Waikato engineering student Emily Sopers has been awarded the inaugural Women in Technology Scholarship – an annual prize established to acknowledge and support up-and-coming female talent and future technology leaders.
The scholarship was set up by leading New Zealand telecommunications provider Kordia in a bid to address the gender imbalance in the information and communications technology sector. Successful applicants receive $5000 towards their tuition, and upon graduation are offered employment with Kordia or its independent cyber security division, Aura Information Security.
Currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, Emily says diversity in the workplace is very important to her, and feels inspired by Kordia’s goal to increase the number of women working in technology. “Although it can be intimidating entering a workforce dominated by males, I also find it very empowering,” she says. “I feel incredibly honoured and excited that Kordia saw my potential in the technology sector and I’m thankful for the support they’ve given me to further my career aspirations.”
Kordia’s Executive General Manager People and Culture, Anna Ferguson, says the company is excited to champion the role of women in the technology sector and is thrilled to have found an outstanding recipient for the scholarship. "Emily was clearly a stand out,” she says. “She not only demonstrated excellent academic merit and dedication, but more importantly she displayed remarkable determination, a thirst for learning and solving complex problems, which align well with Kordia's vision and values."
Kordia CEO Scott Bartlett says the scholarship is part of a wider Kordia Group initiative to increase its number of female employees. “For too long this industry has been dominated by men and while the picture is slowly changing, we think it could do with a bit of a boost,” he says. “By working with the University of Waikato, we’re taking another small step towards encouraging women to get involved, further their studies and ultimately join a challenging, fast moving and rewarding career path.”
Female students studying in their final year of undergraduate degrees offered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering or the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Waikato are eligible to apply for the scholarship and must be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.
Emily is no stranger to accolades, having recently won a $500 water sciences prize from Waikato Regional Council. The prize was established in 1990 by Sir Ross Jansen and is awarded annually to the top student enrolled in water science papers.