Set to make a difference

27 Mar 2017

Old Boy Hamish Thomas has been awarded a prestigious Girdlers’ Scholarship for undergraduate study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University.

While he says he is “still trying to process” the news, he is quickly getting used to the idea that later this year he will move to England, his life on a very different trajectory.

Hamish intends to study Natural Sciences, but is yet to decide whether to pursue biology plus chemistry or physics plus chemistry modules. “I enjoy science and appreciate how it can shape the future and change lives. My goal is to pursue a career that will enable me to make a difference in the world.”

The Worshipful Company of Girdlers has had an association with New Zealand since 1933 and, according to its website, “In 1950, at the instigation of the 3rd Viscount Brentford, the Company decided to provide a scholarship for an outstanding New Zealander to come to England to study for a degree”.

Hamish found out he had won the scholarship on Monday 20 March, after attending an interview in Wellington. “I think I was chosen because I excelled in different areas. In particular, the combination of my academic and cultural strengths made me a unique candidate. The selectors showed great interest in theatresports, as it was clearly one of my passions. Theatresports fosters creative and flexible thinking, which I suggested were very important skills for a scientist. I think they agreed.”

Currently a first year Health Sciences student at Otago University, Hamish plans to complete the semester – “lectures are so much more interesting without the pressure of exams” – before returning home and getting ready to leave.

His future looks bright. “I’m an even more happy and excited person than I was before. I’m looking forward to the challenges and changes ahead and can’t wait to meet the diverse and brilliant people studying and working at Cambridge.”