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Tuesday 27 June 2023 1:54pm

Fulbright and Georgetti scholarships 2023 650x400

Otago University has again had success in winning coveted Fulbright New Zealand Graduate and William Georgetti Scholarships.

Four Otago alumni have been awarded prestigious Fulbright New Zealand Graduate Scholarships for 2023.

Yasmin Olsen (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Tipā), was awarded the Fulbright Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Graduate Award; Nico Hackner and Andrea Shirtcliffe received Fulbright New Zealand Science and Innovation Graduate Awards; and Timothy Lawler was awarded a Fulbright New Zealand General Graduate Award.

It was also announced last week that Yasmin and Otago alumnus Sam Becroft have been awarded distinguished William Georgetti Scholarships for 2023.

Fulbright Graduate Scholarships

The Fulbright Programme was established in the US in 1946. Seeking to foster academic excellence and people to people connection, the Fulbright Programme aims to “bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs.”

The Fulbright-Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Graduate Award is offered in partnership with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, the Māori Centre of Research Excellence.

Penelope Borland, Executive Director of Fulbright New Zealand says; “This year, as we celebrate 75 years of Fulbright in New Zealand, we're thrilled to be able to return to our normal programme and to announce a full cohort of New Zealand Fulbright grantees who will be taking up their awards in person in the US shortly.”

The new Fulbright cohort will be honoured at the 2023 Fulbright New Zealand Awards Ceremony at Parliament Buildings on 28 June.

Fulbright Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Graduate Award

Yasmin Olsen 226px
Yasmin Olsen

Award recipient Yasmin Olsen graduated from Otago in 2015 with an LLB (Hons) and a BA majoring in English Literature.

She has previously worked as a Judge's Clerk for his Honour Justice Matthew Palmer at the Auckland High Court, and since 2018 has been a Crown Prosecutor at Kayes Fletcher Walker in Auckland.

Yasmin was also Co-Editor in Chief of the 2022 edition of Te Aho Kawe Kaupapa Ture a ngā Wāhine - the New Zealand Women's Law Journal, and recently spoke about her career at the Law at Otago's 150th celebrations.

As well as receiving the Fulbright and Georgetti scholarships, Yasmin has been awarded a Borrin Foundation-Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Māori Postgraduate Scholarship, a Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) International Peace Scholarship, and awards from the Yvonne Smith Charitable Trust and University of Otago Faculty of Law (the Sir Harold Barrowclough Scholarship in Law).

Yasmin is heading to Yale University, in Connecticut, USA, to study for a Master of Laws. Her research will examine how the criminal justice system can better serve wāhine Māori and their communities as victims and defendants, through incremental and transformative change to the justice system.

"Being awarded each of these scholarships is a huge privilege for me and my whānau,” says Yasmin. “I'm so grateful to the committees and organisations for their support for the kaupapa I'm intending to research. Of course, the honour isn't mine alone but belongs to all those who have supported me through the years.

“I consider myself really lucky to have started my legal career at Otago and to have had the opportunity to learn from tuākana like Professor Jacinta Ruru. She is an amazing role model for her students and all Māori working in the law, showing through her work that solutions from within the Māori world have the potential to create significant opportunities for our whole country.

"There is a well-known whakataukī that says, 'Me aro koe ki te hā o Hine-ahu-one - Pay heed to the dignity and power of women'. When wāhine Māori thrive, our communities thrive too. I intend to bring what I learn home to Aotearoa, and to contribute to the amazing work already being done in the area of criminal justice to improve the lives of wāhine Māori and our whānau."

Yasmin was inspired to apply for a Fulbright Award by Māori lawyers, particularly wāhine Māori, who have been previous recipients of this award and brought home what they learned in the US to Aotearoa to benefit Māori communities.

"I'd like to get involved in the criminal justice reform work happening at Yale Law School that is having a profound impact across the United States. I also look forward to connecting with other indigenous peoples within Yale and across the United States generally. Those relationships are really important to inspiring and supporting indigenous success," says Yasmin.

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Co-Director and Fulbright alumna Professor Tahu Kukutai says, “Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga is really excited to work with Fulbright to enable this opportunity for Yasmin. Her scholarship and leadership is exemplary, as is her commitment to transformative justice for our whānau and communities."

Fulbright New Zealand Science and Innovation Graduate Awards

Nico Hackner 226px
Nico Hackner

Nico Hackner graduated with a BSc in Mathematics and Physics in 2021 and a BSc (Hons) majoring in Physics in 2022. Nico will complete a PhD in Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

Andi Shirtcliffe 226px
Andrea Shirtcliffe

Andrea (Andi) Shirtcliffe has a BPharm (1988); PGCert Pharm (2002); and PGDipClinPharm (2007) from Otago. Andrea will complete a Master of Public Health specialising in Health Behaviour and Society at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

Fulbright New Zealand General Graduate Award

Tim Lawler 226px
Timothy Lawler

Timothy (Tim) Lawler graduated with a BA majoring in Politics and MIntSt in 2020. Tim will research rights protection in presidential counter-terrorism policy at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and at George Washington University in Washington DC.

Fulbright New Zealand Scholar Award

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Professor Siân Halcrow

Earlier this year, it was announced that Otago Professor Siân Halcrow was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award for 2023. The award enables Professor Halcrow to travel to the University of California, Berkeley, for research into the bioethics of the use of anatomical human remains in Aotearoa and the United States.

William Georgetti Scholarships

Also announced last week, Yasmin has been awarded a William Georgetti Scholarship, along with Law and Commerce alumnus Sam Becroft. Yasmin and Sam are among the nine 2023 Georgetti Scholarship recipients.
Established from the Estate of Hastings farmer William Georgetti, who passed away in 1943, the purpose of the Georgetti Scholarship is to encourage postgraduate study and research in fields that are important to the social, cultural or economic development of New Zealand.

Sam Becroft 226px
Sam Becroft

Sam graduated from Otago in 2018 with a BCom and LLB (Hons) and will study for a Master of Laws at either the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.

He has worked as a Judge's Clerk at the Supreme Court of New Zealand and is currently a solicitor at Kayes Fletcher Walker in Auckland.

Sam is interested in becoming a barrister who acts in both complex commercial litigation and defends those from marginalised communities in criminal trials. He is as equally interested in the chance to improve criminal justice outcomes for minorities as he is in the intellectual challenge of the law.

“It's an honour to receive a scholarship with such a long history,” says Sam. “I'm grateful to the Georgetti Trust for helping me fulfil a dream of studying overseas.” He will be taking up the scholarship in October.

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