Isaac recently completed a BSc in Economics and Genetics at University of Otago and will soon complete a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) before heading over to Oxford where he will study a Master of Philosophy in Economics.

Honed through his studies to date, Isaac’s career aims are to address the existential risks from emerging technologies such as synthetic biology and artificial intelligence by working in science and technology policy, particularly biotechnology.

Isaac has consistently ranked in the top 1% in all courses he’s studied and has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships including the Erkin Bairam Memorial Prize awarded to the top male student in 300-level Economics (2022), and the Louis Olive Memorial Prize for the most outstanding student in Second Year Law (2019).

Isaac’s referees all comment that it is not simply his exceptional academic achievements that make him an ideal Rhodes Scholar, with one noting, “Isaac possesses a rare combination of intellectual brilliance, outstanding academic achievements, and exemplary personal qualities.”

In his community, Isaac has made an indelible impact as a member of the National Youth Council for the Voice of the Young and Care Experienced Whakarongo Mai (VWM), where he volunteers his time to advocate for improvements in the foster care system.

This work is personally important to him. “I experienced substantial instability moving between multiple homes while in foster care, but once I had more stability, I was able to slowly grow my confidence and become willing to take more risks. This was one of the things that contributed to the capabilities I have today. Further, once I saw how negative the experiences of many in care were compared to mine, I aimed to use my abilities to help improve our care system.”

Isaac plans to continue his good work improving foster care systems as a volunteer and is looking forward to meeting inspirational people while at Oxford and making the most of the challenges and opportunities available to him.