GCSB supporting women in STEM through academic scholarships

The Government Communications Bureau (GSCB) has awarded four $10,000 tertiary scholarships to women studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at New Zealand universities.

Photo of Andrew Hampton, DG GCSB, with four Women in STEM recipients

(Right to left) Andrew Hampton, Director General of GSCB, Jessica Robertson (University of Canterbury), Amber Joseph (Victoria University of Wellington), Kiri Lenagh-Glue (University of Otago) and Georgia Gadsby (University of Auckland).

The scholarships are intended to encourage more women to study STEM subjects and to inspire them to consider a career in cyber security.

Andrew Hampton, Director General of GSCB, said the scholarships are a New Zealand first for the security sector and attracted an exceptionally high level of applications.

“I was extremely impressed with the calibre of applications. It was a difficult process whittling the list down from 80 applications, to a shortlist of 33, and then to four,” Mr Hampton said.

“The recipients are Amber Joseph (Victoria University), Kiri Lenagh Glue (Otago University), Jessica Robertson (Canterbury University) and Georgia Gadsby (Auckland University). Each will receive a scholarship of $10,000 to assist with the costs of studying.

“These four young women have achieved exceptional academic results in their respective studies, which includes degrees in engineering and computer science.

“They have also shown leadership within their communities and a drive to succeed in their own careers.”

Mr Hampton said the GCSB contributes to the protection of New Zealand’s national security, the international relations and the well-being of New Zealand, and our country’s economic well-being.

“One of our roles is to protect nationally significant organisations from cyber threats that are beyond the capability of commercial products. For the GCSB to do this we need a dedicated and diverse team with strong STEM backgrounds,” Mr Hampton said.

“We purposely targeted the scholarship towards women because they are underrepresented in STEM subjects at both at secondary and tertiary level.

“Even within our own organisation, while women are well represented at the senior management level (50 per cent) - only 36 per cent of our workforce are women, and even less work in the STEM fields.

“We are committed to changing this. Having a more diverse work force will improve our performance, provide different ways of thinking and increase our overall capability.

“While recipients are not obliged to work for GCSB in the future, we hope the scholarships help to raise awareness of the STEM-related career paths available to women in GCSB such as engineering, computer science and technical analysis.

“We have an exceptional graduate programme and offer places to around twenty graduates each year. The 2017 scholarship programme has really helped highlight the talent coming through and while we could not give everyone a scholarship we hope we can attract many more students to consider applying for a career with GCSB.”

Media contact: 04 819 7104 / media@nzic.govt.nz