Hee-Rak Lee, a third-year law student in the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law, has been named one of the ten top South African students by GradStar Awards’ top employers in September 2019.
In total, 26 UP students made it onto GradStar’s Top 100 list, with Lee ultimately being included in the top 10. UP and the Faculty of Law extend congratulations to all these students, and students from other universities who this honour has been bestowed upon.
What makes Lee’s award so impressive is that the judging criteria included grit/resilience; self-awareness; curiosity; team work and collaboration; adaptability and change readiness; communication; trust and integrity; emotional intelligence; initiative and problem solving; and time and task management – in fact, all the qualities and skills that are required from successful legal practitioners.
“The GradStar journey has been an interesting and an unexpected journey,” Lee says. “As a student, I often questioned myself, whether I was heading in the right direction. Being chosen as one of the Top 10 GradStars by the top employers was a firm affirmation of this. The recognition was also a reminder to myself and others that, no matter what race or background you come from, it is possible to achieve great things when you put your mind to it.”
Lee’s involvement in the Faculty of Law includes her walking away with the laurels from the First Year League Moot Court Competition in 2017, and serving as a justice of the UP Constitutional Tribunal. She has also participated as a mentor in UP’s Star Mentorship Programme. As a WetNose volunteer, she has a soft spot for animals. She says the GradStar recognition will help in achieving her career goals. “It will also motivate me to continue making the positive change that I can make in South Africa and in the world.”
According to the GradStar programme, now in its fourth year, the top 100 and ultimately top 10 university students were selected “after receiving thousands of entries from across the country and putting the entrants through a rigorous judging process”.
The competition process is designed to emulate the process that top employers use to find their future talent, and uses behavioural testing and personal interviewing among other methods as measurement tools. It allows students to familiarise themselves with the formal graduate programme application process, and enables them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses along the way. This is “a uniquely developed programme which focuses on quality connections and compliments existing employer programmes, providing previously unrecognised students with opportunities for employment and allows them to contribute positively to South Africa’s future growth”, Gradstar says.
All top 100 students were recognised at a gala dinner in Johannesburg.
Professor André Boraine, Dean of UP’s Faculty of Law, congratulated Lee, saying, “UP will proudly follow your future endeavours, in and outside the Faculty.”