Schol­ar­ship for PhD stu­dent

Matamata Chronicle - - Classified - ABBY BROWN

‘‘It’s not an easy sub­ject, but it’s an in­ter­est­ing sub­ject.’’

A for­mer Mata­mata res­i­dent, Jes­sica Turner, has won an­other schol­ar­ship to help her with re­search that could save lives.

The Waikato Univer­sity doc­toral stu­dent is study­ing ‘Sup­port­ing In­ter­ac­tive Sys­tem Test­ing with In­ter­ac­tion Se­quences’ for her PhD.

The com­puter science stu­dent and doc­toral as­sis­tant has just been awarded a Top Achiever Doc­toral Schol­ar­ship of $5000 to ac­com­pany her Univer­sity of Waikato doc­toral schol­ar­ship, which gives her $22,000 a year plus course fees.

‘‘My in­ter­est is in in­ter­ac­tive sys­tems that are ‘safety crit­i­cal’, such as in­fu­sion pumps that are used for dis­pens­ing medicine and must be pre­cise,’’ she said.

In­fu­sion pumps, which ad­min­is­ter medicine to pa­tients, are used world­wide even though the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) has re­ceived 56,000 re­ports of in­jury or death be­cause the de­vices over- or un­der-sup­ply medicine.

Turner’s work could find some so­lu­tions to this by find­ing ways to test the de­vices and solve is­sues be­fore they are put into use with real pa­tients.

She also wants to in­spire more women to study com­puter science and maths.

There aren’t a lot of women do­ing post­grad­u­ate study in com­puter science and maths at Waikato – 16 women and 102 men, and there are only four women do­ing PhDs, com­pared to 37 men.

It’s some­thing she would like to see change.

‘‘It’s not an easy sub­ject, but it’s an in­ter­est­ing sub­ject and one that’s only go­ing to be­come more im­por­tant.’’

High­lights of her five years of study­ing, in­clud­ing grad­u­at­ing with first class hon­ours af­ter four years of a Bach­e­lor of Com­put­ing and Math­e­mat­i­cal Sci­ences de­gree, was be­ing named a fi­nal­ist for the Google Anita Borg schol­ar­ship.

She trav­elled to Google’s Sydney of­fice for the scholar’s re­treat and said be­ing around other in­spir­ing fe­males was awesome.

Turner had thought she would study mu­sic when she grad­u­ated from Mata­mata Col­lege, as she had passed sev­eral Royal School of Mu­sic ex­am­i­na­tions, but her com­puter teacher and ca­reer guidance coun­sel­lor sug­gested com­puter science.

‘‘I be­gan us­ing com­put­ers at Mata­mata Chris­tian School where com­puter use was en­cour­aged,’’ she said.

‘‘This was fol­lowed on at Mata­mata Col­lege where my com­puter stud­ies teacher Mr Billing­ham en­cour­aged me to take up com­puter science at univer­sity.’’

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