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Scholarship success for research to help fight incurable infections


Hannah Wykes - William Georgetti Scholarship Recipient 2021

Hannah Wykes is part of the Scholars@Massey programme, an innovative programme for scholar development unique to Aotearoa New Zealand.


Master of Science student Hannah Wykes has been awarded the prestigious William Georgetti Scholarship for her biological sciences research.

The 21-year-old’s research focuses on novel synergistic antibiotic combinations. “Bacterial pathogens are developing resistance to current antibiotics at an alarming rate, and the development of new antibiotics cannot keep up. Combining existing antibiotics into new treatments is an additional strategy that can help in the fight against antibiotic resistance,” Ms Wykes says.

Originally from Cambridge, Ms Wykes is studying at the Manawatū campus, where she also completed her Bachelor of Science (Chemistry and Microbiology).

The William Georgetti Scholarship is a prestigious scholarship to encourage postgraduate study and research, normally in New Zealand, in a field that is important to the social, cultural or economic development of New Zealand. This scholarship was established from the Estate of Mr Georgetti who died in 1943. 

“I am very grateful to have received this scholarship. It will be a big help in funding my studies and helping me further my career,” she says.

Ms Wykes has a grade point average (GPA) of 8.9, and received straight A grades for her Bachelor of Science. She has previously been awarded the Massey University Vice Chancellor’s High Achiever Scholarship in 2018, was a 2020 Amgen Scholar at the University of Melbourne, received the John Ayers Summer Scholarship, the Massey University Scholar Award in 2020, and the Graduate Women Manawatū Postgraduate Scholarship in 2021.

“I would like to thank my supervisor Associate Professor Jasna Rakonjac and my lecturers for always being enthusiastic and willing to answer my questions. And I would like to thank my parents for all their support, because I would not be where I am today without them.”

Dr Rakonjac, from the School of Fundamental Sciences, says she is excited to see where Ms Wykes’ research takes her. “Hannah is a brilliant, hard-working and independent postgraduate student who is on track to become an outstanding emerging scientist. Hannah’s research will help fend off incurable infections due to drug-resistant superbugs.”

Ms Wykes is part of the Scholars@Massey programme, an innovative programme for scholar development unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. The programme is designed for Massey University students who have been awarded scholarships by creating a community of scholars for peer networking and support. The community aims to maximise potential through personal development and to increase success in future scholarships, grants and awards.

Learning and development opportunities for the Scholars@Massey community include workshops on topics like stress management, defeating self-sabotage and tips and tricks for study. There are also week-long activities and events on important topics like leadership, publishing and career development. Scholarship information sessions are facilitated for high value, prestigious scholarships, fellowships and awards, and eligible scholars are supported to apply.

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