Karleigh O'Connor

Class of: 2011
School: Waiopehu College
Scholarship Partner: Horowhenua District Council

Karleigh is the first student from Levin to be awarded a First Foundation scholarship. This young woman of outstanding calibre has an impressive intellect which is matched with a drive to succeed. Described as "a resilient young woman of high personal integrity," her Principal wrote that "her participation in the Horowhenua District Youth Council and also the National Youth Diversity Forum are testament to both her leadership potential and public spirit."

At school Karleigh's activities were extensive and included being a Stage Challenge Team Leader 2011, a member of the Polynesian Culture group and the Senior A Netball  and Soccer teams, as well as being a Junior and Senior house leader. She was involved in the Student Council and tutoring. In 2009 she was honoured with the Principal's Award for Academic Excellence and in 2010 she passed NCEA Level 1 with an Excellence endorsement and was Yr 11 Dux

From a large family, Karleigh, in her First Foundation application expressed the desire to be a role model for her younger siblings in pursuing higher education and working hard. In 2012 she completed the pre-requisite year in Health Science and was accepted for a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Otago University which she completed at the end of 2015, having won a
Brain Health Research Centre Scholarship for Maori Students in 2014.

In February 2015 she embarked on a 10 week research project in preparation for her honours - studying Default brain networks in patients suffering psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, using EEG. 

Karleigh is currently continuing with her studies at Otago University.