Pahiatua’s Rose Collis and dairy expert Bob Monson. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Parliament is a long way from Pahiatua – but’s that’s exactly where veterinary student Rose Collis found herself on Wednesday.

Collis, of Pahiatua received a $10,000 Freemasons Post Graduate Scholarship to help towards her PhD which she is studying for with the food assurance team at AgResearch.

Her doctoral project aims to investigate the prevalence and distribution of antimicrobial resistance factors in dairy farm environments in New Zealand.

An early-career microbiologist who is passionate about improving the lives of New Zealanders, Collis is enrolled at Massey University in the School of Veterinary Science.

A key outcome of her research is to identify farm practices that may reduce the burden of antimicrobial resistant bacteria on human and animal health.

She hopes to eventually work in the related fields of microbiology and food safety.

Collis says a better understanding of antimicrobial resistance levels in dairy farm production systems will also enhance New Zealand’s position as a global player in food safety.

With a passion for science that started at school, Rose now volunteers for an interactive science programme at primary schools in Palmerston North, introducing pupils to microbiology.

The programme aims to give children a taste of the hidden and exciting world of microbes and how important they are in our day-to-day lives.

Freemasons university scholarships is the largest privately-funded scholarship programme in New Zealand.

Eight postgraduate students including Collis received a total of $80,000 and 20 university students a total of $120,000 from the Freemasons Charity.

The recipients who attended the ceremony at Parliament’s Grand Hall came from AUT, Auckland, Waikato, Massey, Victoria, Canterbury, Lincoln and Otago Universities.

The 28 students are charting a range of careers.

Many of its alumni, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, can be found in key positions in New Zealand and many overseas countries.

As Freemasons grand master Mark Winger said the kindness, compassion and zeal the students had shown in their community and voluntary work, while consistently achieving top grades in their studies, is to be applauded.

“Often, their generosity of spirit is part of a family tradition. . . . We send our warmest congratulations and best wishes for a successful career applying their talents for the betterment of New Zealand.”