Jannik Wittgen | John W Turnbull Kupe Leadership Scholar

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Mechatronics

 What is the optimal use of our limited resources? This tricky question is often faced in engineering and has no perfect solution. How do we balance benefits & drawbacks, reconciling differing opinions and doing so in a complex & political society?

Rockets use vast resources, contributing to global warming, extreme weather, and ozone layer degradation. However, satellites allow us to monitor planetary boundaries, enable disaster relief, and support drug development. This requires leaders to carefully evaluate missions to limit launches to essential payloads, ideally on reusable rockets.

We need leaders who consider the broader impacts of their work, value the advice of their team and seek to continually do better. I aspire to be an engineer who solves big problems with solutions that fit the context and community, but equally, I aspire to be a leader who is empathetic, receptive and drives society to face the tricky problem of practical resource use head-on.

Sponsor: John W Turnbull Estate 

Mentor: Greg Cross, a serial entrepreneur, an original technology nomad and someone who has spent his career travelling and living in every major tech market in the world. Initially, Greg was taken under the wing, and inspired by, Bill Foreman of Trigon Industries. Through an early career in various tech companies, Greg worked his way up to become the Microsoft New Zealand CEO and led the company through a phase of rapid growth encompassing the launch of Windows 95. Greg took on multiple Chair positions including the IceHouse, NZ Trade and Enterprises’ Global Beachhead programme and SLI Systems through an IPO on NZX. Most recently however, Greg has again taken a fledgling Auckland University project and turned it into a commercial success. In partnership with the Academy Award winning, Dr Mark Sagar, he co-founded Soul Machines to build a HumanOS for Artificial Intelligence and explore the future of human-machine cooperation.