Scholarship inspires change

21 Jun, 2019
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Ten years ago,Maran Greenwood featured in a Stuff article about the shortage of midwives in the Northland area. At the time Maran had just given birth to her son (now aged 10) and the pair were photographed from their hospital bed.

Fast forward a decade later and Maran is not only a busy mum of three (soon to be four). She has just completed her final midwifery exam at AUT and will graduate later this year in July.

Retraining to be a midwife was a natural step for Maran, who was previously a secondary school teacher in the performing arts and health. One thing that made retraining for Maran more of a possibility was receiving The Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust (KEECT) Tressa Thomas Retraining Award, which assists women aged 25 and above, to undertake study in order to return to a profession or to take up work (paid or unpaid) in the community.

The main purpose of the Tressa Thomas Retraining Award is to help women achieve their educational goals, through the provision of scholarships, financial and other assistance. It is now open for applications, closing on 22 July.

The award enabled Maran to pursue her long-term ambition to become a midwife and help support women and their families at such a crucial time in their lives.

"I always wanted to be a midwife ever since I saw my brother being born. Growing up in Alaska I was surrounded by strong women, who supported and inspired me. But I was way too immature to go into midwifery in my 20's, I just didn't have that kind of head on my shoulders.

When I had my second son (now aged 4), I was so in love with my midwife, I realised that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to know more women like her, and work with women like her," Maran says.

Maran found out about the award through a friend who encouraged her to take advantage of any available grants.

"Applying for any available grants or awards is so worth it and if someone's going to get it, why not you? I think this is an especially important message for women who tend to think 'oh, not me'.  But I found reaching out and grabbing it was so empowering. I realised I didn't want to get to 65 and look back with regret, so I'm so glad I jumped and took a risk. My morale was boosted enormously when I found out I had won the award and I was so proud to tell my husband."

With her studies completed Maran will fulfil her dream by working as a Lead Maternity Carer in her Northland community. With her fourth child due this month, Maran may not start work straight away, but she is confident she will be able to support women whilst wearing a front pack with her baby.

About the Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust (KEECT)

Named after the first woman in New Zealand to gain a university degree in 1877, Kate Milligan Edger was a trailblazer for women's education. She believed that the highest aim of education should be to develop the character of each individual ''as perfectly as possible so that she may be ready to live her own life as fully as possible and contribute to the community as much as it is possible for her to contribute."

The KEECT grew out of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women, who started assisting with the regalia for graduation to help the University of Auckland over 40 years ago. The KEECT's funding come from direct donors, bequests and also from Academic Dress Hire, which hires and sells regalia to graduands, schools and law firms throughout New Zealand. The KEECT encourages, promotes and advances education, which includes awards for women who are studying at tertiary institutes in the Auckland and Northland regions.

The Trust currently gives away over 100 awards for tertiary study each year. These awards vary from $500 to assist with Materials and Course Expenses and Hardship Grants; $2000 grants which assist awardees to retrain; $6,000 summer studentships; $16,000 doctoral and postdoctoral research awards. Without the assistance from the KEECT many of these awardees would not be able to access further education and realise their academic potential.

The Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust (KEECT) Tressa Thomas Retraining Award

For more information and to apply visit the AUT scholarships page.

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