Congratulations – Cikida Gcali: Winner – 2014 Joan Nelson Study Abroad Scholarship Award US$2,500

Personal Statement: Cikida Gcali:


What does winning this award mean to me?

 “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Words cannot even begin to describe how inundated I am with joy and gratitude upon hearing that I am the winner of such a prestigious scholarship! Coming from a modest home in the South of Johannesburg, this award means not only being able to dive into an international network of brilliant minds, but to also share ideas and connect with the future game changers of the most relevant industries in the world. As a Chemical Engineering Honours graduate being awarded this scholarship means I will be able to further my studies and pursue a masters in petroleum engineering at one of the most reputable universities that offer this program in the Unites States. It will also allow me the opportunity of networking with other engineering students from different parts of the world in order to discover their insights on some of the world’s toughest engineering problems concerning energy and fuel. Coming from a hometown where not many people are given the opportunity to travel let alone study overseas, I am certain that this award will inspire those coming behind me to strive towards similar and greater achievements.

During my time on campus, I have also been affiliated with a business society, which was the largest business society at the time of my tenure as Vice-chairperson in 2013. I am also currently a member of Engineers without borders, an engineering society that seeks to use engineering as a means of solving real life problems within disadvantaged communities. I have also been on the Dean’s list, which recognises the achievement of the top 10% of students within each faculty. I have also been a receiver of the University Entrance Scholarship and the University Council Merit Scholarship.

Serving as the Treasurer of the Golden Key Honorary Society, Wits Chapter in 2013 has allowed me to have many incredible experiences with the society; from attending the International Summit in Boston, to organizing my own women’s day event for the society, which was a sterling success. I can definitely say with confidence that being a part of this society has allowed me to grow into a capable and open-minded young woman. I was also given the opportunity to be part of the International Scholar Laureate Program, the Business delegation, which was an amazing experience.  I am hoping that by attending graduate school in the United States I will be able to have an experience that will exceed my greatest expectations!