Nayland alumnus earns impressive accolade


Since leaving Nayland College in 1986, alumnus Doctor Judith Bateup has garnered an impressive list of achievements, the most recent of which is her election as a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

This honour recognises those who promote science, technology and humanities to the greater New Zealand public. On the 31st of July, Dr Bateup visited Wellington for the Society’s annual meeting, at which she was elected a Companion. She was nominated by her scientific peers and this was supported by scientists already Companions of the Society.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be elected a Companion of the Royal Society because it is a real acknowledgement from the people I work with of the job I’m doing… It’s an acknowledgement of all the jobs I’ve done with schools as well.”

In addition to this latest accolade, Dr Bateup has received other awards for her work. A New Zealand Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award was presented to her at parliament in 2016, as well as The Cranwell Medal in 2018 for her communication of science to the general public, given to her by the New Zealand Association of Scientists.

Dr Bateup has a busy schedule at her place of employment, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of Otago. She teaches these subjects to general science, pharmacy, medical and medical laboratory science students in their second year at the university, through laboratory classes and lectures.

Some of Dr Bateup’s extra work outside of her job includes preparing resources on microbiology and immunology for school students and teachers, hosting workshops of Year 11 students and visiting rural schools. She hopes to cultivate life-long learning in students by passing on her knowledge about things that will affect them during their lifetime, such as vaccinations and antibiotic use.

“Microbiology is this amazing, unseen world of microbes and that’s why I’ve gotten into the extra work with schools… I love my subject because it’s forever changing with the new research coming out,” she said.

When reflecting on her time at Nayland, Dr Bateup remembers that students were encouraged to be individual and the best they possibly could. Similar to today, opportunities were plentiful. Dr Bateup grasped many of these opportunities: she was the editor of Circuit magazine for a couple of years, participated in school productions and tutored other students.

Looking to the future, Dr Bateup is excited to continue with what she is already doing. “More of the same, please! I’ll just carry on teaching my classes of interested and enthusiastic university students and the work I do with schools. I’m very happy with it all.” 

By student reporter Aleisha Smith