Young women in STEM get head-start at Waikato

6 April 2020

Edna Waddell scholars
University of Waikato Edna Waddell scholars (pictured) are all studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in various programmes. From left to right – Zoe Chaves, Kate Edwards, Zarah Otto, Professor Janis Swan, Lydia Gilmour and Kaitlin Te Rito.

Two University of Waikato engineering students have been given a head-start to their studies this year, thanks to the Edna Waddell Undergraduate Scholarships for Women in Technology and Engineering.

This scholarship, worth $5000, is given to women across the country entering their first year of full-time study in a four-year professional engineering or food technology degree at a New Zealand university.

Professor Janis Swan from Waikato University’s School of Engineering says, despite heavy competition, Waikato managed to secure two of the four scholarships offered in 2020.

“It’s exciting to have a higher proportion of scholars this year, which will only increase the number of women in STEM subjects at Waikato.”

The two new scholars, Zoe Chaves and Zarah Otto, are now two of five current Edna Waddell scholars at Waikato. The other three are third-year students Kate Edwards and Lydia Gilmour, and fourth-year student Kaitlin Te Rito. All five students are studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in various programmes.

The Edna Waddell Undergraduate Scholarships for Women in Technology and Engineering are open to school leavers, and mature women who have not previously studied technology and engineering at tertiary level.

Waikato engineering graduates, Emily Sopers and Morgan Fahey, were also former recipients of the scholarship and are now working at Beca – one of Asia Pacific’s largest independent advisory, design and engineering consultancies.

Professor Swan says the money for these scholarships comes from funding supplied by Dick and Mary Earle, both retired professors from Massey University’s technology faculty. They also fund the Dick and Mary Technology scholarship for postgraduate study, and the Earle Travel Fellowship in Technology.

“Dick and Mary taught me when I did my first degree, and Dick supervised my masters,” she says.

The Edna Waddell scholarships close on 1 September, and up to five scholarships are awarded annually across New Zealand. Information on all three scholarships is available from the University’s scholarships webpage and the Universities New Zealand website.

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