November 26, 2004

Student Shoots for the Stars

Nayland College student David Jolly is over the moon after winning a $10,000 University of Canterbury scholarship to study astronomy.

The 18-year-old applied for the Aurora Scholarship in March. He had to submit an essay outlining why he wanted to study astronomy and received notification late last month that he had been the successful applicant.

David will receive $5000 to travel to international observatories, $4000 to help cover his first year fees and $1000 to conduct a research project at Mt John Observatory near Tekapo. The self-confessed astronomy fanatic said he couldn't wait to start his studies.

"There's a lot of careers but I can't think of anything more interesting. It involves frontline technology and it's always pushing new boundaries.

"It's a chance to do research in something new and exciting that hasn't been done before. I'm really excited about it.''

David said a visit to the Quirc telescope in Hawaii would be at the top of the list when he goes overseas. A return visit to Cape Canaveral could also be a possibility.

"We had a family holiday in the United States when I was 11 and we went to Cape Canaveral and Nasa and saw the Space Station being built.

"We went to the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space as well and saw the lunar module - that's what really got me started.''

But before he starts looking skyward, David has more earthly matters to attend to ... like starting his holiday job as an apple thinner to help pay off his astronomical student loan.