Soaring to new heights

Research into oxygen deprivation at high altitudes and policies to improve economic growth in resource-rich countries will be pursued by two UNSW graduates awarded General Sir John Monash scholarships.

Monash scholarship inside

Research into the effects of oxygen deprivation at high altitudes and policies to improve economic growth in resource-rich countries will be pursued by two outstanding UNSW graduates awarded General Sir John Monash scholarships.

A total of eight scholarships acknowledging exceptional leadership, academic excellence and community engagement were presented by Governor-General Quentin Bryce last week.

Winners can use the $50,000 scholarship to study at any tertiary institution in the world and then return to contribute to Australia.

A record-breaking mountaineer, Nikki Bart, will study the effects of hypoxia - or oxygen deprivation - something she has had first-hand experience with at high altitudes.

The recent medicine graduate, who has scaled the highest peaks of the world's seven continents with her mother, will undertake a PhD at Oxford University in England.

Aside from her sporting achievements, Nikki has done health work in Guatemala, was co-chair of the Medical Students' Aid Project and won a university prize for dermatology.

Also choosing to undertake a PhD at Oxford, Sam Wills will investigate how policy-makers can limit the 'resource curse', or the tendency for resource-rich countries to experience less economic growth and poorer development outcomes than countries with few natural resources.

The University Medallist, Co-Op Scholar and first-class honours commerce graduate is already in Oxford studying for a Master of Philosophy.

Prior to this Sam worked in public and corporate strategy for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and McKinsey & Company.

He has volunteered on community housing projects in the Philippines and Fiji with Habitat in Humanity, and has also worked as a tutor helping disadvantaged university students.

"Nikki and Sam are outstanding scholars and young leaders already making significant contributions to the community," said Deputy Chancellor Gabrielle Upton, who attended the ceremony last week.

"Their academic pursuits and life experiences overseas will only enrich their future contribution to Australia and the world," she said.

Media contact: Ellie Wong | 9385 3263 | e.wong@unsw.edu.au