Anara Myrzabekova, 25 – FUNDED

“As a winner of this challenge, I am even more motivated and mentally supported that I am a rising female leader in STEAM,” says Anara Myrzabekova. “I always tell myself: Be persistent and never give up. Believe in yourself, and remember that dreams always come true.” The New Face of Tech winner is originally from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and she made the brave choice to come to the U.S. at 18 to pursue her dreams; she’s currently studying data science at University of California, Berkeley. She wants to become a data scientist who makes a positive impact on the community around her.

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

For me, it’s more than just an award; it means I’m on the right track to pursue my dream. As a re-entry student who is also a parent, I am honored to be an example and I hope my journey will inspire women that everything is possible if you have a desire and a dream.

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

We can change this by supporting, inspiring, and providing opportunities in STEAM. I think mentors and role models are very important to motivate and guide rising women in tech. There is a gender gap and we are here to fill it and encourage young girls that STEAM is a good fit for them, too.

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

As an aspiring data scientist, I have continuously faced gender disparity in STEM education and the tech industry — especially back in my country, Kyrgyzstan, where women in STEM are not welcome. At 18, I came to a small town in Alabama by myself, without knowing any English. When I arrived in the U.S, I faced the most critical obstacles: finding a place to live, work, and eat. It was a remarkable challenge for me to survive alone in a new place where I did not know anyone and had no home and no money.

From the time I came here, I wanted to study and become an educated woman because neither of my parents had attended college. I decided to move to California to attend City College of San Francisco, and it was the best decision I made because I was able to transfer to one of the best public universities in the world: UC Berkeley.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I stay motivated by remembering my goals and the past challenges I have overcome to get where I am now. I think it is very important to remember your “why” and how it will benefit you and your community. In addition, my little baby motivates me a lot because I want to provide a better future for him.

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

It will provide access to tech conventions and help me succeed academically. Moreover, I am very excited to network and receive opportunities on the data scientist path.