The 15th Biennial Zonta Science Award winner will be announced by the Governor General, the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, at
a ceremony at Government House on Thursday 7 June 2018. The Award was established in 1990 by the Zonta Club of
Wellington to further the status of New Zealand women in science.
The 2018 recipient is Dr Jessie Prebble, recently employed as a Plant Systematist at Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research.
Jessie was selected as this year’s recipient after a rigorous selection process following the receipt of 33 very strong
applications from early career women scientists.
Along with the accolade of being this year’s Zonta Science Award winner, Jessie will receive $18,000 to fund activities
to further her career and research.
Jessie has chosen to use the award to visit three laboratories in the USA and to work with leading plant scientists at
the University of Florida. There, she will learn a new technique of DNA sequencing which improves scientist’s ability to
discover and describe species. Identifying species quickly and accurately is an important first step in managing them
effectively. She will then be able to share this new knowledge with other scientists in New Zealand. Her research is
important for the biosecurity of New Zealand plant species and the conservation of threatened species. It also has the
potential to contribute to commercial ventures involving plant species such as the development of rewarewa honey.
Says Jessie, “This award is such an honour. I think there are many ways it will help me. It is a wonderful confidence
boost, and so nice to have an opportunity to celebrate what I have achieved so far. It also shows others that the work I
do is valued, and that recognition can lead to other opportunities.”