High-flyers bound for Duke University

Tom PrebbleThe hazard of Duke is that studying at the university is very expensive.

But it is not a concern Otago Daily Times 2011 Class Act recipient Jamie Band (18), of Dunedin, and University of Otago student Tom Prebble (18), of Auckland, will have to worry about.

Their desire to create a better world has won them prestigious scholarships, worth $100,000 a year, to study at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina - one of the world's top tertiary institutions.

The scholarships, provided by New York philanthropist Julian Robertson, cover tuition and board and a living allowance for up to four years.

Jamie BandMr Band plans to study biology and cancer genetics, while Mr Prebble plans to study for a bachelor of science degree, majoring in economics.

The pair will be joined by Sarah Wright, of Rangiora, who plans to study genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Selection for the scholarships was based on academic ability, leadership potential, commitment to community service, courage, collaborative spirit and a strong ethical outlook.

Since moving from London in 2007, Mr Band has topped all his subjects at John McGlashan College and was dux at the school last year.

He achieved a near maximum score in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, and went on to gain a score of 2340 in the SAT. He is now studying science at Melbourne University.

With his passion for the life sciences and medicine, Mr Band believes a degree from Duke will enable him to make a real difference in the world.

"I aspire to work both in countries like New Zealand as well as those less fortunate, spreading my time between the two so as to improve the wellbeing of others."

While at King's College, Mr Prebble achieved scholarships in English, statistics and modelling, and four A-level A+ grades and an A in further mathematics in Cambridge International Examinations. He was top in the world for A-level thinking skills.

Studying economics at Duke would be a life-changing experience, he said.

"I want to be exposed to mind-boggling ideas that disturb my world view and make me question my thoughts and values.

"I want to influence global events in a positive way on an international stage, as either a leader in a field or for my country.

"Studying at Duke will only allow me to do this better."

The pair will begin their Duke studies in August.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz