Two University of Waikato students will share this year’s water sciences prize after the selection panel couldn’t separate the pair.
Waikato Regional Council chair Alan Livingston presented the prize for book vouchers worth $500 to Celeste Davies-Calway and Kate Rogers during Thursday’s council meeting.
It’s believed to be the first time the prize has been awarded to two people since it was established in 1990 by Sir Ross Jansen with the University of Waikato Earth Sciences Department.
“It’s a privilege to present this prize to two students who have shown outstanding ability in an area of work that is very topical and dear to the hearts of councillors and our communities,” Cr Livingston said.
The prize is awarded annually to the top student enrolled in water science papers within the School of Science (Faculty of Science and Engineering), in Level III courses.
Professor Earl Bardsley, the university’s senior academic in hydrology, said: “Last year was a bit unusual in that there were two outstanding students involved with identical levels of achievement in water resource studies – it was just not possible to separate them.”
Last year Celeste Davies-Calway completed a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Environmental and Earth Sciences. She’s returning to university this year to begin study towards a Masters of Earth Science, focusing on coastal science.
She has worked for the council the past two summers, completing a coastal structures survey last summer and doing coastal water quality sampling and helping with the Regional Estuary Monitoring programme this summer.
Her passion for the environment started at a young age as she lived at Tuateawa on the Coromandel Peninsula till she was five, surrounded by beautiful beaches and native bush. She moved with her family to Katikati, where she went to primary school and college.
“I love the great outdoors, but the coast is my passion and so it was natural that my study would be about understanding and protecting it.
“I’ve been surfing for 10 years, attending competitions and helping younger kids to learn how to surf,” she said. “I also love to get out and adventure on many coastal walks.”
Kate Rogers is Hawke’s Bay born and bred, with extended family in Te Pahu. Last October she completed her Bachelor of Science degree, double majoring in Environmental and Biological Sciences.
“I really enjoyed aspects of water quality, oceanography and ecology in particular throughout my three years of study,” she said. “I’ve been employed by Auckland Council as a monitoring and research student over the summer season, and this has exposed me to marine and freshwater quality and ecology monitoring programmes as well as forest plotting, fish surveys and more.
“I’m a strong advocate for the environment and love spending time outdoors, from camping at the beach to exploring forests and mountains.”
Kate will be returning to university this year to undertake a Masters in ecology and biodiversity.