Press Release: Women to Watch
You may not know their names now but these three women are on the rise and will no doubt be making their mark as their
The road to success has been varied and challenging for Sally Smith, Rachel Marr and Abi Harper.
From archaeological digs in Greece, to furniture making and structural engineering, Sally, Rachel and Abi are nearing
the end of their academic studies at WelTec and will shortly be moving into new careers in areas significantly
under-represented by women.
Sally is soon to become an engineer, Rachel a Quantity Surveyor and Abi a programmer with a focus on forensic IT.
Each woman is this year’s recipient of a Graduate Women Wellington scholarship which contributes to the cost of their
study and aims to promote non-traditional areas of study to female students.
“From an outstanding field of twenty worthy candidates these women were selected as stand-outs and definitely on the
road to successful careers in the construction, IT and engineering sectors,” says WelTec and Whitireia Director Academic
Dr Ruth Anderson.
“The scholarship panel was impressed with the quality of candidates to select from. It really is incredibly heartening
to see so many women picking up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at a tertiary level and pursuing their
life-time goals. Sally, Rachel and Abi are women to watch,” says Ruth.
Sally Smith is a woman on a mission. After 15 years working in administration for engineering companies overseas and in New Zealand
Sally decided to become an engineer. “I liked what the engineers I was working alongside were doing and wanted to become
Sally finishes the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering in July this year and has her sights firmly set on a career in
civil engineering. “I’m really keen on structural engineering,” says Sally. With two young boys Sally has managed both
study and parenthood and sees this as no obstacle to pursuing her career goal to work as a structural engineer.
Abi Harper started her student life studying Classics, Latin and Ancient Greek. Securing funding for her Honours thesis Abi found
herself on an archaeological site in Greece. That passion for digging things up, discovery and exploring the
surroundings of an ancient civilisation led her to consider a career in ICT particularly in forensic IT. “There are
similarities between archaeology and programming. Both involve a methodical, deliberate approach. Computing boils down
to pure logic and that’s what I love,” says Abi who will shortly complete her Bachelor of Information Technology.
“Look outside the box for a job.” That’s the advice of former hobby furniture-making Rachel Marr. “Be open-minded about what your skills could be and think about what you enjoy most. Just because you don’t like maths
at school for example, doesn’t mean you won’t like working with maths,” says the soon-to-be qualified Quantity Surveyor.
“Plan for a job that is in demand and go for it. That’s what I’m doing and I can’t wait to enter the construction
industry and put my skills into practice.”