertaking a Master of Science (Psychology) degree with a special interest in women and maternity. Laura's thesis entitled "Leave your dignity at the door" explores technologies of power and the maternal body, seeks to open spaces for women to share their lived experiences of maternity in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and to attend to the sociocultural and biomedical power which acts on the maternal body in society and the maternity systems.

Briony Raven
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of People, Environment and Planing, studying toward a MIntDev

Briony's research explores the prevalence of iron deficiency among pregnant women in Counties Manuaku District Health Board region. Briony aims to research the prevalence and trends associated with iron deficiency in the region and to work with women and communities to identify barriers to good nutrition during pregnancy. Through an empowerment lens this research posits pregnant women, with the support of the community, as being the best agents to identify and facilitate community based solutions to meet this concern.

Rebecca Severinsen
College of Sciences, Institute of Fundamental Sciences, studying towards a BSc(Hons)

Rebecca is studying towards a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Chemistry. Rebecca's laboratory project focusses on the synthesis of a new molecule, which can be used to form a chemical cage to store (and/or transport) reactive molecules. Rebecca plans to progress to a PhD in Chemistry.

Vanessa White
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Institute of Education, studying towards a MSpecTchg

Vanessa is a specialist educator in gifted and talented education. She recently completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (gifted and talented) with Distinction, and is now pursuing a Master in Specialist Teaching (gifted and talented). The focus of her research is on advancing early childhood educators access to professional learning in gifted and talented education, exploring the intersection of her work, and that of early childhood educators.

Rachel Wilson
College of Health, School of Nursing, studying towards a MN

Rachel is a registered nurse, studying toward a Master of Nursing. Rachel is using a focus group to explore the ethical element of health care rationing. Rachel's goal is to highlight this ethical issue, and promote the need for future investment in nursing to achieve a healthy and sustainable workforce and better patient outcomes.

  • Awardees 2014

Amanda Death
College of Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Environment, studying towards an MSc
Amanda is working on an Honours project which aims to assess what processes (sedimentological, geomorphic, or rheologic signatures) caused avulsion in a large lahar which travelled down the Whangaehu River following a breach in the tephra dam at Mount Ruapehu’s Crater Lake in March 2007. Amanda has collected and analysed deposits and flow records, and used computer modelling to assess the potential for more lahar avulsion hazards in the future.
Vicki Campbell
College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Institute of Education, studying towards a MEd
Vicki is studying the field of literacy development, and is particularly passionate about seeing children develop a love of reading and writing. Vicki hopes to centre her research on spelling and writing development.
Hannah Gibson
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of People, Environment and Planning, studying towards BA(Hons)
Hannah is undertaking anthropological fieldwork on Equine Assisted Development and Counselling, which is an alternative therapy in which patients work with horses. This will allow Hannah to explore the relationship between humans and animals and the ways in which we create meaningful experiences together.
Megan Gildersleven
College of Sciences, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biological Sciences, studying towards an MSc
Megan is researching the effects of age on the pharmacokinetics of two common analgesic drugs, Meloxicam and Butorphanol in chickens. By analysing blood samples and comparing results Megan will be able to ascertain whether age alters the pharmacokinetic properties of drugs, hereby enabling analgesic treatments plans to be modified based on age differences and provide adequate pain relief for the birds.
Carmel Hancock
College of Humanities and Social Sciences. School of Psychology, studying toward an MA.
Camel is interested in women’s issues from a feminist perspective, and has submitted a research proposal on men’s violence against women which can produce notions of self-blame and a lack of healthy self-identity in women where relationships of violence are reproduced.
In addition Carmel is interested in researching within a narrative or discourse analysis perspective.
Tamyra Matthews
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Psychology, studying towards an MSc
Tamyra is studying Health Psychology which takes a critical and holistic approach to health and illness by applying psychological theories and knowledge. Tamyra is researching the issue of future housing for older New Zealanders which resides within the Health Psychology discipline, given the link between the physical, social and emotional aspects of housing and an individual’s health and wellbeing.
Amber Mellor
College of Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Environment, studying towards a MEnvMgt.
Amber is studying a Master of Environmental Management. Amber’s study includes the Environmental GIS, Soil and Water Pollution and Advanced Environmental Management.
Poppy Miller
College of Sciences, Institute of Fundamental Sciences, studying towards a BSc(Hons)
Poppy is interested in the methodology of computational statistics and in the health application of statistics, specifically within genetics and infectious disease epidemiology. Poppy’s honours project combines genetic and epidemiology data to attribute campylobacteriosis cases to sources in a Bayesian setting. Poppy has also used epidemic data to develop a host=species deterministic mathematical model of pathogen infection dynamics, and for determining diagnostics for stochastic epidemic models during summer research projects.
Nicole Steele
College of Sciences, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biological Sciences, studying towards an MSc
Nicole is researching mastitis in dairy cows, in particular the rapid diagnosis of mastitis pathogens using a molecular technology, polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This technology provides faster results for veterinarians and dairy farmers, enabling them to make quicker decision around antibiotic treatment of a mastitis case. Many laboratories overseas are using PCR to diagnosis mastitis, but this is the first study of its kind in New Zealand.

Thank you ADH, great service as usual J

Lisa - Hawke's Bay

The collection and return was much
faster than I expected.
Steve - Auckland graduation

EMAIL Contact



3 Refectory Road, University Avenue
Massey University
Palmerston North


06 350 4166
Monday - Thursday 9am - 2.30pm
For extended Graduation hours, click here