Alumni engagement

News & events

Alumni engagement

1 April, 2021

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Speakers, Rachel Brown and Associate Professor, Geoff Willmott, at the alumni event.

We continue to celebrate the achievements of our alumni – in academia, government and industry.

We keep in touch through newsletters, LinkedIn and other social media and through alumni-focused events. We’re developing relations with our partner alumni offices which has meant we can support their alumni communications (newsletters and networks) to extend our reach and connect  to our shared alumni. We’re also increasingly inviting our alumni to join wider MacDiarmid Institute events and initiatives, including industry advisory connections and other networks.

In November last year, Deputy Director, Associate Professor Geoff Willmott, hosted our Auckland alumni event, ‘The Future of Work: Sustainability.’ The event, which was also livestreamed via Facebook, featured a talk by CEO of the Sustainable Business Network, Rachel Brown, and our very own alumna, Dr Lita Lee, now at start-up Mint Innovation. It was well-attended, equally in person and online via Facebook Live, with lots of engagement in the discussion of sustainability.

Alumni profiles

Dr Lita Lee

Untitled design 22 v2Dr Lita Lee completed her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Canterbury under the supervision of MacDiarmid Principal Investigator, Professor Alison Downard. In 2019, Dr Lee was awarded a MacDiarmid Institute Alumni Business Scholarship which supported her to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland. Her project involved designing an app that reveals a ‘sustainability star rating’ when products are scanned, enabling consumers to make better informed and sustainable purchasing decisions.

Dr Lee is now working as an R&D research scientist at Auckland start-up, Mint Innovation, where her focus is to recover copper from e-waste using electrochemistry.

Dr Ankita Gangotra

Untitled design 1 v4Engineer turned physicist Dr Ankita Gangotra graduated from the University of Auckland in 2020 with a physics PhD supervised by Principal Investigator Associate Professor Geoff Willmott. Dr Gangotra was one of the MacDiarmid's first funded interns, exploring equity, diversity and inclusion policy options for Aotearoa New Zealand, based at the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. She then went on to Measurement Scientist roles at startup company Toha under Professor Shaun Hendy, and with Calm the Farm, working with local farmers to develop science policy and measure environmental impact. She is now based in Washington DC as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of Physics, researching low carbon construction materials from a science and policy perspective.