Zonta scholarship recipient impresses

The recipient of Zonta's first Jane M. Klausman Scholarship in Southland is SIT Business student Aurora Cai (centre), who is presented her scholarship by Carla Werder (left) and Kathryn Ball, both of the JMK Awards Committee.

SOUTHERN Institute of Technology business student Aurora Cai been named as the first Southland recipient of the Jane M. Klausman (JMK) Scholarship from Zonta.

Miss Cai came to Invercargill from Indonesia in February 2020, to study a leadership and management programme through SIT2LRN.

She is in her second year, having completed Level 5 last year, studying for her New Zealand Diploma in Business, Level 6, this year.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to prove myself and evaluate my competencies so there was no harm in giving it a try,” she said.

Zonta is an international service organisation whose mission is to empower women.

Its club secretary and awards committee chair Carla Werder said although the JMK scholarship had been offered internationally by Zonta since 1998, it was the first time it had been offered in Southland.

The business scholarship programme was to assist women in gaining education in undergraduate and master’s degrees in business management, helping them overcome gender barriers from the classroom to the boardroom, Mrs Werder said.

“Unfortunately, the staistics on New Zealand on gender equality in business are not great.

The organisation’s advocacy includes women being present at the decision-making level and in leadership, on an equal basis with men.

The judging process revealed Miss Cai embodied all the qualities of the scholarship, she said.

“She had outstanding academic results she is an exceptional student, who clearly defined her ambitious commitment to pursuing a career in business and showed initiative in reaching her career goal,

What also stood out was Miss Cai’s ability to lead in the voluntary realm with the Indonesian Students Association, as well as excelling academically, “with no support-  she’s been literally stuck here because of the pandemic”, Mrs Werder said.

The judges said Miss Cai’s leadership in the Indonesian Students Association both locally and at a national level was to be commended while studying full-time.

When Miss Cai found out she had won the scholarship, she “delightfully informed her parents”.

“The win has motivated and pushed me to work even harder to accomplish something bigger in the future, in order to make my parents proud,” she said.