Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Bay psychology student wins $50k scholarship to US university

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A Bethlehem woman has won $50,000 to study psychology in the US, beating applicants from around the world to study at the "Hogwarts of Georgia".

Victoria University student Anna Boggiss, 20, won a prestigious scholarship from the Georgia Rotary Student Programme, to study for a year in the US state of Georgia.

She was the only New Zealander to win, and is one of 50 top students from around the world to be chosen.

"I'm just really excited now," she said.

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Boggiss will leave today for the University of Oglethorpe, also known as the Hogwarts of Georgia because of its design.

She said she was "very surprised" when she heard she had won.

"They said I had the top SAT [standard reasoning test] out of all the applicants. It was bizarre. That's why they chose me for that university, based on my SAT score and grade average."

The 50 students would be scattered across Georgia, and Boggiss would attend one of the best psychological research centres in the state, along with two scholarship winners from South Africa and Colombia.

She said the last New Zealander to win the Rotary scholarship was two years ago.

Boggiss found out about the scholarship through family members who encouraged her to apply.

"My whole family has been involved in Rotary since I was really young, my grandfather did Rotary service trips in Tonga, and I got to go from an early age. Him and my dad are both really involved in their Rotary," she said.

The keen psychology student hoped the small classes in Georgia would create an interactive environment to pursue psychology research, after spending last summer studying in Tauranga.

"I did a research project at Tauranga Hospital in community mental health. We did a physical activity intervention: walks - to see if physical activity made any difference.

"Ever since then I've become more passionate about adult mental health."

Boggiss said her family were excited for her, and had planned a visit over Christmas and would explore New York, Florida, New Orleans and Nashville.

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