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Endorsement .. The recipient of this year's North Otago Federated Farmers-ANZ Rural Tertiary Scholarship, Megan McLeod, is flanked by ANZ agri-relationships manager Kirsty Stratton and North Otago Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Greg Ruddenklau. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

A Lincoln University student already showing plenty of initiative has been awarded the 2017 North Otago Federated Farmers-ANZ Rural Tertiary Scholarship.

Megan McLeod (19) was selected from nine applicants after interviews were held at St Kevin’s College on Sunday.

North Otago Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Greg Ruddenklau said the calibre of the applicants was “pretty high” and it was a full-on day to decide who would be given the scholarship.

Miss McLeod is in her second year of a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Lincoln, majoring in accounting and finance. She will remain for an extra semester to add farm management to her qualifications, and also intends to become a chartered accountant.

She has been working at McKenzie and Co Ltd Chartered Accountants in Oamaru since she was a year 13 secondary school pupil in 2015. It was initially a “holiday” job, but when Miss McLeod was told at Lincoln she had to get an internship with an accountancy firm, McKenzie and Co principal Fraser McKenzie created that position for her.

Another of the scholarship applicants is also an intern there.

Miss McLeod said she was “so grateful” to her employer, who makes general accountancy tasks available to her under the supervision of a senior colleague. She said it was “completely different” from what she was doing at university.

“It’s more practical.”

She is also grateful to Federated Farmers and ANZ for the $2000 scholarship, which will help cover her university costs.

“This year I spent almost $1000 on textbooks. The cheapest was $120 and the dearest was $180.”

Miss McLeod, who flats with former scholarship recipient Brittany Caldwell from Glenavy, wants to be a rural accountant in North Otago when she has completed her studies.

“There is no place I’d rather be.”

Although she does not live on a farm, she has always spent time on a family farm where she helped with lambing and in the yards.

ANZ agri-relationships manager Kirsty Stratton said there was an increasing demand in the finance sector for rural specialists, so she envisaged Miss McLeod being highly sought-after.