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GCSB names Women in STEM scholarship winners

27 Nov 18

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has awarded three $10,000 scholarships to women studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The GCSB Women in STEM Scholarship is designed to support its overall mission to raise awareness about STEM-related careers amongst women. This awareness could increase workforce diversity and the gender pay gap, particularly as this year, at least one scholarship was reserved for a Māori or Pasifika student.

Victoria University of Wellington student Olivia Morrison and University of Auckland students Tayla Forward and Gemma Nash are able to use their scholarships to pay for study-related costs.

“I would like to congratulate the three recipients and acknowledge the calibre of the 143 applications we received,” comments GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton. 

“This is only the second year running the GCSB scholarship programme. The initiative came about after I had the agency undertake some intelligence on itself to see if our workforce was sufficiently diverse and inclusive to support our mission.”

Hampton says that while scholarship winners aren’t obliged to work with the GCSB in future, the scholarships do help to raise awareness of career paths women could take in GCSB – for example engineering, computer science, and technical analysis.

“This is reflected in our recent graduate recruitment which attracted just over 300 applications, of which 124 (41%) were women. Of the six graduate placements offered for the Bureau’s technical stream, three (50%) went to women. This is up significantly from 2016 where we attracted just 76 applications, of which only 11 (14%) were women and no placements in the technical stream went to women.”

Hampton adds that the GCSB has also reduced the gender pay gap from 11.68% to 5.86% in less than two years.

“I believe the scholarship programme is having a significant impact on helping us identify previously hidden talent in the STEM.

“We need to be encouraging women at a younger age to be thinking of STEM-related career paths. These are skills which are in high demand, and I believe the demand will only increase in the future.”

The GCSB’s CORTEX initiative for nationally-significant organisations recently won Best Security Project / Initiative at the Information Security (iSANZ) Awards this month.

“I believe this award is particularly significant as it is acknowledgement from our peers in the information security industry and from across the private sector,” Hampton said at the time.

Can you crack the code? You just might have what it takes to work for the GCSB.

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