Scholarship Winner Inspired by Physics Lecturer

March 21, 2016 11:24 AM
Unison Scholarship Winner 2016 - Ellen Garrity

University of Canterbury student, Ellen Garrity was on a path towards a Bachelor of Science, until an inspired physics lecture sparked her interest in electrical engineering, which ultimately saw her apply for, and awarded, Unison’s 2016 Electrical Engineering Scholarship.

Unison General Manager of Networks and Operations, Jaun Park said Unison’s selection panel was impressed by Ellen’s passion for innovation and development in the field of electrical engineering.

“We had a very high calibre of applicants again this year, but Ellen stood out during the interview process – not only for her academic achievements, but also for her interest and enthusiasm in exploring sustainable electrical energy solutions, which is something Unison is very focused on.”

At the time of applying for the Scholarship, the Hamilton Hillcrest High School old girl was nearing the end of her first year of a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Canterbury, but had already made the decision to change degrees.

“Last year, I was studying towards a BSc intending to major in maths, physics and astronomy.

“It wasn’t until my physics lecturer gave an enthusiastic and eccentric presentation on the subject of electromagnetism that my interest and passion for physics and electrical engineering was sparked.”

Now entering her first year of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at University of Canterbury, the Unison scholarship will cover Ellen’s annual course fees, provide employment at Unison during her university breaks, and has the potential for a graduate role on completion of her degree.

 Ellen also has plans to put her study to use in her passion for communications.

“I am eager to study more about the communications and signal processing area of Electrical Engineering, and I’m excited to learn more about the role radio communication has on Unison’s electricity network.

 “As an active member of the Hamilton Search and Rescue Group, radio communications are of critical importance during a search, so it’s a real passion for me.”

Along with her enthusiasm for communication and electrical engineering, Ellen is also a keen tramper, climber, and skier, and has recently taken up the martial art of Aikido.

“My love for the outdoors has largely contributed to my passion of preserving our environment.  I’m keen to learn more about how power generation, renewable energy sources, and using energy more efficiently can benefit both the environment and humankind.”

Unison’s Engineering Scholarship, which was previously only available to residents of Rotorua, Taupo and Hawke’s Bay who were intending to, or currently studying electrical engineering, was opened up nationwide this year, and extended to incorporate Bachelor of Engineering students majoring in either Electronic or Mechatronics Engineering. 

Unison Group Chief Executive Officer Ken Sutherland said the aim of Unison’s Scholarship programme was to attract and develop the next generation of engineers to support Unison’s vision of delivering world-class network and energy solutions to its customers.

“Our ability to deliver a sustainable network for generations to come relies on attracting and retaining talented and passionate employees with a passion for innovation. With applicants of Ellen’s calibre, we’re confident the future of our network is in good hands.”