Scholarship for PhD student
‘‘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.’’