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In July 2021 we said farewell to Jane Williams, who filled the role of Group Services Administrator (GSA) with aplomb and was the first staff member to say goodbye by writing and performing an original song. Taylar Henwood joined us as a temporary GSA while recruitment began for a longer-term placement but soon found a role outside the University more in line with her future career plans.

Meenal Dewakar joined us on secondment as a part-time Group Services Coordinator to assist with a couple of projects underway in semester 2 2021. Meenal’s experience as committees secretary for the faculty gave her a good foundation to work from.

Sheeja Sajan joined us on 11 October as Senior Research Programme Coordinator. Sheeja came to SOVS from a similar role in the Faculty of Engineering and we look forward to getting to know her over the next few months.

Congratulations are due to Alyssa Lie, Gaganashree Shivashankar, and Rebecca Findlay, all of whom recently submitted their PhD theses. We were pleased to be able to acknowledge their achievement with the traditional cake on the balcony not long before Auckland was plunged into a Covid-19 level 4 lockdown.

In other student news, Songyan An begin his PhD with Ehsan during the lockdown in September, and we were very pleased to receive news that Ecem Altan is likely to be able to resume her studies in the coming months.