Election as a Companion is an honour recognising outstanding leadership or sustained contributions to promoting and advancing science, technology or the humanities in New Zealand.
“The Society’s Council is pleased to be able to recognise the significant impact and the sustained efforts each has made in their respective areas,” says Royal Society Te Apārangi President Professor Wendy Larner. “The honour of Companion is reserved for those who have made a contribution to society far above and beyond what might be expected of them from the roles they have held.”
Associate Professor Priestley was elected as a Companion for her work in advancing New Zealanders’ understanding of science. She has worked for more than 25 years to communicate about science issues to the New Zealand public.
After an extensive career in science communication, Associate Professor Priestley co-founded (with Dr Rhian Salmon) the Science and Society group at Victoria University of Wellington, where she teaches and researches topics in science communication and history of science. She also teaches creative science writing at the University’s International Institute of Modern Letters.
Some of Associate Professor Priestley’s previous awards include the Royal Society Te Apārangi Science Book Prize and the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize, which she used to found the Aotearoa-New Zealand Science Journalism Fund to support quality science journalism projects in New Zealand.
The award of Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi (CRSNZ) was introduced in 1999 and there are now 49 Companions.