MEET THE FREEMASONS CHARITY SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS.... Part 1
AUCKLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Adam Szentes of St Johns, Auckland is studying towards a Bachelor of Communication Studies, majoring in public relations and minoring in journalism. During his study, Adam has gained insights into modern communications and the nature of public opinion, as well as the roles that the media and other organisations play in shaping attitudes and beliefs. He takes a keen interest in social equality, diversity and inclusion, and in using communication to create positive behavioural change.
Adam is an active member of Out@AUT, a network for rainbow staff and students, and also of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students. Adam has participated, among much else, in the ‘March of the Living’, an education programme that brings together students from around the world to study the history of the Holocaust in Poland. He is also a former member of the Board of Trustees at Glendowie College, representing the student voice on governance matters.
Alongside his studies, Adam interns in organisations to gain work experience. This includes being a communications consultant for the Unicorn Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping educate and support New Zealand sufferers of neuro-endocrine tumours/carcinomas. He is also community manager for ‘Gotta Love New Zealand’, an online community for people who love travel and adventure within New Zealand.
Adam looks forward to working in roles where he can help research public issues and influence behaviour for social good. He has a particular passion to improve inclusion and equality for people in workplaces and in wider society. He is also interested in postgraduate study, based on any future experiences in this field.
AUCKLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY POSTGRADUATE
Diversity and inclusion are hallmarks of Chris Griffiths of Melons Bay, Auckland as he pursues his Master of Philosophy.
His research focuses on the experience of diverse people working within successful teams in New Zealand’s goods-producing industries. The aim is to make these experiences available as examples of how to design beneficial work teams in the future, within and beyond New Zealand’s goods-producing industries.
With his extensive career in business management, Chris notes that migration is changing the demographic profile of the New Zealand workplace, with work groups made up of people with different personalities, values and ideas, and who come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. This means that, increasingly, diversity and inclusion in the workplace is becoming a business and community necessity in our increasingly connected and mobile society.
Chris fits in his Master’s studies while working as a category manager with Spotless Group. He is also a research assistant for a study about refugees and immigrant Millennials working in New Zealand. Alongside his work and studies, which most recently included an MBA, Chris makes a strong contribution to the education sector, with 18 years’ governance experience as a trustee at various schools. Currently he is chairperson of the Board of Trustees for Bucklands Beach Intermediate School.
Chris has three children who are all now at university. Two of his children, like their father, attend the Auckland University of Technology.
UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND POSTGRADUATE
Forging advances in medicinal chemistry is where the future lies for Alan Cameron of Mission Bay, Auckland, currently in the final months of completing a PhD in Chemistry. His research topic focuses on development of antimicrobial peptides. Some of the compounds produced have proved highly potent, with broad-spectrum activity against Gram-positive bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria, and with a large therapeutic window.
Alan’s interest in medicine emerged at a young age. At first he thought of becoming a doctor. Yet, over time he began to realise that his true interest lay in the medicines themselves and how they work. At high school, chemistry came naturally to Alan, leading him to pursue tertiary studies in this field. His first step was undertaking a Bachelor of Science specialising in medicinal chemistry, in which he achieved First Class Honours.
Outside the laboratory, Alan is heavily involved in the New Zealand Freestyle BMX community. His major contribution has been helping to create and maintain riding tracks at the PMP trails. The world-class BMX jumping facility for expert riders is located in a forest setting in west Auckland.
After completing his PhD, Alan will pursue a position as a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry at a university in New Zealand or Australia.