Double doctorate scholarship win for siblings

FAMILY AFFAIR: Tom Stewart, 23, and Sarah Stewart, 24, both won the same $95,000 scholarship.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Tom Stewart, 23, and Sarah Stewart, 24, both won the same $95,000 scholarship.

There's a double cause for celebration in the Stewart household.

Siblings Sarah, 24, and Tom Stewart, 23, have both been awarded $95,000 vice-chancellor doctoral scholarships from the AUT university in Auckland.

They live with their  bus driver dad and the  scholarships mean they can pay him board.

"I am really happy and a bit relieved, because that much money is really helpful," Sarah Stewart says.

The siblings can now work on their PhDs fulltime.

Sarah Stewart is now halfway through her thesis after getting straight As in every paper of her health science degree and finishing her honours year three months early.

She is looking at the function and structure of the foot focusing on the big toe joint in people with gout.

Sarah Stewart says gout is becoming more common in New Zealand and it is sad to see how badly it affects people.

"It's quite a big problem, it's right up there with diabetes."

Tom Stewart, who also has an A average, completed a sport and recreation degree with a double major in exercise science and physical activity and nutrition.

He did a postgraduate diploma in health science and started working on his masters, but then transferred his research to a PhD.

He is researching how environment features affect the activity levels of 12 to 18-year-olds.

Both siblings also tutor at AUT.

The vice-chancellor's doctoral scholarships aim to reduce the emotional and financial pressures that come with doctoral study, not just on the students but also on their friends and families.

The scholars are given a $25,000 stipend each year for three years and their tuition fees are completely covered.

The Stewarts will both finish their PhDs in about 18 months.

North Shore Times