Aishwarya R., 19 – FUNDED

Aishwarya R. says that being a New Face of Tech winner will not only help her pursue her professional endeavors, it will help support her community service initiatives and her passion to help others. And, for that, she is very grateful. This sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is studying electrical engineering and computer science. Her ultimate dream is to use tech for good to increase accessibility.

What does being the New Face of Tech mean to you?

It is an honor to be supported and encouraged alongside other young women in STEAM fields. I am thankful to 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN for helping fund my dreams.

Women are underrepresented in STEAM. How can we change this?

I truly believe that society’s slow change of mindset has limited our individual progress made by technology. While I personally have been fortunate to receive mentorship and be a part of many supportive groups of women, this is not the case for many. Through mentorship initiatives and other related programs, we will be able to help as many younger students of underrepresented minorities receive equal opportunities in the STEAM fields.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

I used to struggle with voicing my opinion in group settings, particularly in my engineering classes and activities. I often assumed that I would be judged for my thoughts and so I remained quiet. And, when I would say anything, I would always use a questioning tone and lack confidence. But, looking back, I knew my ideas would have been good contributions. However, as I met more women and supportive allies when I got to college, I realized I needed to speak up and get out of my comfort zone. Now I’m not afraid of what other people will say and am confident in myself.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Surrounding myself with supportive family, friends, and mentors has encouraged me to continue doing what I’m doing! Being a part of several female communities has also been a great experience as I get to meet amazing women who share my same interest in computing and I can lean on them for advice and guidance for achieving my goals.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN help you reach your goals?

Receiving this scholarship will make a great contribution to my undergraduate studies. With a helping hand, I can spend more time mastering school courses to land key internships and jobs for a successful future career. And with HARMAN’s resources and support, I can expand my network and learn from professionals.