Lincoln PhD student Laura Keenan’s important agricultural research, which involves protecting crops from drought, has won her the 2020 Kate Sheppard Memorial Trust Award.
The prestigious award was set up to provide an opportunity for a woman to develop her potential by undertaking further education, study, research or training in areas considered to be of value to New Zealand society.
Laura was presented with the award on the 127th anniversary of NZ Women’s Suffrage (Saturday, 19 September) during a ceremony at the Kate Sheppard Memorial Wall in Christchurch. Mayor Lianne Dalziel spoke at the event and many other MPs and local Councillors attended.
As part of her PhD, Laura is creating a tool to help predict the yield and quality of a number of plants and herbs that are included in pasture mixes across New Zealand to improve drought resilience and feed supply for farmers.
Karena Brown, Chairperson of the Kate Sheppard Memorial Trust, said the research was vital.
“Warmer temperatures across New Zealand have seen more areas of the country suffer drought conditions on a regular basis and anything that can help these farmers not only survive but thrive in the future is something that we felt needed to be supported.
“With New Zealand’s reliance on the agricultural sector, we need such high calibre graduates undertaking study here, especially when the field of study is such a topical one.”
Ms Brown said the trust was pleased to be able to continue to assist talented women to achieve their dreams.
“Given the importance of food production around the world, the research being undertaken by this year’s recipient will be very important not only to New Zealand but to overseas as well.
“We are sure that Kate Sheppard would be proud to lend her name to such a worthwhile area of study.”
Lincoln University lecturer Dr Sylvia Nissen was a featured speaker at the ceremony and spoke about the importance of suffrage and the need to lower the voting age.
Dr Nissen won the Kate Sheppard Memorial Trust Award in 2013.
Read more on the Stuff website.
Agriculture is an important area of specialisation at Lincoln University. Find out more about it on theAreas of Specialisation webpage.