A Glendowie College student's success and passion for journalism has landed her a scholarship to study in America. Emma Colhoun reports.
At 18, Brenna Cukier from St Heliers has an impressive list of achievements. Adding to it is winning a scholarship to study a bachelor's degree, majoring in journalism, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Brenna is one of two New Zealand students granted $100,000 per year to study at either UNC Chapel Hill or Duke University. In mid May, she will leave her family to study for four years.
"The really unique thing about the scholarship is that it provides funding for three summers of travel and research opportunities," she says.
Brenna attended Glendowie College and graduated at the end of last year.
She expressed her passion for journalism in year 11, when she established her school's newspaper and was editor-in-chief of 30 student writers.
, was published four times a year, and is still thriving.
"I was always interested in journalism and my school was really encouraging with the newspaper," she said.
"I have a real passion for writing; it is such a powerful, ever-changing industry."
Brenna was a popular student; she was head girl last year, president of the student council and representative of the board of trustees. She was also the school's representative for the Auckland City Youth Council.
She excelled academically with gaining excellence in levels 1-3 in NCEA, received an outstanding scholarship in English, and an award for "outstanding character and sense of values".
Brenna was born in Arizona and her mother also studied at the University of North Carolina. However, she has an open mind about her career path.
"I am New Zealand citizen and that is really important to me, I think having those experiences in America will be great to bring back here," she said.
"I want to combine my passion for journalism with my leadership skills to make a difference in the media industry."
The Robertson Scholars Program is funded by New York philanthropist, Julian Robertson.
Mr Robertson is active as an investor and developer in New Zealand, where he spends some of his time. His family owns three lodges: Kauri Cliffs Lodge near Kerikeri in Northland; Matakauri Lodge Queenstown; and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, as well as several wineries. Robertson was made an Honorary Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy in 2009.
Matt Huntington, strategic communications manager for Universities New Zealand, says 29 people applied for the Robertson Scholarship.
Up to three scholarships are offered annually in New Zealand, to read more about them, see