Alice Getmanchuk, 19 – FUNDED

Alice Getmanchuk has big dreams to be the CTO of a major tech company in the future. In the meantime, she is in her second year at the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, where she’s studying computer engineering with a minor in business. “This win has definitely reinforced my desire to pursue a degree in engineering and will allow me to focus on my studies more rather than constantly worrying about how I will afford college,” says the New Face of Tech winner.

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

It means inspiring other girls to pursue technology-related careers because I know it’s easy to be intimidated in the beginning. Knowing my story is out there — and that it could possibly help even one girl who might be confused about her future make the decision to go into technology — makes me very happy.

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

I think we can change this by providing more opportunities for younger girls — before college — so that they are exposed to STEAM and are confident that they can succeed in their area of interest. Starting at the root of the problem and changing gender stereotypes in STEAM classes is also essential to creating a more equal environment.

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

Since I am a first-generation student, navigating academics all my life has been difficult — especially in college. Having to seek out information regarding programs and scholarships takes up a lot of my time and, in high school, it definitely added a lot of stress on top of my academics. Additionally, due to the lack of representation for women in my program (85% male, 15% female), succeeding in my program has been difficult at times to due to gender stereotypes imposed by some of my male peers. It has been discouraging at times when they tell me I don’t belong here and that I will never succeed.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

To stay motivated, I like to use sticky notes to remind myself of short-term and long-term goals  — such as finishing a project or becoming CTO of a company, respectively. When I have imposter syndrome or don’t feel like I belong in the places that I am at, I remind myself of my accomplishments and goals and that, without all the work I have done in the past, I never would have gotten to where I am today. While having goals is important, I try to set my goals to be attainable so that I can 100% accomplish them. I won’t stop until I get there!

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

It allows me to focus on my goals rather than stressing about how to pay for college. Hearing about the national student loan debt is very stressful, and I want to do everything I can to avoid it. So I have been working very hard during the summers and school year to earn money to pay for college while also seeking out scholarships. Having this funding will allow me to dedicate my time to my coursework and outside projects to develop myself professionally and seek opportunities to help me reach my career goals. Thank you!