Kaitlin Te Rito has been awarded the Kordia Women in Technology scholarship for 2020. The scholarship was established by Kordia in association with the University of Waikato to acknowledge and support up-and-coming female talent and future technology leaders.
Te Rito, an undergraduate student at the University of Waikato studying a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical and Biological Engineering, alongside a Post Graduate Diploma in Engineering with a mechatronics flavour, will receive $5000NZD towards her tuition.
Te Rito says the scholarship is a great way to inspire and support women into studying STEM subjects at a tertiary level.
“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,” says Te Rito.
Te Rito plans to apply her knowledge and skills to build a career in the agricultural sector, looking at ways to apply innovation and new technologies to solve challenges around waste, sustainability and energy. She is currently working on a dairy farm alongside her studies to gain firsthand experience of the sector.
Te Rito says that women can have great impact in the STEM industries and is hopeful that more women will choose to embark on careers in these areas in the future.
“More diversity in the STEM industries will see a wider range of creative and inquisitive minds working together to create a better New Zealand.”
Regan Hughes, a member of the selection panel and Kordia’s Head of Network Architecture and Design, says Te Rito was a standout recipient of the scholarship.
“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.”
According to a study by Tech Women, only 26 percent of people working in the New Zealand technology sector are females, a statistic Kordia is eager to see improve.
Kordia Group Executive General Manager of People, Anna Ferguson says the scholarship is part of wider Kordia Group initiatives to address the gender imbalance in the technology 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.”
“Working with 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.”
University of Waikato’s Michael Mucalo says that the quality of applicants for this year’s scholarship was impressive.
“This year’s applicants displayed a high level of enthusiasm and potential, making it difficult to select a single recipient. 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.”
The scholarship selection was made by a selection panel comprised of the University of Waikato’s Associate Professor Michael Mucalo, Kordia’s Head of Network Architecture and Design Regan Hughes and Executive General Manager for People at Kordia Group, Anna Ferguson.