As a recent engineering graduate, Kaitlin Te Rito says the scholarship support she received during her studies at the University of Waikato propelled her to a role where she’s putting her problem-solving skills to good use in the dairy industry.
Kaitlin is currently working at Hamilton-based engineering firm, PDV Consultants, a job she secured while completing a student placement there during her final year and where she’s now working on various projects within the dairy industry.
While Kaitlin had a helping hand through scholarship support, the head start into her career is also a credit to her hard work. At Waikato she immersed herself in her studies and achieved exceptionally high grades, which were further rewarded with a variety of scholarships.
“Scholarships relieved a lot of stress and I wasn’t having to worry about money or my student loan - I could focus completely on my studies. I still managed part-time work during the university year, but scholarships gave me enough financial support to allow me to find summer placements that would further my learning, and ultimately lead me to where I am now,” she says.
With financial pressure lifted, Kaitlin also became an active member in her community. She stepped into roles as class representative and student representative for the Young Engineers Society. She was a member of Young Farmers and volunteered her time at agricultural events as well as encouraging high school students to pursue a career in agriculture.
When deciding where to study, scholarships were a big draw card for Kaitlin. “Waikato rewards students for their hard work and recognises the barriers women can face entering STEM subjects,” she says.
In 2020, Kaitlin made headlines as the winner of the Kordia Women in Technology Scholarship, worth $5000. The scholarship was established to acknowledge and support up-and-coming female talent and future technology leaders.
Kaitlin was a stand out recipient. Not only did she have consistently excellent academic results but she has a passion and clear vision for what she wants to achieve, and she continues to champion increasing diversity and women in STEM.
“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 STEM subjects can offer.”
Kaitlin is confident that more support for women in STEM will help to bridge the gap between men and women in theqw industry.
“Scholarships are a great way to inspire women into studying STEM. With more diversity, we will see a wider range of creative and inquisitive minds working together to create a better New Zealand.”
Donors encourage further support for scholarships
Anna Ferguson, Executive General Manager of People and Culture at New Zealand-owned business critical technology solutions provider Kordia, which funds the Kordia Women in Technology Scholarship at the University, says the organisation is proud to support up and coming talent in the STEM space, particularly women.
“Supporting scholarships such as this play an important role in promoting IT and technical subjects to women considering study. By supporting a scholarship at the University of Waikato, we’re working towards encouraging more women to get involved, further their studies and ultimately join a challenging, yet rewarding, industry.
“Please join us in supporting scholarships at the University of Waikato so we can help more students like Kaitlin deliver innovative solutions for the benefit of New Zealand, and the world.”
For more information and to make a donation, click here.