Jennifer Palmer

Alumni

Kia ora! I’m a researcher and science communicator with a drive to work on treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I’m currently doing a PhD at the University of Cambridge focusing on the role of the cellular recycling system (autophagy) in neurodegeneration. I strongly believe that science is of its most benefit when there is strong two-way communication between the people doing the research and the people it hopes to help, and so I’ve been active in communicating my work not just among global scientific audiences, but also to schools, at outreach events, and to patient groups. I am a member of the judging panel for the Eureka national science communication competition and also serve on the Eureka board, helping to organise the national science leaders forum and promote science communication. I’m passionate about equal opportunities in STEM and mentor for STEM diversity programmes.

I’m also an avid tramper and climber and volunteer for conservation groups to help protect the mountains and forests I have come to love. Growing up in the beautiful coastal town of Whangaparaoa I was very lucky to watch the Spirit of New Zealand sail past, and always knew that this was something that I wanted to get involved with, and I continue to volunteer for the Spirit when I can. After overcoming my own cancer diagnosis, I have also joined the CanTeen leadership team to help other young people with their cancer journeys. I also play the flute and saxophone and enjoy performing solo and in chamber and large orchestras.

I joined the Pinnacle programme in 2015 because it sounded like the most incredible opportunity, and it certainly has been! Spirit and Outward bound helped me to better understand my values, strengths and weaknesses; Kai Waho helped me to reconnect with my roots and chase my goals, and workshops have empowered me with new skills. But for me, the most important part of my Pinnacle journey has been the amazing people that I have met, who provide a source of inspiration, encouragement, guidance, support and friendship.





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