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Scholarship for top student

2021 Alan MacDiarmid scholarship winner Hannah Penn with Masterton Trust Lands Trust education committee chairwoman Christine Brewster. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Top chemistry student Hannah Penn’s first year of university has been boosted by a science scholarship from Masterton Trust Lands Trust.

She was in her dorm room, deep into writing a university report when she received the news in a text from her mother.

“It was really motivating for me to get my assignment done,” Penn said.

A St Matthew’s College alumnus, she is in her first year of a bachelor of engineering degree at Canterbury University.

The Alan MacDiarmid scholarship means Hannah would receive $1000 each year for three years.

Penn was grateful for the scholarship, as her course textbooks cost up to $200 each.

“It alleviates a lot of the stress of the first year, not having to worry about the financial stuff.”

Penn spent many years working part-time at the Ten O’clock Cookie bakery, to save up before making the journey south to Christchurch earlier this year.

It was motivating to know she had made a significant contribution to her financial security, she said.

Penn planned to pursue a course in biomedical engineering, looking at machines and devices which helped medical procedures.

She was looking forward to starting one of her elective courses in mechatronics, where she would explore the science of artificial intelligence and robotics.

Penn credited her secondary school years with igniting her curiosity for all things science. As well as chemistry, she enjoyed and excelled in biology and physics.

The MacDiarmid scholarship was established in 2002 to recognise the outstanding achievements of Masterton-born scientist Professor Alan MacDiarmid, who was awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The scholarship is awarded annually to a top-performing chemistry student, selected through agreement by Wairarapa’s secondary school principals. Recipients of the scholarship must intend to study towards a science or science-related degree.

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