May 28th, 2024

Southern Alberta Rhodes scholar credits rural education for success

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 24, 2021.

Submitted photo Kate Pundyk has received the Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a master's degree in London at the Oxford Internet Institute.


A southern Alberta woman has become the recipient of a very prestigious scholarship.
Kate Pundyk, a Crowsnest Pass native has received the Rhodes Scholarship to study in London at the Oxford Internet Institute, where she will pursue a master’s degree regarding how technology and international human rights relate.
But this is just the latest of her big accomplishments in a series of scholarships that have taken her around the globe.
“I won a scholarship from the Alberta government when I was 16, so at the end of grade 11, to go to Hong Kong for the school it’s called United World College,” said Pundyk.
Pundyk described the Li Po Chun United World College like a boarding school that tries to be similar to the United Nations, has representatives from every country, and Pundyk was the Canadian sent in 2014.
She said she came across that first scholarship thanks to her older sister.
“My older sister happened to be graduating from Crowsnest Pass Consolidated High School and was looking for scholarships for university,” said Pundyk.
She explained that her sister was scrolling through possible scholarships and there was one really big scholarship, but it turned out it was a high school scholarship so she sent it to her.
“And it worked out, it’s been a lot of like lucky breaks, putting in long shot applications and they have been working out so I’ve been very lucky,” said Pundyk.
After the Li Po Chun United World College, Pundyk enrolled at the Wellesley College in Massachusetts thanks to another scholarship, where she completed the first two years of an interdisciplinary major in Political Science and Technology.
“And then I ended up leaving college or leaving university, kind of entirely for a bit, and I worked in Rachel Notley’s office,” said Pundyk.
She explained that working for her office was an opportunity to get more familiar with the place that she comes from.
“To help a little bit to do my part to give back, because as you know everything in my story is because of great public schools in rural Crowsnest Pass,” said Pundyk.
She said not all places have great rural schools so it is something that she is really grateful to Alberta for, and she wanted to be a part of ensuring that it continues to be great.
After the NDP government lost in 2019, Pundyk decided to apply to Yale where she continued her Political Science and Technology studies.
Now that she has finished her degree at Yale, she moved to San Francisco to be with her partner and take some time off before heading to London in September.
“This is of course a great recognition for me, but I think more importantly it’s a great recognition of the amazing education that someone can get in the Crowsnest Pass, and so I hope that it is more about being a collective success story rather than an individual one,” said Pundyk.

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