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Otago PhD candidate wins Chinese scholarship

Tuesday 20 March 2018 10:48pm

Weiwei Zhang.

A University of Otago PhD candidate has been recognised by the Chinese Government for her outstanding academic performance.

Weiwei Zhang has been honoured by the China Scholarship Council with a Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad, worth US$6000 (about NZ$8200).

She is one of only three students in New Zealand, and 500 internationally, to receive the award this year.

The scholarship was established in 2003 to recognise the academic excellence of self-financed Chinese students studying different disciplines in 33 countries, including America, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

“It is very competitive. I am very lucky,” she said.

Weiwei will receive her scholarship at an official ceremony in Wellington next month.

She started her PhD study, based on false memories, at Otago in 2014, having completed a master's in China.

“I was keen to pursue my PhD overseas, especially in English-speaking countries.

"I just want to use what I have learned to make a contribution to this lovely society."

“I considered three aspects when choosing the university: one whether there is a teacher in a university who did research on memory, false memory in particular because I have been interested in this topic for years; whether psychology is a strong discipline in that university; whether people there are nice and friendly, and the place is peaceful and safe.

“Otago absolutely meets all of these points.”

Weiwei is currently undertaking postdoctoral study in Professor Harlene Hayne’s lab, extending her PhD research into applied situations such as court.

“I just want to use what I have learned to make a contribution to this lovely society.”