Bachelor of Engineering student Kaitlin Te Rito has scooped the Kordia Women in Technology scholarship for 2020.
Te Rito, whose Bachelor of Engineering includes chemical and biological engineering, is also studying a postgraduate diploma in engineering with a focus on mechatronics.
She is looking to build a career in the agricultural sector, with a focus on ways to apply innovation and new technologies to solve challenges around waste, sustainability and energy.
But that's not all – she's also working on a dairy farm to gain experience in the sector.
She says the scholarship is a great way to inspire and support women who are studying STEM subjects.
“Many girls don't enter into STEM studies due to the lack of understanding of the degrees and the career opportunities available. It's vital to educate girls on the possibilities study in the STEM subjects can offer them.
“More diversity in the STEM industries will see a wider range of creative and inquisitive minds working together to create a better New Zealand.
Te Rito will receive $5000 that will go towards her tuition.
According to Kordia Group executive general manager of people, Anna Ferguson, the scholarship is a part of the company's overall goals to bring gender balance into the tech sector.
“The technology industry has historically struggled to attract female talent, and while we're seeing changes take root, it's important for companies like Kordia to stimulate opportunities for young women looking to embark in careers in this field,” says Ferguson.
“Working with the University of Waikato to support female talent is one small way we're encouraging women to succeed to their full potential by advancing their studies in technical subjects.
The scholarship selection panel comprised the University of Waikato's Associate Professor Michael Mucalo; Kordia's head of network architecture and design Regan Hughes; and Anna Ferguson.
“This year's applicants displayed a high level of enthusiasm and potential, making it difficult to select a single recipient,” says Mucalo.
“A scholarship is a tangible way to promote technical subjects to students considering their study options, and it's great to see an industry leader like Kordia recognising the value in more women pursuing higher education in STEM subjects.”
Regan Hughes adds, “The selection panel was not only impressed with Kaitlin's excellent academic results, but her passion and clear vision around what she wants to achieve. She's confident in her own abilities and expertise, while maintaining a down to earth approach, which aligns with Kordia's values and vision. We wish her the best in her future endeavours, and I'm confident she will make a valuable contribution to any organisation she joins after study.