USP student receives scholarship from Graduate Women (Fiji)
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Scholarship recipient Latu Bloomfield (5th from left) with Professor Coll (4th from right), Dr Kedrayate (4th from left) and members and former executives of Graduate Women (Fiji).
Second-year Bachelor of Engineering/Electrical student of The University of the South Pacific (USP), Latu Bloomfield of Tonga was all smiles when she received her scholarship at the Laucala Campus from Graduate Women (Fiji).
Formerly known as the Fiji Association of Women Graduates (FAWG), Graduate Women (Fiji) is a voluntary and non-profit organisation of women graduates working to promote lifelong education, improve the status of women and girls and to enable women to effect positive change for a peaceful world.
In handing over the scholarship, Chief Guest Professor Richard Coll, USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning, Teaching and Student Services) acknowledged the support of organisations like Graduate Women (Fiji) for giving such opportunities to students who would not have otherwise been able to complete their studies.
“It is no secret that women in the Pacific struggle to achieve what they want particularly in areas where women are under-represented. I appreciate the work of Graduate Women (Fiji) in this regard,” he noted.
“This sort of initiative is just fantastic,” Professor Coll added, relating to a personal experience of a close family member who was denied such an opportunity but later managed to acquire higher education and fulfil her dreams.
Former President of Graduate Women (Fiji) and Dean FALE, Dr. Akanisi Kedrayate, thanked Professor Coll for his continuous support for the organisation and making time to present the scholarship to Latu Bloomfield who is the first recipient of a scholarship from Graduate Women (Fiji).
“I am pleased to note that today’s occasion is the result of the hard work of our members as we have been working very hard on fundraising and as part of our objective we want to provide that opportunity to some of the young women who may not have the opportunity to come to University because of finance,” she said.
“We are targeting in particular the Electrical and Mechanical programme because we want to see more women excelling in this area,” she noted.
Dr Mansour Assaf, Associate Professor at the School of Engineering and Physics said that one of their main goals is to increase the number of female students studying engineering.
“We are very grateful to the scholarship body, Graduate Women (Fiji), for all the help given to young women,” he noted.
“The selection process based on an applicant's grades (GPA) and their parent’s financial situation is a sound and fair process as it provides an opportunity to select needy students to pursue their tertiary education in engineering,” he noted.
An excited Ms Bloomfield said she applied but did not expect to get anything out of it.
“When I was notified on email, I thought it was all a joke. But when I initially applied, I felt empowered to do so because I wanted to become a successful woman engineer.
“As you know the stereotype is that this field is only for men, so I want to go against the status quo and I want to change that and show the world that women too can excel in engineering,” said Bloomfield, whose father is an engineer by profession.
Founded in 1983, Graduate Women (Fiji) encourages and supports members to undertake higher education or further studies, among others.
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