Do what you're afraid to do, says AUT Edge Award winner

AUT Edge Award overall winner Jackie Chan

Jackie won the YUDU sponsored prize for demonstrating the highest level of achievement in all streams of the award, volunteering, leadership and employability.
YUDU Product Marketing Lead – Digital Ventures Alex Leece, who presented the prize, said YUDU was proud to be part of the celebration of the Edge Award.

“I’m impressed by the extra effort you guys are making. It is an honour to be presenting tYUDU presening prize to AUT Edge Award overall winnerhe overall award tonight because it resonates with all YUDU believes in, of taking the next step, being bold and never settling.”

Jackie says she has learned through the AUT Edge Award the importance of having a ‘lion’s heart’ - gaining self confidence to believe in her own opinions and find the courage and confidence to follow through on them.

She founded her own non-for-profit - BizTech Labs - contacting high schools and spending hours and hours organising weekends and mentoring to encourage students, particularly girls, to pursue STEM subjects and enter the IT space.
She also organised an Auckland wide hackathon for over 160+ Year 7 to 10 students that focused on finding creative software solutions for social issues.

Jackie also won the AUT Scholars Society community award for managing and organising all AUTSS events and activities.
These experiences helped Jackie embrace public speaking and she now revels in talking at events about her experiences of being a female in a male dominated industry.

By the end of her first year at AUT, Jackie had already secured a job on the Digital Innovation Team at the Auckland DHB. More recently she secured an internship with Microsoft – a dream opportunity, she says. Jackie has truly lived and breathed the essence of what the AUT Edge Award can be.

She was one of 50 students to graduate with the AUT Edge Award in Semester 1, taking the total number of graduates to 204. Over 2400 students are enrolled in the Award. So far they delivered 39,000 hours of volunteering and just under 18,000 leadership hours to their communities.

The other prize winners were Priscilla Schwalger for Volunteering, Liubov Sidorova for Social Impact, Hilary Esterhuizen for Leadership and Yves Guo for Personal Growth.

As well as YUDU, four other industryHappy AUT Edge Award winners partners sponsored prizes for the award;   Auckland Council, SEEK Volunteer, Intercontinental Hotel Group and Chartered Accountants Australia & NZ (CAANZ).

Industry sponsorship of prizes demonstrate the significance to employers of the skills fostered by the AUT Edge Award, says AUT Deputy Vice Chancellor Geoff Perry.
“You will have become better employees, family members, friends and better members of society through this award,” says Geoff, listing skills such as thoughtful and critical thinking, cultural intelligence through working with people from different backgrounds and ability to lead.”

The AUT Edge Award delivers graduates with work ready CVs and relevant LinkedIn profiles. They are capable networkers and confident about who they are, says Director of Student Employability, Anna Williams.
“Our employers continue to tell us that they are looking for great communication skills, evidence of volunteering, of leadership….. students who are engaged well outside their classroom learning.  We feel that the AUT Edge AWARD encompasses all of these skills and know that the students here tonight will have that extra edge in their approach to their future careers when they leave here.”

Anna says the Award is proving to be so successful that this semester Employability and Careers has launched a second award – the Beyond AUT Award for postgraduate students.

For more information about the AUT Edge Award or the Beyond AUT Award please contact

Stories on other AUT Edge Award prizewinners for 2019 Semester 1

Priscilla Schwalger - Volunteering

Liubov Sidorova - Social Impact,

Hilary Esterhuizen -  Leadership,

Yves Guo - Personal Growth

PHOTO CAPTION: (L-R)  AUT Edge Award prize winners - Priscilla Schwalger for Volunteering,  Jackie Chan for Overall Achievement, Liubov Sidorova for Social Impact, Hilary Esterhuizen for Leadership and Yves Guo for Personal Growth.