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GCSB names recipients of Women in STEM scholarships

02 Feb 2021

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has named the three recipients of its most recent Women in STEM scholarship grant, designed to support women studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The recipients each receive a $10,000 scholarship grant to support their STEM-related career path with the GCSB in fields such as computer science, engineering, and technical analysis.

The 2020 recipients are:

  • Laura Schnauer – The University of Auckland – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
  • Alex Fawcett – Massey University – Bachelor of Information Sciences
  • Antonia King – Victoria University of Wellington – Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics

Every year one scholarship is dedicated to a Māori/Pasifika student.

“We were again very pleased with the overall standard of all applicants this year and the selection process was no easy task. It was great to be able to give two of the awards to Māori women,” says GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton.

At the GCSB 52.9% of senior managers are women, however, women make up only 35.5% of the total workforce.

“We are looking for women who not only have a strong academic record but also demonstrate a range of relevant skills such as critical thinking, leadership potential and those who reflect the diversity which we are striving for in the GCSB.”

He says that the GCSB helps to not only protect New Zealand’s national security, but also its international relations and its economic wellbeing.  As such, it is vital to have the ‘best and brightest’ as employees, and it is also important to reflect New Zealand’s diverse community.

“Even if some of the scholarship recipients choose a different career path from the GCSB, we still have an important role to play in supporting women who are studying STEM subjects,” said Mr Hampton.

He adds that even if those who receive a scholarship choose a different career path, the GCSB recognises its role in supporting STEM-focused women.

“We are working hard to ensure we achieve a better gender balance across the whole organisation, and change is occurring,” he says.

“For the last three years, an average of 50% of people on our graduate programme are female thanks largely to the women in STEM scholarship.” 

Applications for the next round of scholarships open on 1 June 2021. To be eligible, applicants must be female second-year tertiary students and above (including Honours and Masters students) intending to take a full-time course of study in science, technology, computer engineering, mathematics, data science and cybersecurity at any New Zealand tertiary institution.