All-round excellence earns awards

Bridget Thomas.
Bridget Thomas.
Two top University of Otago students, Bridget Thomas and Harry Flett, have received the university's premier undergraduate award, the 2017 Prince of Wales Prize.

The A+-average students received the award, including $500 each, in recognition of their outstanding academic ability and their extra-curricular interests.

Ms Thomas, originally from Christchurch, was ``honoured and grateful'' to win the prize.

She chose to study at Otago because of its strong reputation, particularly in science, as well as Dunedin's vibe and ``good student life''.

After taking a first-year plant biology paper, she was hooked and went on to study biochemistry and plant biotechnology.

Her interest in plants has extended off campus.

She has been a committee member of the Botanical Society of Otago and has helped to restore the Orokonui estuary as a volunteer with the Orokonui Living Legends initiative.

Also a keen traveller and adventurer, she spent the past New Zealand summer in Arctic Finland as a dog-sledding guide, taking care of up to 200 dogs at a time.

She plans to take a break from her studies, for more travel this year.

Harry Flett
Harry Flett
Mr Flett felt a ``mixture of disbelief and pride'' over his win.

Also previously from Christchurch, he had been attracted to study at Otago partly by ``the location, the people, the energy''.

He had always enjoyed numbers and working with people, so commerce and business were a natural study choice.

He also has gained several other academic awards and scholarships, including the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand top accounting and finance student award in 2016.

A skilled musician, he has shared his talent as a tutor and for charity events.

He completed his bachelor of commerce degree last year and will study towards a master of finance this year.

The student prize was established in 1988 by the University of Otago Graduates' Association to commemorate its golden jubilee year and to honour its patron, the Prince of Wales.

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