Receiving the prestigious ACG Founders' Scholarship is a life-changing event for any student, and for recent ACG Parnell College graduate Jenna Parkin, it was the perfect culmination of her time at the school.
With a clear vision for her future, Jenna has always planned to study at a world-leading overseas university. Thanks in part to the opportunities the $75,000 scholarship will provide, these long-held goals may soon become a reality.
"The ACG Founders' Scholarship will be incredibly valuable as I am keen to attend an international university that has a world-class level of education, wide expertise, and field-leading ideas," says Jenna. "After researching the options, I have applied to two of the world's top universities for computer science, the University of Cambridge and the University of Melbourne."
"These universities not only have leading educators but a high proportion of international students, providing a global perspective when working on group projects and participating in discussions."
Recognising the quality of teaching at ACG, the 2021 Head Girl is confident that ACG Parnell College has prepared her well for the rigours of her upcoming undergrad courses. Additionally, Jenna is "enormously thankful" for the guidance and support she has enjoyed from her teachers, who have helped her develop life-long study techniques, a love of learning, and a strong academic foundation.
While the highly-accomplished teen will take away a wide range of fond memories and transformative experiences from her years at ACG Parnell College, she counts the "immense gratitude and honour of receiving the ACG Founders' Scholarship" among her personal highlights, along with her success in achieving the Cambridge Top in the World Award for AS-Level Computer Science earlier in 2021.
"I have also loved being involved with many different clubs, groups and events while at ACG. And I wish to continue most of these extracurriculars while at university. For example, I would love to participate in orchestras, productions, and leadership roles in student councils. Being a part of volunteer and community organisations while studying at ACG has been a very valuable experience too, and I hope to continue as a tutor, a Girl Guide leader and join a local youth council in Australia or the UK."
Jenna found the application process for the ACG Founders' Scholarship to be an enjoyable and thought-provoking occasion that helped her to clarify her future plans and intentions. However, the selection panel faced an extremely challenging job, with the record number of exceptional applicants in 2021 making even the task of short-listing a difficult one.
Yet, after careful consideration was given to a range of attributes and qualities, including scholastic performance, integrity, leadership, boldness of vision and work ethic, one applicant began to edge ahead of the others.
"Jenna stood out as a young woman with a very clear understanding of where she wants to go," confirms Ms Dawn Jones CNZM OBE, one of the founders of ACG Schools and a member of the selection panel.
"She impressed with her plans for both her immediate and her long-term future and is committed to studying computer science at a tertiary level. As well as gaining a first-class education, Jenna is keen to gain a global perspective and explore worldwide opportunities. She showed clearness of purpose when explaining what she wants to achieve and how she can do this, as well as displaying the personal abilities and qualities necessary to achieve success."
Looking to accumulate broader knowledge, leading expertise and diverse ideas from her university studies, Jenna plans to return to New Zealand and become a leader in the cyber security field, protecting the country from cybercrime.
"In today's society, the impact of cybercrime events, and just how regularly they occur, reflect that cyber security is vital. Agencies worldwide require expertise and new ideas on protecting and defending information systems, analysing security breaches, restoring and improving systems, catching perpetrators, and ethically hacking systems to identify weaknesses. With the knowledge gained in higher education, I believe I could be an asset in this field."
And with the wisdom provided by experience, she has this advice for young ACG students looking to follow in her footsteps.
"The best suggestion I could give would be to make the most of every chance available to you. Join a variety of clubs, attend every academic event that interests you, have pride in everything you do, and believe in your bold visions or future plans. Hard work and determination will maximise your success."
The ACG Founders' Scholarship is open to any domestic ACG College student in New Zealand who plans to commence a course of university study the following year.