Engineering student gets scholarship boost
Before Alaa Abuellif received a $1000 scholarship, she was travelling three hours on a bus each day.
The second-year Waikato University student was living in Tokoroa and had to rely on public transport to travel to the university grounds in Hamilton.
Since receiving the Dame Jocelyn Fish Award, Abuellif has moved into a hall of residence on campus, a step closer to becoming a software engineer.
The award not only provides Abuellif with a place to stay, but also makes studying a little easier.
‘‘In engineering we have evening classes and classes that start earlier, and the bus only runs from 9am to 5pm, so I was missing many classes.
‘‘I had been doing tests ahead of my class, which meant they [other students] would have a better chance than me.
‘‘They might have an extra five, six or seven hours to study, but I was so limited, and I did the tests within the day when I was just getting out of a lecture. It was so stressful,’’ Abuellif said.
‘‘And for the lectures, I stayed from 9am to 5pm everyday at uni. Add to that, the hour and a half coming and going back home, it is three hours’ bus time.
‘‘And after I went home, I had to watch the lectures I missed. Sometimes I was really tired that I couldn’t even concentrate.’’
The Dame Jocelyn Fish Award is offered to women students in the Waikato/bay of Plenty region who are enrolled full-time in a first degree programme in a non-traditional field for women.
It was granted to Abuellif by the Waikato Graduate Women Educational Trust.
The 21-year-old said software engineering has always been a career pioneered by men. In her class, 80-90 per cent of her fellow students are men, she said.
‘‘I think women are just not encouraged to pursue it, for some reason. It’s advertised as being male-dominated, that’s why some women avoid it.
‘‘It doesn’t seem like a friendly environment for women,’’ Abuellif said.
‘‘Girls do computer science more than software engineering. They think software engineering is too difficult, and it is to a certain degree, but it’s really interesting.
‘‘If you like coding, why would it matter? If you like math and coding, then it’s the best degree.’’