Emily Szabo, 23 – FUNDED

“My dream is to become an orthopedic biomechanics researcher who influences a paradigm shift in the way that pediatric bone fractures are assessed in clinical sites,” says Emily Szabo. Her entrepreneurial spirit has driven her desire to use her research to develop a product in the medical device space. The New Face of Tech winner has already completed her B.S. degree in biomedical engineering and her M.S. in mechanical engineering at Case Western Reserve University — and, now, she’s pursuing her doctorate degree in mechanical engineering.

“I am ecstatic to represent this program,” she says. “This grant will allow me to begin conducting my dissertation research. I am passionate about studying traumatic pediatric bone fracture conditions and I am dedicated to advocating for child safety through medical technology.”

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

It is such an honor to represent this program. Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Being the New Face of Tech inspires me to continue devoting my career to science and engineering, to mentor young women to use their voices, and to continue breaking barriers as our female predecessors have done.

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

Share your story! Connect with other women; be a guest speaker; coordinate an activity or training session. When speaking with younger students, I frame my story around the thought, “What would I have wanted to know about STEAM at this age? How did I feel about STEAM?” Offering informational interviews for students and allowing them to ask questions will also raise awareness. Being involved in 1DF is another way! Regardless of the outlet, use your voice to advocate. Lean on the incredible women who have broken barriers in these industries and be willing to continue their legacy!

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

As one of the few women in several engineering courses — and as women are underrepresented in STEAM in general — I have received misogynistic comments in various settings. In addition, my initial collegiate plans were to earn a bachelor’s degree then graduate and begin working. After pursuing research and industry experience simply out of curiosity, my professional goals changed, and I decided that a master’s degree would be beneficial. Then, I decided to pursue a doctorate. The financial burden for college has grown, and, despite applying to hundreds of scholarships, the biggest hurdle for my education is financial. I do not want money to be the only aspect that separates me from bringing my dreams to fruition.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Some days, I still struggle with this! Whenever I tackle any task, I always ask myself, “Why am I doing this? Will it ultimately benefit others?” By reframing the narrative such that my goals are driven by the potential to impact another person’s quality of life, my motivation is renewed. I also have several notes/photos/quotes placed around my workspace, so I can visualize my future and become reinvigorated to pursue my work. Once I understand my “why,” I can pursue the “how.”

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

This funding provides me with the financial means to continue my research in pursuit of my doctorate. The funding will ultimately allow me to present my findings at professional conferences, and I will use my position to mentor other women, and advocate for women in STEAM. Thank you for your support; I could not pursue this dream without your support.