Faith G., 21 – FUNDED

Faith G. is a senior studying Computer Science and Visual Arts with a certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Duke University. But, the interesting thing about this New Face of Tech’s major is that it is self-designed — unique in its cross-curricular intersection of courses that she selected.

But, all her studies relay one thing: She is driven by good design. “Good design is integrative — it joins many areas of knowledge, perspective, and culture,” she says. “My passion is to create new things using this integrative approach to problems, because complex problems should be met with complex, interdisciplinary solutions.”

Ultimately, her dream is to unite efficient technology and beautiful design in products that bridge the world. She believes modern solutions should be tailored to the needs of its users — and that good design will make those solutions sustainable!

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

This win signifies hope. I have hope that by pursuing what drives me, I am preparing myself for an inspiring career. I have hope that if I remain diligent and adaptable, my gifts and talents will create spaces and opportunities for me.

It is a chance to stand up for someone like me who’s curious, who’s uncertain, or someone who just needs reassurance. I want to inspire other women who feel led to both fields of technology and art. I want them to believe they can do both, even if it means creating a new path.

Even more so, this award is a push to persevere for those who believe in me. Individuals I’ve never met are advocating for me and encouraging me, and I find that significant. When I feel overwhelmed or struggle, this support reminds me I am not alone in my journey.

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

I think the power of seeing someone who looks like you, doing what you dream of doing, is underestimated. Especially as we become adults, we can forget how impactful that representation is as we adjust to the “norms.”

But when you’re a small girl, seeing someone like you in the role of the Boss, or the Engineer, or the Scientist, is not a casual fact. It is daydream fuel. It shapes what you believe is possible, and that belief is the force that makes a new future possible.

Every single minority face that grows up to stand in the gap for STEAM careers isn’t just doing a job, they’re adding color to daydream fuel.

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

One of the most interesting challenges I’ve faced has been navigating an intersection of industries that is still significantly undefined. When I started this journey in high school, I knew I was interested in both technology and art. Initially, I thought of them as separate fields because that’s how they were presented to me in school. You can be an engineer, or you can be an artist.

I felt torn, so I chose one and decided to enter university under an engineering major. I quickly felt the absence of art, and although I was determined to prove I could keep going, I did so in misalignment with myself.

At my wit’s end, I looked for a way to do both, and learned that my university had the option for students to design a major. After I changed majors and created my own course of study, I have never felt more satisfied and interested in school. Today, I think of technology and art as tools for creation, and I’m excited by their challenge.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Inside, I have always had a persisting force. Once I decide on a goal, I am pulled toward it, and if it highly aligns with my values, interests, and beliefs, I cannot be stopped. So, I stay motivated by staying inspired. I take time to dream because this reminds me that even more is possible than my original goal, but that my goal is a good place to start.

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

I am especially grateful for this funding as my undergraduate career comes to a close. I’m in the final stretch where I must now decide on the next step toward my goals. There are many ways to approach it. Graduate school? The workforce? An unorthodox path? However, with this grant, I have just gained greater flexibility to explore a bit further before the time to decide comes.